JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Service members battled through sweat, blood and pain during the 3rd annual Joint Base Lewis-McChord combatives tournament.
The audience waited in anticipation as fighters walked out to loud music with confidence and pride.
“There were 173 competitors representing 19 teams, which were divided into eight weight classes, leaving only 16 fighters making it to the finals,” said Warrior Training Academy Commandant, U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Bart T. Larango of Missoula, Mont.
The tournament took place in three progressively difficult combative levels.
“It was designed this way so that anyone could compete. Soldiers did not have to be combatives qualified,” said Sgt. Derrick T. Boddy, a combatives instructor with 2-23rd Infantry Battalion.
Competitors included both seasoned veterans and relative newcomers to the “sport.”
“I trained for about a month for the combatives tournament. This tournament lets me put the training to use,” said Sgt. Desiree M. Taylor, 1st Special Forces Group, of Perryville, Md.
The first day of the three day tournament involved elimination bouts utilizing basic combatives techniques. Winners from day one competed in the intermediate phase of the tournament where more advanced techniques were allowed. Finally, day two winners went on to compete in the final rounds where they were allowed to utilize advanced techniques such as punches and kicks to the face and body.
“The tournament was double elimination, so every fighter was guaranteed at least two fights, said Boddy. Once a fighter lost their first fight, they would have to work that much harder to prove themselves and stay in the tournament.”
Thirty-two fighters made it to the final competition. The bout took place inside an octagon shaped cage familiar to fans of mixed martial arts. The winners pushed themselves both physically and mentally in order to receive the championship belt and the pride that came with it.
“I never thought after only a month of training that I would be able to win, said Pfc. Corey Sigmund, 593rd Special Troops Battalion, of San Diego, Calif. I have never fought before; I’m so excited that I won.”
In addition to individual winners for each weight class, the Sgt. Dale Griffin Team Cup was presented to the 42nd MP Brigade Combatives Team, “The Protectors” for earning the most team points.
The individual winners are as follows:
Bantamweight, Pfc. Corey Sigmund, 593rd Special Troops Battalion
Flyweight, Spc. Cameron Martinez, 23rd CBRN
Lightweight, 1st Lt. Benjamin Townsend, 42nd Military Police Brigade
Welterweight, Sgt. 1st Class Paris Childress, Non-commissioned Officer Academy
Middleweight, Staff Sgt. Luis Feliciano, 1st Special Forces Group
Cruiserweight, Spc. Terry Smith, 2-3rd Infantry Battalion
Light Heavyweight, Spc. Joseph Forster, Bravo Company, Madigan Army Medical Center
Heavyweight, Sgt. Mike Rowland, Bravo Company, 4-9th Infantry Regiment