Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Today we had three classes. The first was hand grenades. For that class, I was the left-handed demonstrator. The third was claymore mines. For that I was the instructor. The second, in the middle of the day was Army Combatives. In that course I was just another soldier in a choke hold in the mud. It was great.
The 2.5-hour course was instruction in six choke holds and several methods of breaking free or flipping your opponent while fighting hand to hand on the ground. We practiced the drills in pairs. We really flipped each other over and pushed the choke holds till the soldier in the choke hold tapped to say "That's enough." Once I waited to long and saw stars. After two hours of practicing on damp ground we were forty muddy soldiers. The instructors lined us up in a long row and paired us up for one-minute fights, four fights at a time, each with one of the class instructors keeping time and making sure no one got seriously hurt. We were not allowed to kick or punch, but the point of the drill is to get the other soldier into a choke hold or one of the arm, breaking holds we learned.
We started on the ground. I got paired up with a 21-year-old soldier who a little taller than I am. If we were scored on points he won, but I managed to break the choke holds before he could actually get me in one of the holds. At the end I had a cut lip and was really jazzed.
The fights I watched were fast and fierce. This was just phase one. Later this year or next year we will be doing more. I ran three miles slow after the final formation of today. I am expecting to be very sore tomorrow.

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