Military News

Thursday, June 04, 2015

First to fight

by Airman Christopher R. Morales
JBER Public Affairs

6/4/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The U.S. Army Alaska Combatives Tournament, sponsored by the Arctic Warrior Combatives Academy, finals are scheduled June 5 at the Buckner Physical Fitness Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The tournament, during Military Appreciation Week, is a chance to demonstrate the warrior ethos and show camaraderie between military members.

"The purpose for the USARAK tournament as a whole is to take the Soldiers who wanted to come out here and put them in a stressful situation putting their training to the test," said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Veagley,  AWCA noncommissioned officer in charge. "We have teams from most of the Fort Richardson battalions, and Fort Wainwright came prepared too. It's going to be a good competition overall."

Battalions and independent groups were allowed to submit a team of up to two fighters in each weight class. More than 100 fighters will participate.

The bouts are scheduled in brackets of one-on-one fights, and began with a standard rule set progressing into intermediate, and the advanced rule set is saved for the finals.

"The tournament is running real smooth; we haven't had any hiccups so far," Veagley said. "The event is going great, we have a real turn-out and a lot of participation."

Individual fighters compete for medals in each weight class; teams compete for a traveling trophy as incentive for more teams next year.

"We try to push Soldiers not to hesitate and see their own potential in the future. We tell Soldiers at classes 'if you're not moving forward, you're dying.' said Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Jones, AWCA senior instructor and combatives tournament director. "All those other nice little quotes, we mean it here."

"It's interesting to see Soldiers come into the academy so hesitant and by the end of the class we have Soldiers with a completely different mindset, one that pushes fear out of their mind rather than letting fear limit them." Jones said. "Minus the pain, there is a light at the end of the tunnel."

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