Soldiers are taught to fight the enemy –– that’s what soldiers do. Combatives is a fighting style taught to soldiers so they can close with and defeat an enemy in hand-to-hand combat. It combines grappling and wrestling techniques with punches and jabs. The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division conducted a level 1 basic combatives course May 6-10 at Cantrell Gym.

Soldiers are taught to fight the enemy –– that’s what soldiers do. Combatives is a fighting style taught to soldiers so they can close with and defeat an enemy in hand-to-hand combat. It combines grappling and wrestling techniques with punches and jabs. The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division conducted a level 1 basic combatives course May 6-10 at Cantrell Gym.
The 40-hour course provided a basic framework for soldiers to build their combatives skills.
“Combatives level 1 is a foundation for the average person that has no fighting or martial arts training," said Staff Sgt. Jesse Jarnagin, level 4 combatives instructor, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div. "The course takes the soldier that has never been in a fight, that is starting from square one, and gives them a foundation to work from.
"Soldiers that take the course are taught how to create space so they can deploy their primary weapon," he said. "They also learn how to maintain space so that they can deploy their secondary weapon, and the final (technique) they learn is to clinch or take the fight to the ground.”
A soldier that takes the combatives course needs to be physically fit and mentally tough.
“Basic combatives training helps soldiers obtain a level of fitness that you can’t get from other Army training such as running or doing push-ups," said 1st Lt. Russell Cottel, level 1 combatives instructor, 705th Explosive Ordnance Company. "Combatives is more of a total body workout that helps soldiers with motor skills such as balance and body-part awareness.
 “Soldiers are taken out of their comfort zone and learn new skills that will test their strengths and weaknesses and show them what they need to improve on,” he said.
Soldiers need to be prepared to take their bumps and bruises but they leave the class more confident in their hand-to-hand abilities.
“The combatives course is as realistic as possible," said Spc. Dennis Morris, level 1 combatives instructor, HHC, 4th BSTB. "The striking is pretty much no holding back. When a soldier is down range and they have to take an enemy down, that enemy is not going to love tap them so we don’t love tap them in the class. It’s part of making this course relevant to the real world. Once soldiers go through the clinch drills, fight house and all the rolling around on the mats with soldiers of different sizes and weights, they understand their abilities when it comes to the physical aspect of hand-to-hand combat. We can see their confidence growing as the class progresses.”
Soldiers that take the combatives course should only use the skills that they learned when they have to protect themselves or others. Combatives is not a game, and if used improperly you could hurt someone or yourself.
“This class is not designed to breed the next ‘ultimate fighter’ that is going to win a mixed martial arts fight,” Jarnagin said. “This class is designed to help soldiers defeat an enemy in hand-to-hand combat and nothing more.”