Fort McCoy News September 12, 2014

Minnesota Soldiers train in Modern Army Combatives

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC), 372nd Engineer Brigade (EB) of Fort Snelling, Minn., used Fort McCoy's Combatives Training Facility — building 643 — to refresh their self-defense skills during annual training in August at the installation.

Photo for combatives article
Fort McCoy's Combatives Training Facility, located in building 643, offers dedicated space for units to train on self-defense skills.

"We taught a basic refresher introduction to the Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP)," said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Matkin, combatives instructor for the 372nd EB. "This is part of our mandatory annual training for the Army Reserve."

All Soldiers initially are trained in the U.S. Army's Level One Basic Combatives Course when they go through basic training.

The course trains Soldiers in the basics of hand-to-hand combat over a period of five days with between 40- to 60-hours of instruction. Established in 1995, level one of MACP is the first stage of having Soldiers meet warrior tasks. Close combat, according to the Army, is now one of the 40 Warrior Core Tasks in the Warrior Ethos that underpins Army values.

"For our course, we teach basic fundamentals to include technique, control and self defense," said 1st Lt. Paul Lande, the 372nd EB lead combatives instructor.

"Refresher training in these combatives is really important because it's a perishable skill for Soldiers," Lande said.

According to the U.S. Army Combatives School at Fort Benning, Ga., the three phases in basic fight strategy for the MACP includes closing the distance, gaining the dominant position and finishing the fight.

For the 372nd Soldiers, Matkin said they emphasized those strategy points and worked on four dominant position types — rear mount, mount, side control and guard.

Photo for combatives article
A combatives instructor from the 372nd Engineer Brigade provides direction to students in U.S. Army Basic Combatives Course refresher training in building 643.

"We also covered different types of techniques that could help a Soldier gain the dominant position in a situation that calls for it," Matkin said.

Matkin said throughout the training, students learn more than just self-defense techniques. "Students learn conditioning, discipline and how to trust themselves as far as being in shape," Matkin said. "They also learn how to trust each other."

Lande agreed. "Not only is it a good workout, but it's also fun and builds camaraderie, teamwork and sportsmanship," he said.

Spc. Andrew Folz, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 372nd and a student in the course, said he enjoyed the training.

"It's phenomenal," he said. "As an HHC element, we don't always get to go out and do anything like this to test our skills, so it's refreshing and good training."

Building 643 opened as the combatives facility in 2013. It provides an area dedicated for Soldiers to train in self-defense.