Birds of Prey tear up competition in combatives tournament
By By Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 15, 2015
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Members of the U.S. Army 743rd Military Intelligence Battalion, along with one U.S. Air Force Airman, competed against each other in a combatives tournament held at the Buckley Fitness Center Jan. 14.
The tournament, held once a year, gives soldiers a chance to practice hand-to-hand combat techniques, as well as engage in some friendly competition.
"Every year we have a combatives competition to see who the best in the unit is," said Cpl. William Kuhnmuench, U.S. Army 743rd MI BN Bravo Company signals analyst. "A Co, B Co and (Headquarters Operation Company) all compete against each other for commander's cup points."
The tournament was comprised of double-elimination brackets in lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight categories, with the two winners from each category competing against each other for the weight-category title.
Airman 1st Class Cristian De Leon, 2nd Space Warning Squadron satellite systems operator, competed in the middleweight category, eventually taking the title.
"(Winning) took hard work and dedication," De Leon said. "It was a good competition. I really enjoyed it would like to compete more."
Aside from bragging rights, the competition hones combat skills each competitor has learned. Soldiers are taught quick, effective and simple techniques for fighting empty-handed or with hand-held weapons. The training allows Soldiers to rely on muscle memory if a hostile situation arises while in a deployed location.
"In level-1 school, the first thing they taught us is the first one with the gun wins," Kuhnmuench said. "It's important for us to know what to do in those situations."
Other members of the 743rd watched the competition to cheer on their company and learn from their mistakes.
"It's really interesting to see what tactics they use to get out of certain positions," said Capt. Sandra LLaury, 743rd MI BN Battalion S1 adjutant.
The competition served as a safe way to train Soldiers on using their own two hands for self-defense.
"The competition is good for gaining experience for combat situations," Kuhnmuench said. "We have to be ready for anything."