230th MP Co. finds best fighter at combatives tournament

Story and photo by Spc. Alan Graziano
95th Military Police Battalion

The 230th Military Police Company “Warmasters” held a combatives tournament Oct. 25 on Sembach Kaserne to find the best hand-to-hand fighter in the company.

The tournament had 12 competitors and two weight classes — lightweight and middleweight — and followed single-loss elimination rules. After a champion was found in each weight class, the two champions had to fight each other in order to earn the title of Warmaster Champion.

The middleweight belt was awarded to Spc. Robert Miner, and the lightweight and the Warmaster Championship Belt were both awarded to Sgt. Samuel Da Giau, the 18th Military Police Brigade’s non-commissioned officer of the year.

Sergeant Da Giau has done combatives training off and on for about six years, he said, and was level-one certified by the 230th MP Co.

Sergeant Da Giau had been asked only one week prior to the tournament whether he wanted to compete or not, but he said that did not hinder his performance at all. Sergeant Da Giau had done combatives training for the NCO of the Year and the Warfighter Competition, along with some training from his unit.

“I think I did pretty well, (but) they had some tough competitors, a lot of strong folks out there,” Sergeant Da Giau said.

Sgt. Robert West, the level-three certified combatives instructor for the 230th MP Co., said he was very impressed with the tournament.

“I would say this, by far, is the best tournament we’ve had, as far as how the matches went. There were some very exciting fights. I’m very proud of these guys,” he said.

The skills displayed in the event can be attributed to additional combatives training the Soldiers participate in outside of the regular combatives PT sessions the unit holds every Thursday.

“A lot of the guys do this in their off time,” Sergeant West said. “There’s a garrison tournament for Kaiserslautern in November. Several of the guys who fought today are going to fight in that tournament, so they have been training extra hard for that one. They were training for two tournaments, basically.”

The 230th MP Co. does not take combatives lightly. This was the third
combatives tournament held by the Warmasters since Sergeant West became the instructor in February.

Although combatives is one of the most enjoyable forms of training for many Soldiers, it is also a skill that can come in handy in real-world situations.

“I think combatives is very important. It can come down to life or death on the battlefield. When your weapons go down you’ve got to have another way to defend yourself, and that’s where combatives comes in,” Sergeant West said.

In combatives classes, the Army does not just simply teach Soldiers how to have one-on-one fights.

“They’ve completely revamped the combatives program to add more  scenario-based training in there because if you look up the stories online — if you go to the combatives Web page and you read the testimonials — you see first-hand how much the combatives program itself can help you downrange,” Sergeant West said.

Combatives is not only important for deployment-based scenarios, it is an extremely important form of training for military police Soldiers who conduct law enforcement duties.

One of the No. 1 rules for MPs is to use the minimum amount of force necessary at all times. If verbal persuasion does not stop an offender, unarmed self defense is the next level of force they must use out of the seven possible levels.

“A lot of this especially is good for MPs because we have to deal with some of this stuff when we’re doing law enforcement duties,” Sergeant West said.