95th MP Bn. builds resiliency with combatives tournament

Story and photo by Sgt. Jere R. Cerdenio
18th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 21st Theater Sustainment Command
Pfc. Yismel Peguero (left) attempts to subdue his opponent during the Cruiserweight finals match.  Pfc. Cliford Hyppolite (right) eventually won the match to become the Cruiserweight  winner.
Pfc. Yismel Peguero (left) attempts to subdue his opponent during the Cruiserweight finals match. Pfc. Cliford Hyppolite (right) eventually won the match to become the Cruiserweight winner.

The 95th Military Police Battalion hosted its final combatives tournament March 29 at the Sembach Fitness Center.

“The main emphasis of the event was enhancing Soldier resiliency. With the many stressors affecting all service members and their families today, being resilient is more important than ever, and the Modern Army Combatives Program is a key component of building resiliency and fitness,” said Lt. Col. James H. Walker II, 95th MP Bn. battalion commander. “This event gave Soldiers the opportunity to compete as well as provided a venue to showcase the numerous services offered by the Army to improve and maintain resiliency.”

The combatives tournament consisted of 54 Soldiers, several NCOs and officers, plus three Airmen, representing 11 different units within the community. Soldiers were grouped into one of seven different weight classes ranging from flyweight to heavyweight. The tournament was double elimination and tested each service member’s physical and mental resiliency while providing some friendly unit competition.

“I joined because I personally like combatives. I think it’s something everybody should do and learn. I think it’s really good training; it’s good for everybody to always be ready, to always be on your feet,” said Pfc. Angel Lobbestael, military policeman assigned to the 92nd Military Police Company.

The Resiliency Day/Combatives Tournament was the last major event before the 95th MP Battalion’s inactivation, scheduled for June 10. The day prior to the event, battalion Soldiers participated in other resiliency-based training, including the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Character Strengths module, the Center for the Army Profession and Ethics module on Honorable Service and Stewardship, suicide prevention training, and concluded with battalion commander- and command sergeant major-led professional development.

“One of the chief of staff of the Army’s strategic priorities is to develop adaptive Army leaders for a complex world. I see the Modern Army Combatives Program as an integral component of achieving the chief’s directive to ‘continue to foster the individual toughness, battlefield skill and fighting spirit that have always typified the American Soldier.’ But it’s not all about building just the physical, but also the mental, spiritual and emotional well-being of our Soldiers,” Walker said. “This is the reason for the additional resiliency training the day before. Also, ensuring our family members are also resilient is vitally important. No matter how hard we try, we cannot leave our family stessors at home; they affect how we work. If we can assist families to solve or better cope with stress, then our Soldiers become more productive at work, which translates into units that are more ready.”

Staff Sgt. Colton Smith, special guest of the tournament, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter and senior instructor at III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas, was invited to come to Germany by Walker to talk to Soldiers about resiliency and how combatives can build resilient Soldiers.

“I care as a noncommissioned officer as well as a UFC fighter about them being resilient, especially nowadays in the Army,” Smith said. “Resiliency is definitely something the Army is pushing right now. The Army is finally realizing how to make more resilient Soldiers through combatives.”