In Service: 2005 North Rowan grad teaches combat fighting
FORT HOOD, Texas - Two soldiers are locked, nose to nose, in a fight to gain the upper hand. Each move and counter is calculated on the fly, much like a physical chess match, with the goal of gaining an advantage. In an instant, the advantage is won, and one soldier is slammed to the mat.
For a 2005 graduate of North Rowan High School who recently engaged in this type of battle, it is as much about strategy and instinct as it is about training and strength during the 2012 U.S. Army Combatives Championship held here July 26-28.
Army Spec. Larry A. Jackson, a combatives instructor for 502nd Human Resources Company, Fort Hood, Texas, was representing the Fort Hood team during the tournament. More than 300 soldiers from 28 Army posts competed for the chance to be called the champion.
"It feels great, but it is a shame that I'm leaving them as soon as this tournament is over," said Jackson.
The Modern Army Combatives Program, or MACP, was developed in the late 1990s by Army Rangers to train soldiers in "close quarters, hand-to-hand combat." The MACP is constantly evolving to meet combat standards in not only hand to hand, but tactical submission techniques as well. This tournament is a testament to the skills developed in the program.
Every soldier is required to be trained in MACP level one. Some, like Jackson, are more motivated to advance in training.
"I love sports that you really have to work hard for, and this is one so I jumped right into it," he said. "I've liked it ever since."
The annual tournament is broken down by weight class, and each day the soldiers advance, the skills required to demonstrate are increased. Day one was about demonstrating the basic ground grappling skills. Day two added basic strikes, and day three, the championship rounds, were full contact.
This format is used to determine the best in the Army who can demonstrate the skills required at all levels of the program.
The tournament also serves as a motivational tool to encourage more soldiers to advance in their combatives training. For some soldiers, the benefits outweigh the pain.
"Training has helped me a lot because I'm a wrestler and in this tournament you have to know jiu-jitsu, so I focus on that and my coach led me through," said Jackson.
Jackson competed in the bantamweight division and although he lost to the eventual champion in the semi-finals, he beat his opponent by decision in the consolation match to take third place.
The Fort Hood team finished first overall, and Jackson was a major factor in helping them overcome the other teams during the last day of competition.