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Minnesota National Guard
Combatives tournament hits Bucca

CAMP BUCCA, Iraq " Combatives-trained teams converged here, Dec 19, for the All Iraq Combatives Tournament, including the 34th Inf Div's team, "Absolute Red Bull", and members of the 204th Area Support Medical Company

The tournament saw service members, and even one civilian, from all over Multi-National Division South compete in a double-elimination grappling tournament

The team from "A" Co, 1st Bn, 866th Inf Regt, also known as "Atilla 1", took the top spot, finishing with a team score of 100 points

"Absolute Red Bull" took second place with 53 points, and the team from "C" Co, 2nd Bn, 127 Inf Regt clinched third place with 49

First Lt Joe Eitenmiller, intelligence officer for the 34th Inf Div, one of the members of "Absolute Red Bull", won first place in the middleweight class in his first Modern Army Combatives tournament

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"I've never really done a lot of Modern Army Combatives," said the Ladysmith, Wis, native, "I've done a lot of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and I've been doing that about six or seven years I won first place so that was pretty cool"
He also had the shortest match of the tournament

"I got the fastest submission today I submitted the battalion commander down here in twelve seconds," he said, "So, whether or not we actually get home now," he joked, "I'm not sure if that's going to happen"

Coincidentally, the helicopter Eitenmiller boarded to return to Contingency Operating Base Basra after the tournament was delayed at a nearby camp overnight, postponing his return by a day

Another Soldier from "Absolute Red Bull", Capt Elias Donker, with the governance section for the 34th Inf Div, placed high in his weight class

"I feel I put on a pretty dominating performance against my opponent to clinch second," said the heavyweight contender, "so I don't feel like I dishonored myself I was pretty pleased with that fight all around

The Fairbanks, Ind, native holds the Elite Cage Fighting Amateur Heavy Weight title in his home state and plans to enter the cage for his first professional mixed martial arts fight soon

"I'm going to go fight one more amateur fight when I get home [defending his title] and then I'm going to go pro," he said, "It looks like the [pro] fight's going to be May 6th, in Nashville, Tenn, with the Gameness Fighting Championships"

The first place heavyweight contender, Sgt Chris Burger, team leader with "D" Co, 2nd Bn, 127th Inf Regt, was also pleased his performance

"This was my first competition," he said, "In high school I was runner-up in state [wrestling competitions], I took second place, and being here, able to take the title, it felt great " like I was able to redeem myself from the past"
Competitors fought six-minute bouts and received points for successful technique, such as attaining a dominant position after a takedown

Fighters won if they had the most points at the end of the time limit or submitted an opponent, making them tap out
Combatants' performances also contributed to an overall team score, which not only motivated them do well individually, but to also coach and cheer their teammates as they advanced in the tournament

Eitenmiller lauded "Absolute Red Bull" for their efforts
 "We did really, really well," he said, "I think we found out about the tournament three or four weeks ago and we just tried to piecemeal the team together as well as we could Out of twenty four teams that competed we took second, and I think that's really awesome"

Donker was also proud of the team's accomplishments
"We had one guy that came in first, one that came in second in their weight classes We had two of the fastest submissions in the tournament You can't beat that," he said

"Red Bull" Spc Cary Cardinal, imagery analyst with the 34th Inf Div, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn, also had a quick match, getting his opponent to tap-out by achieving an arm-bar in 19 seconds

Teams and individual fighters were recognized in an awards ceremony after the tournament

The fighters began their day around 8  am, fighting in the preliminary rounds and finished with the finals, which included punches, slaps, and kicks, under Bucca's artificial lighting

Finals matches were also extended to ten minutes
Among the fighters were three females as well
One of those was Staff Sgt Crystal Wilson, intelligence analyst with the 34th Inf Div, native of Latham, NY, another member of "Absolute Red Bull"

"Staff Sgt Wilson was one of the three females out of the one hundred and four fighters and she did a great job," said teammate Eitenmiller, "She's trained really hard"
Donker also said he was proud of Wilson and was glad to see female competitors

"I loved that the females showed up," he said, "You know, it's always tough because males have a little bit of an advantage and you try to adjust that with the weight class
"But Staff Sgt Wilson, for example, she made a male of equal weight with her, go six minutes to points for a decision," he said "That's outstanding And if she got in a situation where, let's say, there's an escaped detainee, one of us would have showed up in six minutes to help out"

Skills learned in the combatives program are crucial for all Soldiers to know, said Burger

"I think it's important because there's nothing like it, even wrestling," he said, "That "˜never quit, never stop, never surrender' attitude can carry on from the grappling ring out on to the battlefield for our Soldiers"

"There's no better way to build that than to do the stuff we did today," he said

Donker had similar feelings

"There's no way to replicate the Warrior Ethos training better than this," he said, "Guys can stand in formation in their Class A's and say "˜I will not desert a fallen comrade, I will not accept defeat', you know, and their mouthing words "

"Get out here with a guy your size, trying to choke off the blood to your brain, and "˜I will not accept defeat' takes on a totally different meaning," he said "It's a safe, effective way to learn that, and we produce better warriors"

Eitenmiller agreed, saying that the combatives program is important not only mentally but physically as well

"Doing push-ups, sit-ups, two mile run kind of gets boring a lot and this really works every muscle in the body," he said, "But it keeps Soldiers really motivated physically just to keep going, and going, and going"

Burger, sitting atop 19 other heavyweight competitors, stressed the importance for Soldiers to engage in the combatives program

"Other Soldiers, get out there and do this," he said, "If your leaders give you the opportunity to do it, take it, because you don't know how many you're going to get"

By Spc Samuel Soza, 367th MPAD
Dec 30, 2009

Article source: http://theredbulls.net/newsdecember2009/617-combatives-tournament-hits-bucca

Video: http://dvidshub.net/?script=video/video_show.php&id=76371

Video: http://dvidshub.net/?script=video/video_show.php&id=76020



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