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CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- It’s a great workout, it teaches discipline, it’s a good stress reliever say Soldiers It is Brazilian jiu-jitsu
At Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Soldiers deployed in support of Operation New Dawn gather at the gym three nights a week to practice the martial art together
It may seem like just an extracurricular activity, but Brazilian jiu-jitsu is much more closely related to the US military than one might think Aside from the physical and mental benefits available to anyone who practices the sport, our Modern Army Combatives Program (MACP) would not be what it is today without the base that Brazilian jiu-jitsu provided
In the mid-nineties, the leadership of the 2nd Ranger Battalion decided to reinvigorate their combatives program The Ranger’s program, headed by Matt Larsen, sought a new base for what was to become the MACP
The Gracie dynasty had been honing the art of jiu-jitsu for nearly a century before the US Army took notice of its style and effectiveness
It began with brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie in Brazil Helio’s oldest son, Rorion Gracie, was the first to bring the Gracie style of jiu-jitsu to the United States He is also a founder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship His younger brother, Royce Gracie, was the winner of UFC 1, 2, and 4
After evaluating a number of different systems, the Rangers sent several men to the Gracie Academy to study their methods With the tools offered by Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Larsen added his own military knowledge and combat experience to create a program tailored to the needs of the Army
“[The Rangers] had a chance to train with the Gracies and find out their technique and notice that it works in pretty much every situation,” said Cpl Junious Grady, 342nd Transportation Detachment, La National Guard
Grady is one of three blue-belt level jiu-jitsu instructors involved with running the class at Camp Arifjan He is also a level two MACP instructor and an officer with the New Orleans Police Department’s Fifth District Task Force when he’s not fulfilling his duty with the Army Reserve
Grady stated that he’s had to use jiu-jitsu plenty of times on his job Moreover, it helped him to use something that’s not lethal while on duty
“Also, it’s a good stress reliever With all the different stress, especially in deployments, jiu-jitsu is a way to … unwind and unleash that stress in a controlled environment,” Grady adds
‘Controlled environment’ may not come to mind when you see people grappling and rolling each other into submission on a mat, but the growing numbers of participants can’t be wrong In 2001, the United States Army Combatives School was established at Fort Benning There, Soldiers learn the techniques of Brazilian jiu-jitsu as they have been modified for the modern-day Soldier
“Jiu-jitsu’s good for a lot of things It helps you obviously stay in shape you can easily get a whole body workout in a half hour,” said Stebbins “On top of that it teaches discipline You get what you put into it”
Though Soldiers like Stebbins are generally the most eager to participate in a sport like jiu-jitsu, there are Service members of all types and skill sets involved
“The class is very controlled We take our time and explain to the students that here, there’s nothing to prove, there’s no ego involved We’re here just to learn from one another,” Grady explains
Just as the Rangers were able to learn from the Gracies, the US Air Force has begun learning from the Army In 2008, the USAF implemented a program based on MACP Grady mentions that he is a big advocate for martial arts programs within the military setting, from extra-curricular tournaments, to actual programs like MACP, now adopted by the Air Force, as well as the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program
“I’m glad that Camp Arifjan has this class,” said Grady “It’s a chance for people from combatives to continue to train and also transition into the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu”
Thanks to instructors like Grady, there is always someone to help them make that transition
“They’re real knowledgeable and it’s good to have them here They keep the class going We had twenty-five guys today so it’s a pretty strong program right now,” Stebbins said “Every time we get someone new coming in we try to get them to put the word out to their units That’s kind of what keeps the program going”
With no end in sight, the sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu continues to become a practice amongst Soldiers and other Service members alike
Posted: 2017-03-24 10:19 AM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Every spring Camp Ripley begins its annual controlled burn program to help reduce the risk of wildfire during training.
"Usually the burns are completed every spring before the summer annual training season begins," said Tim Notch, training area coordinator on Camp Ripley. "However, the warmer weather conditions provide a nice opportunity for preventative burns earlier this season."
As in years past Camp Ripley will conduct controlled burns on approximately 13,000 acres of the 53,000-acre military reservation. The burns are done in coordination with the staffs of the Camp Ripley Department of Public Works and the Camp Ripley Environmental Department along with support from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Posted: 2017-03-23 09:46 AM DULUTH, Minn. - Pfc. Trevor Nelson received the Minnesota Distinguished Recruiting Ribbon and a Minnesota Recruiting and Retention Battalion medallion for excellence from Command Sgt. Maj. Curtis Serbus, March 18, 2017, at the Duluth Armory. Nelson earned these awards as part of the online referral system, Leads 2 Enlistment for referring four friends who have joined the Minnesota National Guard.
"I talked to some buddies in my school about the Guard. They liked the benefits, so I put their info in the app and let my recruiter take over." said Nelson. "I thought it would be fun to serve with friends and help them figure out their path in life."
Nelson is currently a senior at Cloquet Senior High School and assigned to the Recruit Sustainment Program in Duluth. He attended basic training at Fort Benning in the summer of 2016 with follow-on training in the summer of 2017 to become an infantryman.
Posted: 2017-03-10 08:50 AM LITCHFIELD, Minn. -Bruce Cottington, a Navy veteran of WWII and Korea, donated a bronze bust of Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr. to the Litchfield National Guard unit during the armory's public open house event March 4. Cottington, a Litchfield resident, commands the Minnesota Chapter of the Veterans of Underage Military Service. VUMS members enlisted in the military prior to the minimum age requirement in order to serve their country during WWII. Cottington received the bust from Vessey, a fellow VUMS member. Both enlisted in the military at the age of 16.
The highlight of the 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion open house was the unveiling of the sculpture. The unit was very supportive when Cottington proposed donating the sculpture. The Litchfield community has always been very supportive of the National Guard over the years, so the open house was a chance to say 'thanks' to their neighbors. "This was a great opportunity to honor Bruce and to honor Gen. Vessey," said B Co., 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion Commander, Capt. Seth Goreham. Bravo Company also has a tight relationship with the local American Legion and VFW. Many Litchfield citizens are former members of Bravo Company, or the unit's predecessors A Co, 682nd Engineer Battalion, and the 849th Mobility Augmentation Company.
Posted: 2017-03-08 03:29 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The garrison command team of Camp Ripley, family, friends and colleagues from the Minnesota National Guard attended a Change of Responsibility ceremony between Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Worden and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Erickson, March 5, 2017, at Camp Ripley.
The ceremony was an official "passing of the sword" from one senior noncommissioned officer to the next and assumption of the duties and responsibilities that go along with the position of Garrison Command Sergeant Major.
As with many military ceremonies those in attendance welcomed Erickson as a new member of the team and bid farewell, recognized and thanked Worden for his service.