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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: 2017-04-28 12:38 PM MANKATO, Minn. - Commissioned leaders of the Minnesota National Guard convened for the 112th General Conference of the National Guard Association of Minnesota at the Verizon Wireless Center and Hilton Garden Inn, Mankato, on April 22, 2017.
The annual gathering of association members - who serve as advocates for the needs of Soldiers, Airmen and their families - includes a business meeting, commanders march, formal dining event and transfer of responsibility to the chapter's new president.
The day's event began with a business meeting, which focused on the association's mission of educating and informing legislators on the issues facing the current and future role of the National Guard in serving Minnesota communities. The strategic planning meeting was attended by Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, his staff and unit commanders.
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."