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NEWS | April 4, 2014

Combatives gives Soldiers confidence in facing the unknown

By Staff Sgt. Heather A. Denby, 35th ADA Public Affairs

Combatives, much like life itself, can be a lot about expecting the unexpected.

“That’s the main objective of combatives:  getting a Soldier past the fear of the unknown,” said Sgt. Jorge Huizar, the 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment’s senior combatives instructor.

Pfc. Francisco Mesina, a healthcare specialist with the 6-52 ADA, placed 2nd in in the flyweight division of the Eighth Army Combatives Tournament April 4 in Yongsan and knows how to be flexible.

He has served in the Army for about one year and was the youngest to compete in the tournament.

“I had no idea what to expect,” said Mesina.  “But having experienced fighters in my corner just made me want to get out on the mat and do the best I could.”

Serving in Korea has brought a number of surprising experiences to Mesina, including his training and competing in combatives, for which he is well-suited, according to Huizar.

“I asked Mesina to compete because I could tell that he had the mental toughness that it takes to win,” said Huizar. 

Mesina won first place at his very first combatives tournament in March, earning him the privilege of representing the 35th ADA Brigade at the Eighth Army tournament.

“My first match was very nerve wracking,” said Mesina. “There were so many emotions
flowing through me, especially knowing that I could get hit by another person.”

With the Eighth Army combatives tournament behind him, Mesina said life still has plenty of surprises, but he is confident moving forward with the skills that combatives training provides.

“You never know when you may have to defend yourself; it’s a vital skill,” Mesina said. “And it’s one that I plan to continue to sharpen, even if it’s not on a [combatives] mat.”

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