Eglin Hosts Security Forces Combatives Instructor Course
9/17/2013 – EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The arm bar, guillotine and whip-over takedown were just a few of the defensive techniques learned and performed by 28 Airmen from the Eglin and Hurlburt Field security forces squadrons, during their combatives instructor course.
The course, held here Sept. 9-13, is a week-long specific security forces combatives instructor course, was hosted by the 96th Ground Combat Training Squadron and led by senior instructor, Staff Sgt. Christy Sturdivant.
This was the first time security forces Airmen from another base were incorporated into the training here.
“We wanted to include another base in the training to help disseminate a more cop-focused combatives program quicker to other units,” said Sturdivant, an eight-year veteran. “The students return to their unit, teach other Airmen who then PCS and teach new Airmen at a different base. Just as I certified eight Airmen last year, they helped me train this class and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
This was Sturdivant’s second time teaching an instructor course since she qualified as a senior instructor in October 2012. She has trained in combatives for approximately five years. The opportunity to become a senior instructor “seemed to fall into place” through back-to-back training opportunities, according to her. Sturdivant was the first female senior combatives instructor in the Air Force and also the first outside of the Air Force Security Forces Center. She now teaches the combatives course to deploying security forces Airmen who require Fly Away Security Team training.
“I don’t think females should be looked at or treated any different from males,” she said. “I do believe it is empowering for females and males to be able to defend themselves, no matter who they encounter and I wish more females would pursue this certification.
I enjoy teaching and seeing my students learn, but I don’t look at it like being a female instructor. All I see is an instructor who just happens to be a female.”
The instructor course breaks down into two modules of combatives and weapon retention/handcuffing. Module 1 consists of fighting stance, stand-up to base, dominating body positions, submissions and escapes. Module 2 consists of combinations, drills, guillotine escape /whip over takedown, defense from double leg takedown, among many others.
The Airmen begin learning the techniques in slow motion and gradually build and incorporate them into procedures to take down, disarm and subdue an enemy. In this course, the Airmen not only have to master the techniques, but also demonstrate and provide instruction to pass.
“As instructors, you have to push the students to leave their comfort zone,” Sturdivant said. “Having them teach each move helps them become more comfortable teaching in front of large groups. We are not pros right out the gate, it takes time and effort to truly know the material in and out and to answer every question a student could think of, but if you stick with it, it pays off in the end.”
The class was made up of primarily Airmen and NCOs. Upon completing the course, they’ll be able to lead combatives training in their units.
“I thought the training was great and can’t think of why we haven’t implemented this sooner,” said Staff Sgt. Christino Flores, of the 96th Security Forces Squadron. “It is vital, especially as a SFS member, to grasp and be able to utilize these skills. We come in contact with random individuals in unlimited scenarios and must be ready to defend ourselves and others at any given time.”
Airman 1st Class Brittney Banania, of the 96th Security Forces Squadron, was one of only three female Airmen in the class and had no previous combatives training. She said she volunteered for the course and knew it’d be a learning experience.
“By taking this course, I have another tool I can use in case I get put in a situation,” she said. “As a female, to be picked to participate in this course was a great accomplishment for me. I not only can keep up with the men in my unit, I also feel like I can take it back to my unit and give them a female’s perspective.”
The Airmen put their new skills to the test when they squared off against one another for bragging rights during the “king of the mat” on their final day of the course and after their evaluations. The entire group passed their evaluations and qualified as combatives instructors.
“I was excited to see all my students graduate,” said Sturdivant. “They say how nervous they are and it just makes me laugh, because I know they’ve got it. I watched them all week and they know the material, it just takes time for them to build their confidence.”
by Samuel King Jr.
Team Eglin Public Affairs
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