Capt. Michael Jenkins, 29th Combat Aviation Brigade logistics officer, destroyed his competition recently, to take first place in a Modern Army Combatives tournament in Kuwait.
Eight fighters, in all, from the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade competed in the tournament on April 28, 2012. These warriors traveled to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, to match their skills against the best fighters in this theater.
“We weighed in and everyone met their target weight. Nobody had to cut weight,” said Capt. Michael Jenkins, assistant logistics officer for the 29th CAB and a Mixed Martial Arts instructor as well as a fierce competitor.
The Normandy Soldiers put their skills to the test competing in their weight class. There were six weight classes for placement from lightweight (138 lbs. and under for males, and 151 lbs. and under for females) to heavyweight 211 lbs. and over for males, and 232 lbs. and over for females.)
If a Soldier was a pound too heavy for their weight class they had to cut the extra weight by exercising, usually biking. If not, they were placed into a different weight class.
“You don’t want to be the lightest guy in your weight class,” added Jenkins.
In Camp Arifjan’s Zone 1 Gym, Soldiers competed in three matches of different weight classes simultaneously. The tournament began with grappling, using a combination of mixed martial arts. Afterwards, the finalist competed in Pankration, a Greek fighting style blending open hand boxing and wrestling.
“I love competing. [But]this competition gave me more pleasure because I was coaching,” said Jenkins. “Spc. [Trenton] Palmer had no prior experience and ended up placing fourth in his weight class. He did exceptionally well for his first competition. That made me proud.”
Jenkins teaches Jiu Jitsu and MMA in the aerobics tent at Camp Buehring during his free time. Soldiers trained with him for the past few months. Some had a background in different fighting styles, and some had no experience at all.
Of the eight participants, Palmer from the 1-108th Assault Helicopter Battalion and Spc. Matthew McGee from the 1204th Aviation Support Battalion placed fourth, Spc. James Payne from the 1204th ASB placed second, and Jenkins placed first, each in their respective weight class.