Fort Bragg combatives will host its fourth annual Fort Bragg Armed Forces Combatives Invitational Tournament, Tuesday to Dec. 9, at Fort Bragg Combatives School and Ritz-Epps Physical Fitness Center.

The tournament is expected to draw over 300 participants from all branches of the armed forces, said Marques Daniels, Fort Bragg combatives noncommissioned officer in charge.

Daniels said that around 170 service members participated in last year’s tournament and he set a goal of 350 this year.

“I don’t think we are going to reach that number, but I’m hopeful,” he said.

With dozens of fights over three days, attendees will have plenty of exciting viewing material.

Daniels said his favorite day of the tournament is day two, when fighters are able to use all their resources.

“Day two is where you start to see the warrior spirit come out of these guys,” he said. “The Soldiers get so amped up to have ability to ‘throw hands’ as we call it, to slap each other and punch each other.”

This warrior ethos is what draws many Soldiers to the sport of combatives. Ramon Vazquez, 82nd Airborne Division combatives team instructor, said heart is the most important quality in a combatives fighter.

“Heart and the ability to never take defeat as the end-all-be-all,” said Vazquez. “The 82nd Airborne (Division) prides itself on having paratroopers that don’t know when to quit and I think that definitely parlays into this program.”

Vazquez is participating in his first Fort Bragg Armed Forces Combatives Invitational Tournament. He said he is fighting in this tournament in honor of three combatives mentors who took him under their wings when he was a young fighter.

As an instructor, Vazquez says he hopes to also serve as a mentor to young fighters.

“If I got catered to individually, I think everyone else deserves that right, no matter how long it takes,” he said.

Vazquez and Daniels both highlight the camaraderie that occurs during combatives tournaments. Those who want to see this spirit in action are encouraged to attend the event.

The Fort Bragg Armed Forces Combatives Invitational Tournament begins with weigh-ins on Tuesday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Fort Bragg Combatives School. It continues Wednesday and Dec. 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with preliminary semi-finals at Ritz-Epps Physical Fitness Center.

The finals are Dec. 9, from 1 to 4 p.m., at Ritz-Epps Physical Fitness Center. Daniels said all fights on the final day take place in a tactical enclosure and include first, second and third place fights.

Daniels said a special award is presented on finals day as well.

“The Army combatives strategy is close at distance, gain a dominant position and finish the fight,” he said. “We want these Soldiers to finish the fight. So to spur that on, we have a fight of the night award.”

Daniels said this award goes to the best fight of the night, no matter in which place the competitors finish.

For more information about the tournament, contact Daniels at 396-3031 or marques.d.daniels.mil@mail.mil.