Soldiers of the 50th Signal Battalion, routinely engage in off-duty activities to gel as a battalion.

As such, members of the battalion and other XVIII Airborne Corps Soldiers took part in a combatives tournament, May 23, at Angels Gym, just off Reilly Road.

“It gets the Soldier away from the missions and gets them involved in different things,” said Sgt. 1st Class Patrick Gallagher, a battalion noncommissioned officer. “It builds morale. It’s team-building.”

The team-building events are held quarterly, he explained. During the last one, Soldiers participated in an Iron Man competition that required them to do push ups, sit ups and to complete a three-mile run.

For Christopher Preachers, the combatives tournament provided not only an opportunity to compete, but also a chance to build his leadership skills as one of the principal organizers who helped to gather sponsorship.

Sponsors such as Max Muscle Sports Nutrition and the United Services Organization of N.C. provided gifts for the prize bag given to the winner of each weight division — 145 pounds and below; 146 to 165 pounds; 166 to 185 pounds; 186 to 205 pounds; and 206 pounds and above.

Gifts included whey protein powder, a key chain, water bottles, a T-shirt and the book, “Alex Cross” by James Patterson.

Jeramy Laboy said he enjoyed competing in the 166- to 185-weight division.

“It was just fun; a good way to end the work week, start Memorial Day, relieve some stress and go relax,” he said. “It’s a good way for people to bond to get to know other people in the battalion, and at the same time, have a lot of fun. It breaks the ice a lot faster.”

But, the tournament was not exclusive to men.

Jacqueline Anderson is an Army brat who grew up around competitiveness and the desire to best others.

“I enjoy combatives. I enjoy fighting. It’s a good way to relieve stress, win or lose,” she said.

But, according to Anderson, it also has a more serious appeal.

Mastering combatives could prove helpful in a situation such as hand-to-hand combat when serving downrange, she explained.

Signing up to compete in the tournament seemed like a no-brainer to Christopher Jayne, a battalion Soldier who took part in the 186- to 205-pound division. At 193 pounds, Jayne believes combatives is much like other sports and it would be helpful for Soldiers to master it.

“You’ve got to have prowess and technique. The better you do, the better you feel about yourself. If you can do combatives, generally, you are pretty good at PT (physical training) also.”