Do you know what to do if someone puts you in a choke hold or charges at your core to knock you off-balance?
Female paratroopers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division learned how to counter such threats during two self-defense classes, Jan. 9 and 20, at the 82nd Airborne Division Combatives and Advanced Tactics School on Fort Bragg.
While instructors at the school regularly teach self-defense techniques, this was the first time classes have been solely focused on skills female paratroopers can use to defend themselves, said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Hopper, an instructor at the schoolhouse.
“I’m glad this unit took this initiative to do this,” said Hopper. “Sometimes you have to isolate certain issues or certain techniques just for one person, and having an all-female class is one way of doing that; isolate just the techniques that work best for them.”
Paratroopers learned how to break their fall if pushed, to maintain defensive body positions once on the ground, to counter choke holds if grabbed from behind, and how to strike an opponent’s body to effectively end an encounter.
Hopper said he hopes the classes gave the paratroopers the confidence that comes from knowing that if a negative situation presents itself, they know some techniques that can help prevent them from becoming victims.
First Lt. Melissa Owens, a paratrooper assigned to Company J, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, said the training was realistic.
“When they attacked you it was (in) the same way anyone would,” Owens said. “You never know when something can happen.
“I definitely learned a lot; I thought initially coming here it was going to be like combatives and I was surprised that it was a lot of new stuff,” Owen continued.
Pvt. Jessica Rutledge, another paratrooper assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, attended the Jan. 20 class. She said the most important component of the training was learning the methods aggressors use to subdue a victim and how to posture oneself to address that threat.
“You never know what situation you’re going to be in,” said Rutledge, echoing Owens.
Hopper said he and his instructors are available to train paratroopers from units throughout division, and the training can be tailored to meet specific objectives.
“The combatives program is put in place so we can give our troopers the necessary techniques that they can use if attacked or engaged by an enemy force.”