FORT HOOD, Texas — Two soldiers are locked, nose to nose, in a fight to gain the upper hand. Each move and counter is calculated on the fly, much like a physical chess match, with the goal of gaining an advantage. In an instant, the advantage is won, and one soldier is slammed to the mat.
For the son of a Sharon man who recently engaged in this type of battle, it is as much about strategy and instinct as it is about training and strength during the 2012 U.S. Army Combatives Championship held here July 26 -28.
Army Sgt. Logan R. Malie, son of Regis Malie of Thornton Avenue, Sharon, is a cannon crewmember with 11th Field Artillery Regiment, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Malie was representing the Schofield Barracks team during the tournament. More than 300 soldiers from 28 Army posts competed for the chance to be called the champion.
“It is an honor to be given a chance to compete against the top athletes in the U.S. Army,” said Malie, a 2003 graduate of Sharon High. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in 2008 from Thiel College, Greenville.
The Modern Army Combatives Program, or MACP, was developed in the late 1990s by Army Rangers to train soldiers in “close quarters, hand-to-hand combat.” The MACP is constantly evolving to meet combat standards in not only hand to hand, but tactical submission techniques as well. This tournament is a testament to the skills developed in the program.
Every soldier is required to be MACP level one trained. Some, like Malie, are more motivated to advance in training.
“I wrestled in high school so it was a pretty easy transition,” he said. “I just have a love for competition.”
The annual tournament is broken down by weight class, and each day the soldiers advance, the skills required to demonstrate are increased. Day one was about demonstrating the basic ground grappling skills. Day two added basic strikes, and day three, the championship rounds, were full contact. This format is used to determine the best in the Army that can demonstrate the skills required at all levels of the program.
The tournament also serves as a motivational tool to encourage more soldiers to advance in their combatives training. For some soldiers, the benefits outweigh the pain.
Malie competed in the light-heavyweight division.