Fight to the finish
“We had about 110 individuals register for our winter 2014 Standard Level Competition,” said Sgt. Robert Llewellyn, the Fort Gordon BOSS president. “This is the first time we have had so many service members compete and thanks to our sponsors, we awarded first, second and third place trophies and prizes for the top three winners in each weight class.”
Quite a few of the competitors traveled a considerable distance to be a part of the tournament. Marine Staff Sgt. Justin Shadrick, assigned to Marine Aviation Training Support 21, traveled from Pensacola, Fla., and a six-member team made up of Airmen and Soldiers came from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., to take part in the competition.
“Combative training and competitions, like this one, teaches sportsmanship, esprit de corps and instills courage,” said Shadrick. “Since the competition was opened to all levels, it allowed many of us (who are trained and experienced at a higher level) a foot in the door to mentor the younger service members.”
“The competition was open to active-duty, National Guard members and reservists of all services. All participants, regardless of skill level, competed based on weight classes,” explained Llewellyn. “We offered six weight classes in this double elimination tournament.” The classes were flyweight/ lightweight (males 140 pounds and below and females 147 pounds and below); welter weight (males 155 pounds and below and females 163 pounds and below); middleweight (males 170 pounds and below and females 179 pounds and below); cruiser weight (males 185 pounds and below and females 194 pounds and below); light weight (males 205 pounds and below and females 215 pounds and below); and heavyweights (males 205 pounds and up and females 215 pounds and up).
Several coaches joined their students on the three competitive mats in the middle of the gym during a bout. Volunteer scorers, timers and referees kept a watchful eye on the combatants during each phase of the competition. Often the referee would call time out to reposition the competitors back onto the fighting mat when they ventured off during the hand-to-hand combat competition.
One of the coaches, Sonie Lasker, the 18-time gold medalist and world champion in the sport of karate, Judo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and a Navy petty officer 2nd class assigned to Navy Information Operations Command Georgia, could be heard giving instructions. Throughout a bout she recommended, like many of the coaches sitting on a designated orange colored coach’s mat near their students on the floor of the gym, various basic ground fighting techniques, such as the rear naked choke, or the cross collar choke from the mount, to help her student gain the winning edge to advance to the semi-finals and finally, the last stage of the competition.
“I only work and train with active (duty) military members,” said Lasker, who is the founder of the Joint Service Martial Arts Academy. “I donate my services freely to our military.”
One of the competitors, Navy Ensign Pedro Mizcles, defeated his opponent in an early bout.
“I won by submission,” Mizcles said as he left the mat. “This is my first competition. My forearm is a little sore (following the bout). I am exhausted and my grip is gone, but I feel great.”
Mizcles said he trained for two-hour sessions three times a week at the gym and another three hours at home for this competition. “I have been training for four months,” he added.
At the conclusion of the eight-hour event, the Fort Gordon garrison commander, Col. Samuel G. Anderson, and Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Stockton, the garrison command sergeant major, presented trophies to all the winners.
Anderson spoke highly of combatives training and competitions such as this one.
“Events like these help our service members develop discipline,” he said. “With competence comes the understanding of controlled aggression and the ability to remain focused while under duress.”
Navy Capt. James Brokaw, commander of NIOC Georgia, also stopped by to congratulate the winners, especially his Sailors.
According to Llewellyn the event could not have taken place without the support of Fort Gordon sponsors and units.
“The Fort Gordon Dental Activity provided free mouth guards to protect the teeth of competitors from injury during the tournament,” he said. “Units on Fort Gordon assisted with the loan of mats for the event.”
This year the competition was sponsored by Dick’s Sporting Goods, Allied American University, United Services Automobile Association, USA Discounter of Augusta, Fort Gordon Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and the University of Phoenix of Augusta. Each of the sponsors present at the tourney received a certificate of appreciation and a garrison coin. All combative winners received trophies, cash prizes and a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card.
The installation BOSS president said photos of the event would be posted on the Fort Gordon BOSS Facebook page for anyone who couldn’t make it out to the tournament.
|Weight||Class Winners||Placement Prize|
|Lightweight||Franklin Lami||1st Place||$100 Cash, $||50 Dick’s Gift Card|
|Jean||Torres||2nd Place||$50 Cash, $20||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Jonathan||Chavez||3rd Place||$25 Cash, $10||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Welterweight||Tahdrick Enoch||1st Place||$100 Cash, $||50 Dick’s Gift Card|
|Kayne||Reece||2nd Place||$50 Cash, $20||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Bryce||Westby-||Burrows 3rd Place||$25 Cash, $10||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Middleweight||Matthew Robinson||1st Place||$100 Cash, $||50 Dick’s Gift Card|
|Jeremiah||Phares||2nd Place||$50 Cash, $20||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Chris||Moore||3rd Place||$25 Cash, $10||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Cruiserweight||Dominique Bell||1st Place||$100 Cash, $||50 Dick’s Gift Card|
|Kendall||McGree||2nd Place||$50 Cash, $20||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Thomas||Vilaythong||3rd Place||$25 Cash, $10||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Light||Heavyweight||Justin Amidan||1st Place||$100 Cash, $||50 Dick’s Gift Card|
|Przemyslan||Gryzbowski 2nd Place||$50 Cash, $20||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Andrew||LaMance||3rd Place||$25 Cash, $10||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Heavyweight||Zach Durrach||1st Place||$100 Cash, $||50 Dick’s Gift Card|
|Ryan||Gossalin||2nd Place||$50 Cash, $20||Dick’s Gift Card|
|Jeffrey||Jarry||3rd Place||$25 Cash, $10||Dick’s Gift Card|