Thursday, June 4, 2009
K-STATE AIR FORCE COMBATIVES PROGRAM DEVELOPING, PROVIDING FUTURE INSTRUCTORS
MANHATTAN -- Combatives training offered at Kansas State University is helping to develop combatives instructors for the U.S. Air Force, according to Lt. Col. Brad Hebing, commander of K-State's Air Force ROTC Detachment 270.
K-State Air Force ROTC cadets have the opportunity to participate in module I and module II combatives instructor training during their time on campus. The combatives program is offered in conjunction with K-State's modern combatives academic course. Currently, more than 150 Air Force ROTC cadets have completed both levels of instructor training, Hebing said.
The combatives program for Air Force ROTC cadets emerged after the chief of staff of the Air Force created a task force to develop a standardized Air Force combatives program. Hebing was a member of that task force and helped bring the training to K-State.
"In the Air Force, a combatives program is basically training to teach individuals to handle one-on-one or hand-to-hand fighting situations," Hebing said. "It teaches you the skills you need to survive -- those basic fundamentals.
"We've always had some forms of combatives in the Air Force, but it was a mixed bag of all kinds of different styles, techniques and programs," he said. "We've modeled our program after the Army program. The Air Force deploys a lot with the Army, so trainingwise, it makes a lot of sense to have our program very similar to theirs."
The similar programs also benefited K-State because the combatives instructors can be shared. David Durnil, an instructor in K-State's modern combatives program, also runs the instructor training program at Fort Riley and teaches a course especially designed for Air Force cadets. Because Durnil is such a high-level instructor, K-State can offer both the module I and module II levels of instructor training. Cadets have the opportunity to complete both 40-hour courses and become certified instructors, which Hebing said is important for the future of the Air Force.
He also said that even more important than the skills taught in the combatives training is the mental toughness that it develops.
"There's a saying that goes, 'We're not going to win wars with hand-to-hand combat; we're going to win wars based on people who are willing to engage,'" Hebing said. "Training on the mat and fighting on the mat teaches you to engage the enemy -- it's to train that warrior ethos mindset. If you're going to drop a 500-pound bomb, it takes a certain mindset to be willing to do that. Combatives training also translates to developing that kind of mindset."
While some level of combatives training will be mandatory across the Air Force by late 2009, the K-State program offers cadets a special opportunity by training them to become instructors, Hebing said.
K-State cadets aren't the only ones who benefit from the on-campus course. During the summer, cadets from the other 144 Air Force ROTC detachments nationwide come to K-State to receive both levels of instructor training. The number of cadets participating in this experience has grown from 25 the first year to 50 last summer, to an anticipated 75 cadets attending this summer, Hebing said.
"K-State has found a winning combination with the high-level instructors available on campus and an evolving combatives program, and will continue to lead the way in Air Force combatives training," he said