Let me start by saying quite seriously that although we like to glorify ourselves constantly and I'm every bit as bad as the next guy, all the glory belongs to God. You're all free to believe what you want, but I believe that if I had not prayed for strength after I got hurt, I wouldn't have won my next three fights. I mean every bit of that literally... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
I originally intended to fight in the Light Heavyweight class, which is 205 lbs and under. To prepare for this I lost a few pounds and 3 days before the fight I weighed 201. Then the day before the fight we figured out that we were going to have three people in that weight class, and only one in the Heavyweight class. At that time, I honestly wasn't fighting very well, and was feeling kind of banged up from rolling all the time and maybe overtraining a little, so I volunteered to "take one for the team" and move up to the heavyweight class. Whether that was a good idea is questionable, but it worked out okay.
I have to say that even though I didn't win, or even place in the top three, I'm happy and mostly satisfied with how I did. I ate like a hog up until the fight and weighed in at 208 lbs with my shoes and clothes on. I was right at 206 lbs, in a weight class that went from 206 to infinity. Coincidintally, my first opponent weighed very close to infinity.
My first fight was against a guy from Bragg, who weighed in at 270 lbs. He was not fat. He was about 6'6" I would say and looked a lot like Brad Imes from the Ultimate Fighter. I wish I could say that I put up a valiant fight and eventually he wore me down or overpowered me or something cool like that...
But the truth is, It became instantly clear that he would overpower me if I stayed on my feet for long, so I shot for a takedown. Takedowns are not my strong point by the way. He sprawled and dropped all 270 on me and broke all the cartilage loose on my lower left ribcage. Then he put me in a rear naked choke and I tapped out. I wasn't off to the best start. By the way, he seemed like a great guy when he wasnt breaking me, and he ended up taking third place overall in the Heavyweight division.
This is the part where I prayed.
Like I said, I hadn't been in top form during our trainup, and it really meant a lot to me to make a good showing. I didn't have to win it all, but I really wanted to represent Fort Jackson well, (even though they didn't support us a bit and we all payed our own way through the whole thing... but I digress lol) and wanted to do well in front of both my own team and several old friends who were there from other posts.
Did I mention that it felt like I had been stabbed through the abdomen with a fencepost? Well, without spending too much time talking about how cool and tough I am to keep fighting hurt, I'll just say this. I prayed for the strength to keep fighting and that I would represent myself well, and I took it one fight at a time.
I won the next three fights by armbar, points, and armbar in that order. None of these guys were as big as the first one, but they ranged from probably 225 to 240 or so. One of our guys told me I fought better after I got hurt, because I couldn't use any muscle (at all) and had to rely on good technique.
I lost my fifth fight to the smallest guy I had faced yet. he was bigger than me, but not so much as to be unreasonable like the others. He was more of a technical fighter and very quickly and smoothly took me down and submitted me with a bent armbar from the side control.
And that was that...
Overall, I have to say it was entirely worth it. Even paying our own way and getting busted up a little bit. The team overall did pretty well. We didn't have any top three finishes, but we had me and one other guy make it to the quarterfinals, and one guy make it to the semifinals.
The Combatives guys down at Fort Benning did an amazing job putting the whole thing together and the semi-finals and finals were awesome. The Semi-Finals were basically PANCRASE rules, and the Finals were straight MMA rules except with no elbows.
The Army Combatives program just keeps getting stronger, and I believe it's about to hit a tipping point where the Army is going to start producing some (more) world class fighters. More and more, the basic army instruction is acting like the "gateway drug" and pulling guys into more specialized martial arts training. Most of the focus right now seems to be on Gracie/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on the ground and Muay Thai or pure NHB training on the feet. There are some exceptions though, and nobody believes that you can learn one style and be invincible. The army system is really thriving on the Mixed part of Mixed Martial Arts.
Anyway, I gotta go for now. I'll post some pictures within the next few days.