MINOT AIR FORCE BASE Security forces airmen at Minot Air Force Base took part in a weeklong martial arts training seminar at the base Oct. 1-7 to become certified instructors in enhanced defensive techniques.
Participants had the opportunity to learn the defensive tactics of Krav Maga, an Israeli system of hand-to-hand combat. It teaches individuals how to properly deal with life-threatening scenarios when unarmed or when higher force options are unavailable.
Krav Maga was designed so that members can learn a large amount in a short time and easily retain everything even under high stress. These techniques are also well-integrated, reality-based methods of training that utilize logical thinking along with practical and natural body movements.
Upon completion of the training, the 20 airmen selected from each of the security forces units at Minot became certified to teach the basic techniques of Krav Maga. They will have the opportunity to go back to their respective units and teach the skills to more than 1,200 security forces members overall.
Initially, squadron leadership from each unit reached out to airmen who were experienced in martial arts and were willing to be involved in the rigorous training course. The seminar proved to be quite popular stated Tech. Sgt. Mark Troiano, 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of unit readiness.
"There were easily another 40 airmen hoping a spot would open so they could participate in the course," said Troiano.
For Senior Airman Devin Gorsage, 91st Missile Security Forces Squadron operations readiness assistant, this style of combat was a lot easier to learn compared to other martial arts because it is based from a person's natural or innate reactions and instincts.
Jon Pascal, Krav Maga World Wide Force Training Division director and trainer, explained the program taught is one that works for everybody, no matter one's age, height or weight. It was specifically developed for this reason by the Israeli Defense Force because of the nature of the country's military institution of mandatory service, he said.
The five key characteristics that distinguish the program are: efficient training period, retention of training, practical techniques, performance under stress and use-of-force issues. These characteristics are provided through a variety of attack scenarios through reduced training time and techniques, with an increase in retention.
"The overall program is represented by different divisions," Pascal said. "I'm part of the Force Training Division and we focus on training military, law enforcement and security units. But we do not train civilians to prevent counter-training."
Pascal is part of a mobile training team that travels throughout the country and world, currently supporting more than 2,000 military and law enforcement instructors.
"There is no more honorable profession than being a military operator or law enforcement officer," Pascal said. "You guys [service members] are the ones that are protecting everybody else. You should have the tools you need to protect everybody else."
While the security units at Minot Air Force Base have unique missions to fulfill, the techniques learned are universal and can be applied to specific mission-critical duties.
"It opens our eyes to things you would do when you are in a fight for your life, as opposed to a fight for sport," Gorsage said.