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Posts Tagged ‘Drill Sergeant’

D co - Eco 2/334/3/95th IET

(Top L) DS Busen, DS Cowick, Cadet Simmons, Mr. Bentley, SPC Wheller, LT Korte (Lower L) DS Baze, SGT Dutton, SFC Williams

It was the hat I noticed first when I reconnected with my old high school friend.  He had come over for a visit to discuss running in an ultra-marathon, but the hat he wore showed me exactly where he had developed the kind of discipline that it took to run races that were hundreds of miles long.  My friend Jared’s hat

DS Busen in the 2011 Veteran's Day Parade. Photo by Liz Weisheit Hoffman.

was the hat of a United States Army Drill Sergeant.

Drill Sergeants have one of the most demanding jobs in the US military. Their primary mission is to train civilian recruits and transform them to combat ready soldiers.  Their responsibility goes far beyond the order-barking movie archetype (although I’m sure they’ve all said, “drop and give me 20” at least a time or two).  Drill Sergeants must act as mentors, coaches, and counselors.  They are tasked with making sure recruits are ready for the road ahead, so they are first and foremost leading by example.   The hat sets them apart, but so does the pride and strength they each seem to carry in their eyes.

Drill Sergeant Busen recently invited me to come and observe and participate in drills for the US Army Reserve Drill Sergeant group based in Quincy. The Unit- D co – Eco 2/334/3/95th IET- were practicing MACP drills (Modern Army Combatives Program), which is a Mixed Martial Arts based hand-to-hand fighting system.   Robert Bentley, owner and lead instructor of Legacy Martial Arts Studio in Quincy hosted the group of soldiers for their training this day.

If it weren’t for the ACUs (Army Combat Uniforms), the scene at the beginning of this day of drill would have looked like any fitness class.  The soldiers circled up around DS Busen and he led the group in some stretches.  Most of the men in this group were Drill Sergeants or in training to become them, so this type of group leadership rotates among them for drill days.

To become a proficient fighter, soldiers must have a base of knowledge not just how to throw punches but also how to recover if they are knocked off of their feet, so the first set of drills were practice rolls.  The rolls were an unusual mode of locomotion to get across the gym floor.  It was as if each man were being tossed to the floor by an invisible adversary, only to pop back up to his feet, ready to go again.  The soldiers by and large made these moves look easy; while my own strained attempts looked more like a kid in a gymnastics class trying to do a backwards summersault for the first time.

One of the most interesting floor exercises was a simulated wrestling escape called “shrimping.” Basically, the soldier would lie on their back with one knee bent and then using their foot and abdominal muscles, they would shoot backwards and on to their side in an explosive motion.  The body ends up in sort of an L shape that brings to mind the way a shrimp propels itself in the water.  The motion was tougher than it looked, and by the end, my core muscles were getting pretty worn out.

From there, the group went on to boxing drills.  Soldiers paired off and preformed jabs, crosses and hooks with gloves and mitts.  After this warm up, the fighters practiced combos of these three basic moves.  DS Busen and Mr. Bentley walked the floor and helped soldiers with technique.  The atmosphere of the class was energetic and, even though the soldiers were concentrating on what they were doing, they were all clearly having fun throwing punches with each other.

LT Korte practices some jabs.

After boxing drills, Mr. Bentley took the floor to demonstrate Mixed Martial Arts kicks.  Bentley’s primary training is in Taekwondo and instruction, and he is proficient at several other disciplines as well. He outfitted a soldier with a practice pad and the force of each of his demonstrated kicks echoed around the whole room.

I paired off with DS Busen to try out some of the kicks, and I couldn’t help but laugh to myself that this trained combat instructor was going to just stand there and let me kick him for a while.  Don’t worry though; he got the chance to throw some kicks while I held the pad too.  I know he held back some of the power, but the energy in his kicks still rang through the pad and up my leg.  It actually was one of my favorite parts of the drill.  It made me feel tough!

The whole morning went on similarly- demonstrated martial arts moves then practice in pairs- and throughout it all the soldiers would horse around a little or give each other a hard time, but there was also an ever-present serious undertone to the fun.  At one point, Mr. Bentley was demoing a knee strike from a stand-up clinch position, and he said, “Now, of course, in MMA you aren’t allowed to knee ‘em in the groin, but if it’s an enemy combatant, nail ‘em!”  This elicited laughs from the guys, but it actually made me look up around the room and realize what these men could potentially face.  Instead of facing kicks from a 5’5” local blogger girl, these guys could someday be engaged in hand-to-hand combat with someone trying to kill them.  Adding to the intense feeling of purpose, the men standing in front of me might not just have to defend themselves, but also held the responsibility for training other soldiers to defend themselves under the gravest of circumstances.  Words become paltry when you’re trying to describe the respect this gives you for these soldiers.

I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed spending some time with the guys in the Drill Sergeant Unit.  To a man, these are some of the most strong, disciplined, fit leaders I’ve ever met.  They’re also pretty funny guys, and I’d gladly go out for a beer with them any day.  To co-opt the Army slogan, There’s Army Strong, then there’s Army Drill Sergeant Strong.

*A special thanks to Legacy Martial Arts and Mr. Robert Bentley.  His facility was simply top notch, and his training philosophy and style are unmatched in the

Mr. Bentley and DS Cowick "roll" - or practice ground wrestling moves.

area.  I’ll be blogging more about Legacy soon, but if you have interest in learning more about Taekwondo, mixed martial arts or FIT classes, I highly recommend stopping in at Mr. Bentley’s facility at 307 N. 36th Street (behind Blockbuster Video) or visiting his website at www.atalegacy.com . They’re also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ataLegacy

Please check out my Flicker Slideshow of the workout at Legacy Martial Arts by clicking the photo below! To learn more about becoming a US Army Reserve Drill Sergeant from the Quincy Lincoln Douglas Reserve Center, contact CPT Mellon at 217-653-9982 or call an Army Career Counselor at 309-647-6712.

Click on these ADVENTURE FEET to see a slideshow the Army Reserve Drill Sergeants at Legacy Martial Arts!


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