Combatives course teaches hand-to-hand combat

Airman 1st Class Sheristy DeJesus, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron member (top), pins her training partner Senior Airman Michael Staley, 341st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force member, during the Combatives Instructor Course at the Malmstrom Air Force Base fitness center June 30. The course was designed to teach Airmen close-quarter hand-to-hand combat techniques. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt)

Airman 1st Class Sheristy DeJesus, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron member (top), pins her training partner Senior Airman Michael Staley, 341st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force member, during the Combatives Instructor Course at the Malmstrom Air Force Base fitness center June 30. The course was designed to teach Airmen close-quarter hand-to-hand combat techniques. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt)

Members of the 341st Security Forces Group at Malmstrom Air Force Base spar during a Combatives Instructor Course at the base’s fitness center June 30. The course focuses on weapons retention, suspect control and challenge techniques, and close-quarter hand-to-hand combative technique. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt)

Members of the 341st Security Forces Group at Malmstrom Air Force Base spar during a Combatives Instructor Course at the base’s fitness center June 30. The course focuses on weapons retention, suspect control and challenge techniques, and close-quarter hand-to-hand combative technique. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt)

Students of the Combatives Instructor Course watch as an instructor teaches proper technique for one of the many hand-to-hand combatives moves they learned throughout the program at the Malmstrom Air Force Base fitness center June 30. The class, as well as future classes, may be attended by any security forces personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt)

Students of the Combatives Instructor Course watch as an instructor teaches proper technique for one of the many hand-to-hand combatives moves they learned throughout the program at the Malmstrom Air Force Base fitness center June 30. The class, as well as future classes, may be attended by any security forces personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Military members may have to deal with many hostile scenarios while on duty. For security forces members, this is especially true. While a situation may turn violent quickly, lethal force is taught only to be used as a last resort for men and women in uniform.

When these situations arise, close-quarter hand-to-hand combative skills can make all the difference in a problem being handled quickly and correctly.

For Malmstrom's security forces personnel, the Combatives Instructor Course is the answer to helping these Airmen know how to respond to whatever may come their way.

"What these men and women are going through during this course is their basic certification in the program so they can then go back and teach the rest of their squadrons," said Staff Sgt. Maxwell Thompson, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron combatives instructor.

"This class is open to the whole security forces group and the system we teach is really easy to learn," he continued. "People who have no experience at all, to the ones who have many years of experience, can participate and learn new skills."

The course focuses on weapons retention, suspect control and challenge techniques, and close-quarter hand-to-hand combative techniques.

While simulating various scenarios, trainees also have a training M9 handgun strapped to their side so they can also exercise breaking contact and challenging a suspect with lethal force, if needed.

According to Thompson, the constant repetition of these moves will help them to diffuse scenarios that otherwise could not be dealt with correctly.

"Being certified instructors, these Airmen will be able to teach whomever they wish within their respective duty sections," said Thompson. "After that, it will be up to the user to implement these skills depending on what kind of situation they're in.

"The training in this program opens up the door to many other options military members can use instead of escalating their force all the way up to use of a weapon," he continued.

For Airman 1st Class Sheristy DeJesus, 741st Missile Security Forces Squadron member, the class offers many learning opportunities as she works alongside her male counterparts.

"Being the only female in the class can be intimidating at times but it is also very fun because it's challenging," said DeJesus. "It can be harder to apply the techniques because of the size difference but at the same time I really like it because I feel I'm held to a higher standard and have to push myself."

She would like to see more women take the opportunity to learn what is taught during the Combatives Instructor Course and be able to teach others those valuable skills also.

"I've learned a lot throughout this course and am very fortunate to have been able to participate in it," said DeJesus. "Whether for self-defense or diffusing a high-risk scenario, the skills learned throughout the program are valuable tools in an Airman's arsenal."