SOTO CANO AIR BASE, Honduras –
Army Support Activity held a self-defense class October 27, 2017, at the Soto Cano Air Base Fire Department as part of a team building program for the garrison team.
Staff members and contractors were able to learn basic defense skills from the ASA Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Edgar Fuentes, who has a broad spectrum of experience in combat sports and has been involved in the Modern Army Combatives Program since 2006.
“I’ve been in combat sports pretty much all my life; primarily involved in boxing. I became a trainer and got involved in the Army Combatives Program which gives you the tools necessary to defend yourself,” said Fuentes.
Command Sgt. Maj. Fuentes prepared for this class with support from Sgt. 1st Class Eric Kirkpatrick, ASA administrative contracting officer, who is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
“We talked about getting a self-defense class with the basics, understanding that pretty much 99% of people attending would have zero knowledge about fighting; so we actually developed a plan where we give you four or five skills that you can easily keep in mind and can give you a chance to survive,” said Fuentes.
Participants learned basic self-defense techniques that ranged from how to maintain distance, how to escape basic holds and arm drags, and how to defend against an attacker.
Sgt. Maj. Fuentes strongly emphasized the importance of readiness and learning the basics to adapt and overcome vulnerable situations, which provided the staff with initial tools to prevent participants from becoming easy targets.
The self-defense activity is intended to energize the ASA military and civilian staff as well as the contractors, and to build up team work and partnership among co-workers while they learn how to be better prepared for an unforeseen event, potentially saving their lives.
“The plan is to have it every other month. We have positive feedback from those that attended and want to know more, so we are going to take the opportunity and build on that momentum,” said Fuentes. “Hopefully we can continue and people are a little more confident now and they will be able to respond in that predicament.”
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu classes are also available on post for all personnel, provided by Tech. Sgt. Ernest Suaava, 612th Air Base Squadron station captain, Monday through Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Fire Department.
“It’s not every day that you get a brown belt Jiu-jitsu instructor free of charge, so if anyone wants to get better in terms of self-defense or wants to learn something new then people can come,” said Fuentes.
Though this was an ASA staff activity, Sgt. Maj. Fuentes and Sgt. 1st Class Kirkpatrick are also open to other units interested in hosting similar classes for their staff.