Shaw airmen take part in hand-to-hand combat training - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Shaw airmen take part in hand-to-hand combat training

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Destroying enemies of the United States doesn't always happen across battle lines. Sometimes lethal force of a different kind is required.

"What happens a lot of times out in Afghanistan, we have altercations that occur with folks that we are close to or training that we don't expect it from, and as first line of defense, I think it's critical to have that skill set to be able to disarm someone and take action," said Air Force Lt. Col. Jeff Jarry.

Offering hand-to-hand combat training is a first for Shaw Air Force Base and they got some help from the Army to make the training available.

"Hopefully no one has to use it, but if you do, you've been trained and it becomes a reaction," said Jarry.

The training is similar to what you would learn in mixed martial arts. Soldiers and airmen learn striking and grappling techniques on the ground and standing up for 40 hours during a five-day stretch.

"One of the chokes we teach is called the rear naked choke and helps if you are behind the enemy in a rear mount, which is the dominant position, you are able to subdue your enemy," said Sgt. 1st Class Don Edwards.

Whether you are five feet tall or over six feet tall, it's a level playing field.

"So there are techniques in there -- someone who is much smaller can take down a much larger individual and come away from an experience like that in one piece," said Jarry.

Techniques like those are especially helpful for women now that they'll be on the front lines.

"I wish my wife had this training before she went to Afghanistan," said Jarry. "Quite frankly, I wish she did."

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