University of Vermont

Cadets Outshine Grappling Competition

"Grand Champion." It was not the first time the nationally ranked wrestler had heard those words.  He and his fellow Cadets trained year-round to ensure that they are amongst the top contenders at a local tournament that brings in competitors from the entire East Coast and Quebec. Cadets Hamel, Dorso, Patnaude and Apotheker had been competing at these tournaments since entering college and have always done well. This year was no different with Cadets Patnaude and Hamel winning their respective divisions in weight and skill and Cadet Apotheker rounding out in the top three. Cadet Hamel went on to win the absolute in his no-gi competition. These victories came at a cost though. With practice being six times a week and sometimes twice a day, it is difficult managing school but certainly worth the extra time. During practice the Cadets practice chokes, sweeps, as well as other submissions by contorting the arms, knees, ankles, and wrists.

Some practice this sport because they enjoy self betterment and have been raised with it. Others saw the transition between the sports they did in high school and decided to try something new with a sport that was sweeping the nation. However a common theme amongst all is there is very close relation between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the Army’s combatives program- a system of self defense designed back in 2006 by ranger Commander Matt Larson. All the Cadets are eager to transfer their knowledge from the BJJ and other fighting styles they have been learning in college into the Army’s combatives systems and even the army wide combatives tournament. Discipline and personal courage are of the utmost importance in this sport and the Cadets who practice it take it very seriously.