South County's Sgt. Jason M. McVey, recently took first place in the Light Heavyweight Class of the recent Missouri National Guard Combatives Tournament atLincoln University in Jefferson City, according to a news release from the Missouri National Guard.
Combatives is a form of hand-to-hand self defense taught in basic Army combat training. The National Guard Combatives Program is open to both male and female Army and Air Guardsmen in seven weight classes. Points are awarded during each six-minute match, although a match can end early if a competitor submits to an opponent. Fifty soldiers and airmen competed in this year’s state tournament.
Sgt. McVey serves with B Company of the 1st Battalion, 138th Infantry Regiment. McVey, who stands 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 205 pounds, defeated Staff Sgt. Derrick B. Allen by submission.
After serving five years in the U.S. Marine Corps, McVey took a nine-year break from military life. He worked a railroad joab in southerin Illinois, but was drawn to the Missouri Army National Guard last April.
“I train in Jujitsu with a friend of mine who is in National Guard and he kept telling me about it,” McVey said. “I felt like the military had never really left me so it wasn’t hard for him to convince me to enlist.”
After being assigned to the 138th Infantry, McVey quickly got involved in the Guard’s combatives program and just as quickly discovered it’s no cake walk.
“Combatives take an incredible amount of stamina,” he said, “so in addition to training in martial arts and kick-boxing; I lift weights and try to eat healthy.” McVey believes his combatives training makes him a better soldier.
“Combatives is the best military hand-to-hand self defense training that I’ve seen,” McVey said. “It is a huge step in the right direction. It builds confidence and camaraderie.”
As a winner in the state combatives tournament, McVey is now eligible to compete in the national competition next month at Fort Benning, Ga.
“I definitely want to continue in the competition,” McVey said. “My family wants to come see me compete at Fort Benning so I’m really excited to see how my training holds up.”