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Security Forces Airman promotes self-defense in Afghanistan

By By Sr. Airman Cierra Presentado, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (August 27, 2015) – In Bagram, it’s crucial for military members to be able to defend themselves in the event a situation arises. A combatives class is offered to all military personnel on BAF to ensure members have the opportunity to be able to learn basic skills to defend themselves.

Tech. Sgt. Yamil Roman-Rivera, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of Check Six, uses his knowledge and skills in martial arts to teach combatives training to Bagram military members. He offers classes to interested individuals and teaches skills that may be beneficial here in the AOR or back at home station.

“Before I joined the military I was a martial arts instructor for five years where I taught kids from the ages of 3 years to adults in basic self-defense, as well as traditional Chinese martial arts and even cardio kick boxing,” Roman-Rivera said. “I’ve been through Air Force and Army combatives courses and have taught it for the past three years.”

The combatives course teaches members how to defend themselves in numerous situations. Green on blue attacks – attacks by Afghan partners on Coalition members -- is still common in today’s combat zone, as is the potential to face an enemy combatant or hostile attacker in close quarters.

The class also aids in sexual assault prevention. Participants are taught escaping moves on how to react if they find themselves in an assault.

Regardless of the situation, it’s important for members to know how to react if they were to encounter a situation.

“I teach basic strikes like punches, kicks, knees, elbows and more complicated moves like rear necked choke, guillotine choke, arm bars and triangle chokes,” he said. “I also teach escaping from these moves. All of these moves are important; with knowledge comes power as well as confidence that you have the tools and knowledge to defeat an adversary because you may be attacked prior to you having the opportunity to get to your weapon system.”

With the perception of combatives being hard to grasp, Roman-Rivera gets mostly male participants, but having taught small children and individuals with little to no martial arts background he is patient and open to teaching anyone who is willing to learn.

“I’ve never done a combatives class before and Tech Sgt. Roman-Rivera was very helpful and patient when teaching me the moves,” said U.S. Army Spc. Cody Hougnon, Task Force-Solid personal security detachment team member. “He made everything really easy to learn. I encourage my fellow Soldiers, especially the females, to take the class.”

Roman-Rivera enjoys teaching combatives to Airmen and Soldiers and encourages individuals or units interested to schedule organized classes.

“What I enjoy most about teaching combatives is that I’m giving individuals the tools to protect themselves, especially when they’re unarmed,” Roman-Rivera said. “You never know where you will be when a threat will present itself here in the AOR, traveling on leave or back at home station in your everyday life.”

Roman-Rivera will continue to offer the class to members as it fits in the basic “Defend the Base” concept under the USAFCENT priorities and allows military members the right to self-defense.

“There are many martial arts classes here at Bagram and back at home station. I encourage all to get at least a basic course of self-defense to give you the tools necessary to be resilient,” Roman-Rivera said. “Active shooter incidents are on the rise, as well as other random acts of violence. Make yourself a hard target 24/7.”

Roman-Rivera also teaches Check Six classes, which is geared more toward Airmen protecting themselves with their weapon.