'Check Six' teaches deployed service members combatives

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Bahja J. Jones
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
When faced by an attacker, sometimes the only means of defense are ones instincts and ability to fight back. To hone those instincts, deployed service members are armed with basic, defensive fighting skills at the weekly Check Six combatives classes offered at the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing here.

"Check Six combatives is a voluntary self-defense program designed for beginners," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Moore, a 379th AEW Check Six facilitator deployed from Kadena Air Base, Japan. "It encompasses Army and Air Force basic combative techniques and provides self-defense strategies that can be used to hold off a perpetrator."

Check Six facilitators are trained and certified by the Air Force Security Forces Center as security forces combative instructors.

"All instructors attended a grueling, 16-day Active Shooter Incident Response Course at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas," said Master Sgt. Wayne Griggs, 379th AEW Check Six superintendent deployed from Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. "Built into the course was a vigorous security forces combatives instructor class, which gave us the ability to properly train students in self-defense techniques.

The class meets Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m. each week at the Coalition Compound gymnasium here. The Wednesday class focuses on basics techniques - learning step-by-step dominant and non-dominant defensive postures.

"You never know what position you might end up in during a fight," Griggs said. "Practicing non-dominant positions will enable you to move from that position to a more dominant one."

The Friday class is more focused on implementation and committing the basic moves to muscle memory. Individuals must participate in at least one Wednesday class before attending a Friday class.

"We encourage students to return so they can continue to improve on the muscle memory of the techniques we teach," said Staff Sgt. Lawrence Alexander, a 379th AEW Check Six facilitator deployed from Yokota Air Base, Japan. "It's important because Airmen need to be reminded that their physical capabilities will significantly impact their choices during a hostile event."

Check Six facilitators support the Combined Force Air Component Commander's intent to improve awareness, and increase vigilance and resiliency for all U.S. Central Command personnel. The start of the combatives class was to encourage Airmen to improve their defense posture and capabilities through self-defense training, explained Griggs.

"Individual self-defense is part of the Check Six '3+2+1' awareness message," Griggs said. "The 3 represents three choices: barricade, flight or fight as a last resort. Arming students with basic combative skills gives them an extra tool to defend themselves if there is no other choice, allowing them to hold off the attacker until help arrives."

Senior Airman Shannon Holland, a 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron third-country national escort deployed from Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., said she joined the class after being selected to be a security forces augmentee and is a regular student.

"I think it's a good skill to have especially as a female Airman; It's important that I know how to defend myself," she said. "The Check Six combatives class has given me the skills and the confidence to do so."