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Airmen up the ante with Combat Aikido

  • Published
  • By Airman Whitney Amstutz
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Whether you are a member of the 36th Comptroller Squadron, the 554th Red Horse Squadron or the 36th Force Support Squadron, being able to defend yourself efficiently and effectively is vital to the success of the Air Force mission.

Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Thomas M. Tomasiak, a member of the Guam Police Department for more than 20 years, has taken it upon himself to empower servicemembers through the Japanese Martial Art of Aikido. Sergeant Tomasiak teaches Aikido Tuesdays and Thursdays each week at the HotSpot gymnasium here.

"I read an ad in the Joint Region Edge newspaper about a need for qualified instructors," Sergeant Tomasiak said. "I called right away. I thought it would be a great experience to teach others an art I have been involved in for so long."

Sergeant Tomasiak has been a martial arts enthusiast since childhood.
"I began practicing martial arts in '86 when I was eight years old," he said. "I have experience in Karate, Kendo and Judo as well as Aikido."

Aikido, which is directly translated as harmony, energy and the way, was developed as a means of self defense.

"Aikido is unique in the sense that it is not meant to cause harm," Sergeant Tomasiak said. "We use it to defend ourselves and at the same time, we prevent our attacker from being seriously injured."

This is accomplished by redirecting the assailant's momentum instead of trying to stop it altogether.

"Aikido uses your opponent's force by turning it in another direction," Sergeant Tomasiak said. "The force that is intended to do you harm is ultimately used to submit your opponent."

Having the ability to fend off attackers at a moment's notice is an invaluable skill in today's military climate. The possibility of hostile situations is a reality that servicemembers face on a daily basis on U.S. soil and in deployed locations.

"In my Combat Aikido class I apply tactical applications to Martial Arts," Sergeant Tomasiak said. "Aikido blends to make urban and battle combat function together. It works in the field environment, or if you run into trouble while walking down the street. Everyone can use this training and I highly recommend it."

Tech. Sgt. Justin Carlton, 736th Security Forces Squadron unit deployment manager, enrolled in the classes to build on his extensive combat experience.

"I have always been interested in martial arts and combatives," Sergeant Carlton said. "I started Krav Manga, which is Israeli hand-to-hand combat, and when my instructor was unable to finish the class Sergeant Tomasiak suggested I enroll in his law enforcement Aikido class."

Having the capability to subdue an attacker is a valuable skill and can be advantageous to anyone. It is the responsibility of servicemembers to support and defend, and that responsibility extends to individual safety.

"I have been in security forces for 14 and a half years and I believe I must defend myself so I can defend others," Sergeant Carlton said.

For more information or to sign up for Combat Aikido, contact the HotSpot at 366-2339.