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Deployed Airmen exhibit Jiu Jitsu prowess at Marianas Open

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Three Airmen deployed here competed with Team Andersen Airmen and received medals for their performances in the Marianas Open Jiu Jitsu and Submission Grappling Tournament August 30 in Mangilao, Guam.

Staff Sgt. Jason Coursey and Senior Airmen Jeffrey Pike, both from the 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron's weapons flight, won the gold medal in the 190- to 205-pound weight class and 205-pound and up weight class, respectively. Staff Sgt. Joel Maguire, also from the 36th EAMXS, finished in fourth place in the 160- to 175-pound weight class. These Airmen are deployed from Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

"General interest got my foot in the door; competition drove me to do well," Sergeant Coursey said. "Being a high school wrestler and having a love for the growing sport of mixed martial arts made me hungry to learn. I made it a personal goal to prepare for competition to gauge my progression. Nobody wants to lose publicly so competition fosters drive and dedication not to fail. In turn, I put in the work to excel and it paid off."

Participating in Jiu Jitsu tournaments off base affords these Airmen plenty of opportunities to interact with the local community.

"The tight community bond is one of the things that I love about Jiu Jitsu in Guam," said Major Jeffrey Holt, 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron command and participant in the Marianas Open. " I train almost exclusively at a downtown training center, and I've always been treated as one of their own. Guam is a unique place where the warrior ethos runs strong not only through the military bases but also throughout the local communities and gyms. The talent pool at the tournament was pretty deep, so it was nice to see some of the young military guys do so well.

"There is a great deal of mutual respect between Jiu Jitsu fighters from all walks of life because it's not only physically brutal, but a mental competition as well, where you're constantly making split-second attack and defense decisions based on your opponents reactions," he added. "Even a small fighter can quickly capitalize on a mistake and submit a larger opponent with a choke or arm-bar or win by points."

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