STRATHCONAS TAKE ON THE DIVISION -
Ex RELENTLESS WARRIOR 16
By Tpr Mackenzie L.C
With only a few weeks’ notice, the Regiment set forth to establish a Close Quarter Combat team to compete in Ex RELENTLESS WARRIOR 2016 – a hand-to-hand grappling tournament hosted by the 3rd Canadian Division Training Centre. The competition, now only in its third year, sees competitors from across the Division come together in Wainwright, AB to test both physical and psychological endurance, resilience, and technique in close quarter combat grappling. Fighters attempt to defeat their opponents without the use of striking; but rather with the use of a variety of limb manipulations, chokeholds and point accumulation.
Upon receipt of the Warning Order, a small team of wannabe grapplers was assembled by Cpl “Ginger” Lonegren and began training under the watchful eye of our senior Close Quarter Combat Instructor (CQCI) the TQ - MWO Clarke. Since the competition was just two short weeks away, and no time could be wasted, the dedicated and hungry team would meet in the evenings (after a full day of duties) to train for hours in order to improve physical endurance and acquire a foundation of hand-to-hand combat techniques. Guillotines, arm bars, double leg take-downs, triangle chokes, and many others were no longer flashy moves only seen during MMA fights on television; these techniques were now tucked neatly into our “CQC Toolbox” as the TQ would call it. There was a lot of hard work, a lot of pain, and many gains – to include friendships that quickly developed and comradery that emerged among the tight group.
Unfortunately, as the competition grew closer, a few dedicated members; such as MCpl Tanya “a little too angry” Graham and Tpr “White-out” Whitson learned that they would be unable to attend due to other obligations; and only seven remained to compete. The seven, Cpl Andrew Lonegren, Cpl Allison “The Silencer” Sawyer, Cpl Karine “Pink Socks” Stratford, “Super Tpr” John Williams, Tpr Josh “The Bulldozer” Rourke, Tpr John “GQ” Roy, and Tpr Laurence “DNA” MacKenzie, were all eager to throw down and mess up their opponents – and many of them did just that.
The atmosphere was intense on competition day. Circling around the fringes of the six rings in which the grappling would take place like hungry sharks, the team members squared-off and sparred with each other; warming up and sharpening their minds for the full day of fights that lay ahead. For many, these fights would be their first fights outside their training, but they surely would not be their last.
As the competition kicked off, it was clear that the short, but focussed, training was going to pay huge dividends – as Tprs Roy and Williams blitzed through their first few opponents with slick side chokes and arm locks. Not to be outdone, Cpl Lonegren walked through his first two opponents like they were grappling dummies while Cpl Sawyer dominated her first opponent and “subbed” her with a well-timed and picture-perfect choke. Cpl Stratford, our fighter with the least amount of training due to a PLQ task, put on a spirited display and pushed both of her much better prepared opponents to the brink – unfortunately losing, but learning lots in the process. Tpr Rourke fought two five minute bouts, but unfortunately his “heavy” opponents chose to just rest in top position like wet-blankets and worked to win on points – which they did. Tpr Mackenzie also fought two impressive bouts, but for whatever reason the judges didn’t see it that way – even though he gained and maintained top-positon and worked for submissions the entire time. Strange….but you can never trust to points alone.
Overall, the team fought fiercely, and as the day’s events wore on, over half the team still stood to compete in the championships as the TQ, who made the trip to Wainwright with the Adjt, Capt Anderson – another experienced CQCI, looked-on with pride and excitement. Showing a great magnitude of perseverance in the face of intense pain and debilitating exhaustion, four medals were eventually brought home by the LdSH(RC). Cpl Lonegren won GOLD in the Middleweight Division, Cpl Sawyer won BRONZE in the Female Division, Tpr Williams won SILVER in the Welterweight Division and Tpr Roy won BRONZE in the Light Heavyweight Division.
These individual awards, combined with the fact that LdSH(RC) won third overall, mark a tremendous accomplishment for the Regiment in its first year competing in Ex RELENTLESS WARRIOR. This performance, combined with a resurgence in Close Quarter Combat training in the Regiment, has the newfound CQC Team looking forward to future competitions and unsuspecting foes. Bring ‘em on!