I've Got Skills: Combative Instructor vs. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Trainer

A senior instructor of combative school and trainer of MMA fighters spend a day in each other’s shoes.

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Tim: My name is Sergeant Tim Farris; I’m a Senior Instructor at the U.S. Army Combatives School. I am Army Strong, and I’ve got skills. . Combatives gives Soldiers that confidence they need, along with all the technical skills they need to finish the fight in combat. All the tools that the Soldier has at his disposal—their weapon, their knife, their hands, their feet—he learns here in combatives. When a Soldier walks out of the combatives school, he knows that he’s going to be able to do what ever needs to be done to win that fight.

Dave Camarillo: My name is Dave Camarillo. I’m a trainer of world-class MMA fighters. I’ve got skills. I think a lot of people who don’t understand Mixed Martial Arts just think it’s two guys in there beating each other up. There’s actually a lot of hard work that goes behind becoming an MMA fighter. (chatter)

We have a world champion in MMA, Cain Velasquez, a bunch of contenders fighting in the UFC and Strikeforce, and this AKA Gym became a, a powerhouse in the MMA world. This is a place where people come to be champions.

Tim: Hey how’s it goin’? (Saying his name.) Tim.

Dave: How you doin’? (Saying his name.) Dave.

Tim: Nice to meet you Dave.

Dave: Nice to meet ya.

Tim: Dave is extremely knowledgeable in fighting. He trained some of the top fighters in the world. I mean it’s a real honor to have a guy like that out here.

Dave: I kinda wish we had this in San Jose. Number one, when I walked in, very spacious and everyone was busy.

Tim: They’re just practicing their single leg takedowns to a dominant body position.

Dave: A lot of people on the mat, a lot of people drilling, a lot of people training … there were sections, you know one section was doing certain, specific drilling, another section was doing another and another was doing another.

Tim: We start by learning the basics of fighting. Clinch work, ground work, standup fighting.

Dave: The coaching was very impressive. It’s an incredible, quick process that these guys learn, and it’s just amazing that it’s this structured, and I think that’s the key here.

Tim: After a week of training, they don’t look too bad.

Dave: No, they look really good.

Tim: Once they have the basics down, we want them to be able to fight with all their gear on, learning to transition to their tools.

Dave: Looks like a day at AKA but much more serious, weapons and everything.

Tim: I can only imagine the preparation that you guys go through to get your fighters ready.

Dave: Oh well, yeah, but I mean we’re just lookin’ for a tap out. (laughs) There’s no referee on the field.

Tim: There’s no referee on the battlefield. From there we wanted to take ‘em to the next step

Dave: What do we got here?

Tim: Basically buildings. You know, where the soldiers are gonna encounter them, small tight rooms like they’re gonna, they’re gonna see in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Dave: The small rooms have these windows where we can see in, and we can see kinda what’s going on … it’s like a combative ant farm—you get to see what’s goin’ on.

Tim: Yes. (laughs) That’s exactly right.

Dave: That guy right there, he’s just waitin’ to ambush the guy.

Tim: That’s it.

Dave: Can I get that job?

Tim: (laughs) Do you want that one?

Dave: What kind of blew me away is the variables. You have so many variables to deal with.

Tim: He can see them, you know, taking the guy down and using knees, using elbows, head butts …

Dave: oooh, he got a knee in …

Tim: Uhm, cuffing and puttin’ everything together.

Dave: The next step is to naturally bring ‘em into my environment.

Tim: I’m looking forward to gettin’ my butt kicked.

Dave: When Tim came in I knew he had experiences as far as fighting and jiu jitsu and, and his combative program in, in Fort Benning. When he came to this academy, definitely gonna be a different experience.

Tim: I like all the pictures you got up on the wall.

Dave: Yeah, those are all the fighters there. We got Mike Swick, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Cain Velasquez. They got that big banner over there after he won the world title.

Tim: Wow. I really didn’t know what to expect. I really hoped that I was going to be able to get in there and get to do something, ‘cause you really don’t – very rarely do you get the opportunity to come train with the world-class fighters.

Dave: K guys, real quick, we have Tim, he’s gonna be training with us today, taking the class. So let’s get started.

Dave: Up and run let’s go! Beautiful, stay flat

Tim: As an instructor, he really does a good job of making sure everyone’s on task doing the thing that they’re supposed to be doing before he moves on.

Dave: You’re gonna grab and pass.

He took the information we gave him and ran with it and applied it. After that, we switched gears, the fighters start coming in, basically there’s a lot of sparring.

Tim: Generally you think when you go into a gym with a bunch of fighters it’s gonna be kind of standoff-ish. But it wasn’t like that at all. These guys showed the utmost respect for me. (chatter )

Dave: I had Tim meet Herschel Walker. And it’s very, very impressive what he’s done with his football career, the bob sledding and on and on and on. But when Herschel is here, he’s a fighter.

Tim: Dave also introduced me to Mike “Quick” Swick, a great MMA fighter and title contender.

Dave: I think Mike Swick connected with Tim right away, he’s very big on the Army, he fought on for the troops card in the UFC, he’s been to Iraq; he started showing him a couple of grappling moves.

Tim: Real good move – now I can take that back to all my buddies so I got a personal training lesson from Mike “Quick” Swick. So … it was awesome.

Dave: TIME … bring it in.

Tim: At the end of the day, Dave kind of called us all in, he kinda, he set all his fighters in a big circle.

Dave: Very simple, you fight like you spar. You know, simple reality.

Tim: We have a little saying in the Army too, you know, you train like you fight. So, every training event we do, you gotta do it like you’re in combat, and it’s the same thing that they do here.

Dave: I think Tim had a great time. I think he learned a lot, and I remember going back to my Fort Benning experience and how excited I was. So obviously Tim has something to offer, we have something to offer and there’s that immediate connection. (chatter) The differences are, these Soldiers go to war, we don’t.

Tim: It’s always nice when people are saying how much they appreciate me bein’ in the Army and all the troops that are serving over in Iraq and Afghanistan and everyone gave me a big round of applause.

Everyone of ‘em was sayin’ you guys are over there puttin’ your lives on the line for us so we could, you know, so we can be here doin’ this everyday and train with the great competitors like this. You can’t help but learn and have a great time while you’re doin’ it.