COLUMBUS, Ga. – A Columbus State ROTC cadet has established himself among the Army's best in hand-to-hand combat.
Ian MacDonald, a CSU junior political science major, earned a spot, and competed, in the July 20-23 national finals of the 2011 All-Army Combatives Tournament at Fort Hood, Texas.
His 2-2 record included a victory by submission and the other on points and helped Fort Benning's Maneuver Center of Excellence Squad to sixth place overall. A Fort Hood host squad won the team competition, involving more than 50 teams representing Army-affiliated installations around the world.
"It was a great learning experience that I'll build on for next year's tournament," said MacDonald, a 2009 graduate of Chattahoochee County High School.
The tournament was launched in 2005, evolving from a hand-to-hand combat training activity designed at Fort Benning about 10 years ago. Combatives competition begins with grappling and combines kickboxing and mixed martial arts at its most advanced level.
Competitions involve 10-minute, single-round matches decided by submission holds, knockout or judges' scoring.
In just his second year in the competition, MacDonald joined 15 other Fort Benning team members in qualifying for the finals by winning four elimination matches as a light heavyweight two months ago in the Maneuver Center of Excellence Tournament at Fort Benning.
Perhaps lengthening the odds for further individual success, MacDonald said he shed 20 pounds to compete in the finals as a cruiserweight (185 pounds) to "improve Fort Benning's chance for the team title."
Lt. Col. Dean Weiler, who was MacDonald's ROTC commander last year, said the team-first approach and individual success in the tournament reflect McDonald as a CSU student in the ROTC program. "Ian's commitment to the program and his own standards are high – a reflection of his upbringing."
MacDonald's father is Col. Thomas MacDonald, a CSU graduate who was recently reassigned from garrison commander at Fort Benning to Kabul to advise Afghanistan's defense minister.
"My dad is a martial arts enthusiast and has trained soldiers," said Ian MacDonald. "I've been exposed to this most of my life, but I didn't start training until I was a high school senior."
MacDonald said he plans to prepare for the 2012 All Army Combatives Tournament by continuing to train year-round and competing in Atlanta tournaments sponsored by national grappling and mixed martial arts organizations.
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