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Reserve Medic Leads Jiu-Jitsu Team To Championships
SCHWETZINGEN, Germany – For Sgt. Brian Davis, a non-commissioned officer from the 7th Army Reserve Command’s Medical Support Unit headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, leading soldiers to fight has taken on new meaning.
Davis recently led a team of U.S. soldiers to a second-place overall victory during the International German Championships of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Wrestling.
“They did great, taking second only to a Brazilian team,” Davis said. “This is the national sport in Brazil. These guys train daily for years and are hard to beat.”
The tournament, held Oct. 28 in Neuried, Germany, hosted teams from France, Switzerland, Poland, Italy, Germany, and Brazil. The eight-man U.S. Army Team, based in Heidelberg, is the only U.S. contingent competing in the sport in European tournaments.
The second-place overall ranking qualified the team to move on to the European Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open, which will be held Jan.31 in Lisbon, Portugal.
“I’m really excited,” Davis said. “The European championship is a qualifier for the world championship that will be held in Brazil. That’s the mecca.”
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission wrestling are similar fighting styles that involve opponents grappling each other into submission holds. Points are awarded based on successful take downs and dominant positions.
The Army has adapted its hand-to-hand combat techniques from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a fighting style better suited to extreme close quarters, Davis said. Success depends less on a competitor’s size and more on his skills, he said.
Sgt. Brian Davis receives the trophy for first place in the Masters Division (Open Weight Class) of the International German Championships of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Davis led the team of Army soldiers and civilians mostly from the Heidelberg area to second place in the competition.
"It's not the size of the man in the fight, but the size of the fight in the man," Davis said.
Davis, who weighed in at 160 pounds, proved that during his fights. He beat much larger competitors to take first place in the masters division open weight class.
Active duty enlisted soldiers and two civilians make up most of the team. Davis, the team’s head coach and trainer, was the only Reserve soldier on the roster. Each team member’s fights counted toward an overall scoring.
In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition, Staff Sgt. Marvin Kraemer of Heidelberg-based 529th Military Police Company placed fifth in the flyweight class. Sgt. Shawn Stephens of the 10th Special Forces Group in Stuttgart placed sixth in the middleweight category.
The team’s assistant coach, Private 1st Class Mauricio Vasconcelos, a soldier assigned to V Corps Artillery in Heidelberg, placed 3rd in the lightweight masters division. Thomas Sandner of Mannheim, placed second in the light-heavyweight class for masters division. Vinnie Carlucci, a civilian assigned to the 102nd Signal Battalion in Wiesbaden, placed fourth in the heavyweight class.
Sgt. Benjamin Bradley of the 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment from Hohenfels, placed third in the heavyweight class and second place in the open weight class.
In submission wrestling, Bradley took second place in the open weight class. Sgt. Vern Burns of 44th Signal Battalion from Mannheim took third place at the welterweight class. Stephens took fourth in submission wrestling at the middleweight class. Kraemer took sixth place in the flyweight class.
The team continues training twice a week at Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg.
The 7th Army Reserve Command's Sgt. Brian Davis coaches and competes in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He recently led a team of Army soldiers and civilians to a second place finish in the International German Championships of the sport.
“We keep training the same intensity we always have, 100 percent,” Davis said. “The train as you fight attitude.”
Davis has also had success in mixed marital arts competitions in Europe over the past four years. But he’s looking forward to the upcoming fights in Portugal because he enjoys watching his students’ progress through competition.
“I expect they will do even better than they did at the German championships,” Davis said. “Since they’ve qualified, they’ve turned up the intensity.”
Davis, who served 10 years on active-duty in the medical field now works for General Dynamics Network Systems. Both he and wife Rebecca, a staff sergeant in the chaplain’s office, serve with the 7th ARCOM, the Army’s only Reserve unit stationed on foreign soil, with 22 units supporting U.S. Army Europe military operations in Europe, Southwest Asia and the Balkans.