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Ironton soldier wins grappling tourney

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq – Q-West Soldiers competed in an open weight class submission grappling tournament at the Morale Welfare and Recreation tent, March 27.

Sgt. Jason White, an Ironton native and infantry team leader with B Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, won first place in the tournament which followed rules typical of Jujitsu or the preliminary round of a U.S. Army Combatives tournament.

Each match went five minutes or until one combatant submitted. If no one submitted the winner with the most points won. Points were awarded for takedowns ending in a dominate position and for gaining or improving a dominate position. If the match was tied it went into sudden-death overtime, where the first combatant to score a point won.

White, who had no prior experience in grappling, said that he won primarily through his superior size, strength and stamina.

“All of my matches went into overtime. I just couldn’t finish in the first five minutes,” White said.

The muscular White explained that he wasn’t always as big.

“When I first came in the Army I was 180, now seven years later, I’m about 210,” White explained.

White said he lifts six days a week when possible but still found the tournament to be exhausting.

“If you can go 10 or 15 minutes without throwing up you’re doing pretty good,” he said.

White also said that he was impressed by some of the other combatants there, especially the second place winner, Spc. Kris J. Concepcion, a food inspector with 248th Medical Detachment and Sinajana, Guam, native who had studied Jujitsu for one year.

“Three of his wins were with triangle chokes which takes a lot of time and patience,” White said.

“They’re great guys,” he said of the other participants, most of whom train together several days a week at Q-West’s Jujitsu classes.

Concepcion said he started training in Jujitsu shortly before deploying and was worried that he wouldn’t be able to continue training in Iraq. Then Concepcion found 1st Lt. Jason Dunbar, from 40th Transportation Company, 15th Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, and his Jujitsu class.

Dunbar, who organized and refereed the tournament, said that White earned his win, but he was most impressed with Concepcion.

“The guy who won second was 150 pounds but he submitted three people bigger than him,” Dunbar said of Concepcion.

Open weight class tournaments are nothing new in the world of Jujitsu, according to Concepcion. Many Jujitsu tournaments have an absolute division, intended to find out who is the absolute best among competitors.

Dunbar originally planned for more participation, which would have allowed for separating competitors into weight classes, but many of his best students’ commanders recently banned them from practicing martial arts as a safety precaution, he explained.

Concepcion pointed out that there were no injuries at the tournament and Dunbar claimed that no one had ever been injured in his class.