Hand-to-hand combat the focus of Exercise RELENTLESS WARRIOR

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Article / March 2, 2017 / Project number: 17-1019

By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

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Edmonton, Alberta — More than 100 members of the Canadian Army’s (CA’s) 3rd Canadian Division (3 Cdn Div) showed their warrior spirit during Exercise RELENTLESS WARRIOR 17 (Ex RW17), an impressive show of their close-quarters combat skills held at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton January 27-29. 

Ex RW17, like the first edition held last year, pitted 3 Cdn Div members against one another in friendly but intense hand-to-hand fighting contests requiring total mental and physical commitment to overpower opponents using grappling techniques. (For those not familiar with grappling, it is a activity incorporating elements similar to some aspects of Judo, jiu-jitsu and wrestling.)

“The reason we’re doing this exercise is to train our minds and bodies to overcome the will of our opponent,” said Major Tony Ross of 3rd Canadian Division Training Centre (3 CDTC). “And that is a critical task for a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.”

3 CDTC is the Army’s Centre of Excellence for close-quarters combat and conducts Ex RW17 to foster those skills and give the combatants an opportunity to further develop their physical and mental strength.

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) (LdSH(RC)) were both well-represented at the event.

In the medal count: the overall top fighters, Captain Kaitlyn Theroux in the female division and Sergeant Adam Pingrenon in the male, were respectively representing PPCLI’s 1st and 3rd Battalions (1 PPCLI and 3 PPCLI).

Capt Theroux also took gold in the Female Lightweight Novice Division, followed by silver-medallist Private Chia-Jung Shih of 3 CDTC. Private Natasha Desrochers from 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery won bronze.

Pte Shih said being a long-time student of Tae Kwon Do shaped her performance, and that combat sports are also a good way to keep in shape generally.

“I’m flexible – that helps with the wrestling a lot. This stuff is really good for overall conditioning.”

The top fighter in the Female Middleweight division was 2nd Lieutenant Rachel Anderson of 3 CDTC. Sergeant Gerri Davidson and Corporal Maeli Vincent, both from (LdSH(RC)), took home silver and bronze respectively.

2Lt Anderson, who trained daily with her teammates in the lead-up to Ex RW17, said the experience of competing is good preparation for staying sharp under pressure.

“It really helps develop your aggression but also focus it – really learn to focus and look for opportunities when you start getting that stress from the intensity.”

Master Corporal Tanya Graham, another member of (LdSH(RC)), was awarded gold in the Female Heavyweight division and Private Hailey Sorenson of 2nd Battalion PPCLI (2 PPCLI) took silver.

The male competitors faced off in a dozen categories, with Novice, Intermediate and Advanced fighters competing in weight classes ranging from lightweight to ultra-heavyweight.

In the Lightweight Novice Division, top honours went to Private Aidan McCaffrey-Noviss from 1 Combat Engineer Regiment. Private Tyler Gracie from 2 PPCLI won silver and Private Constantine John of 1 PPCLI took bronze.

The Men’s Middleweight Novice Division was topped by Corporal Ethan Cornect of 4 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, followed by Lieutenant Gregory Gardner of 1 Combat Engineer Regiment and Corporal Andrew Elms of 3rd Canadian Division Support Group.

In the Middleweight Advanced Division, the top warrior was Private Tyler Motiuk of 1 PPCLI, followed by 2 Field Ambulance’s Captain Lexin Luciak of 1 PPCLI and Corporal James Weiler of 3 PPCLI.

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