The recent acceptance of martial arts into the list of approved sports by the Australian Defence Force Sports Council, and subsequent introduction of classes at HMAS Kuttabul, has proven a real ‘hit’ - keeping Navy members ‘fit to fight’.
Navy aims to produce a more professional, tenacious and resilient workforce by 2018 and participation in sport is high on the agenda.
Senior instructor of the Navy's Military Self-Defence Course, Petty Officer Physical Training Instructor Michael Steffens said martial arts had a lot to offer the individual and the service.
“Martial arts improves confidence, humility, self-awareness, fitness, health and resilience,” he said.
“Grounded defence, survival and control techniques that draw their roots from Brazilian jiu-jitsu are currently used in the Navy's Defensive Tactics package, although the lessons are very different to the sport, many of the key principles apply.”
Navy members can be trained in specific lessons covering the Maritime Threat Environment, Carriage of Weapons and Operational Equipment, Facing Superior Numbers and Weapon Threats.
All officers and sailors who make up a ship's boarding party must pass the Navy's Defensive Skills Course, which teaches the basic self-defence techniques for situations that may occur during operational activities.
Kuttabul is the first Navy base to provide martial arts training for all members, with Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes held every Tuesday at lunchtime.
The classes are lead by Ash Noble, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt with years of competition and coaching experience.
Leading Seaman Physical Training Instructor Zac Stanley, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt and competitor, said the Kuttabul classes were open to all levels of experience.
“Classes begin with a warm up consisting of the basic movements required to execute techniques before moving into 40 minutes of technique and finishing off with 15 minutes of practicing those techniques against a resisting partner or live sparring,” he said.
There are also plans for a women’s-only self-defence class.
Navy service requires fitness for personnel to have the resilience for sea service. Members are encouraged to participate in sport regularly for increased wellbeing and esprit de corps.