Fort Hood, an army base bigger than Delaware, is right up the road from Austin… We only hear about their goings on when there are combat fatalities or a big influx/outgo of troops…But last week they held their annual Combatives tournament. It’s like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for soldiers.

The tournament entry is volunteer only, and each ‘group’ (i could go into incredibly minute detail on the us army organization, but won’t) fields a team of combatants in a slate of weight classes. The teams compete both as individuals within their weights and to garner points for the team as a whole.

Soldier on soldier all-styles legal but focusing on mixed martial arts and notably:  gender blind. Yep, gender blind. So the only ‘concession’ made to any soldier - male or female - is that they will be fighting others within their weight class and that the referees will stop the fight when they become disabled…  

335 entrants, with 25 female soldiers - up from only 5 females in 2011.

The photos above are from Fort Hood Public Affairs’ Flickr account and the Fort Hood Sentinel.

Staff Sgt. Jackelyn Walker (shown in the blue backlighting, and in the two grappling photos) was the only female in the finals - ultimately finishing in second place for her weight class, bantamweight division.