By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

Fort Hood's Operational Fitness and Fight House officially opened Friday with the post's "patron saint" of combatives present.

Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, a ardent supporter of Army combatives at Fort Hood, cut the facility's ribbon in one of his final official acts as deputy commander of III Corps and Fort Hood. He departed the post this week for Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., where he will serve as chief of staff for the U.S. Strategic Command.

The facility and combatives program's success at Fort Hood would not have happened without Grimsley, said Chris Perkins, III Corps' combatives director. The general obtained funding for the project, which converted Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center into a full-spectrum operational fitness and combatives training site.

Units can use the facility to sharpen their functional fitness skills and conduct the Army's new physical training test, Perkins said. Functional fitness is not about pumping iron to develop "mirror muscles," he said, but to treat and train soldiers like the pro athletes they are.

Function fitness uses exercises such as squats and presses to mimic movements soldiers use in their daily lives.

Soldiers can participate in fitness classes in the facility's former racquetball rooms or practice room clearing or hand-to-hand combat, Perkins said.

Kieschnick is open for classes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and there is an open mat period from 4 to 8 p.m. where anyone interested in learning more about combatives can come in and improve their skills under the supervision of trained instructors.

The facility's completion comes just in time for the 2011 Army Combatives Championship. For the first time it will take place at Fort Hood instead of Fort Benning, Ga., the "home of modern Army combatives." The event is scheduled for July 20 to 23 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center, just down the street from Kieschnick.

Teams from across the country will use Kieschnick as a training and gathering site before competing at Abrams, Perkins said. The Fort Hood team walked away with first place honors last fall at the 2010 Army Combatives Championship, and Grimsley was key in getting this year's competition at Fort Hood. Kieschnick is located at 72nd Street and Support Avenue in Building 39008.

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