MANHATTAN, KS — Kansas State University is the first university in America to offer a hand-to-hand military combatives program for its ROTC students. That’s the word from retired Lt. Col. Art DeGroat, former head of the K-State Army ROTC program and now director of military affairs for K-State.’This initiative by university president Jon Wefald was inspired by his desire to have the best Army and Air Force ROTC programs in the country,’ DeGroat said. ‘Dr. Wefald, as a historian, also knows of the importance of this important skill in combat.’DeGroat said K-State’s new program is centered around the expertise of David Durnil of Manhattan, whom DeGroat called ‘a world-class military combatant instructor.’Durnil is currently one of the highest ranked Army combatant experts and is educating and training soldiers, officers and ROTC cadets at K-State and Fort Riley, DeGroat said.’This is an outstanding opportunity to enable future leaders with the skills they need to close with the enemy,’ Durnil said.Currently, Army ROTC cadets nationwide receive brief, familiarization training on combatives theory, skills and practice during their junior year leadership camp.’K-State is enabling their cadets to go far beyond familiarization by providing a semester-long course that culminates in their being officially certified at the first level by the United States Army,’ Wefald said. ‘This is a very powerful developmental opportunity for these cadets that their peers across the country do not get.’In addition to life-saving skills in hand-to-hand engagements, K-State cadets in the course get advanced education of the ethical dimensions of the use of physical force as well as strategic insights on human conflict.’I believe this may prove to be the most valuable support President Wefald has given to his cadets,’ DeGroat said.Matt Larson, of Fort Benning Ga., the U.S. Army proponent officer for Army Combatives, visited K-State’s program recently to offer advice, support and praise of Wefald’s initiative, DeGroat said. Based upon Larson’s advice, K-State will expand the combatives education program to other students at K-State as well as other military and law enforcement organizations in the community.David Durnil is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Daniel ?Montanha? Nycz de Lima, Team Gracie Barra and a Level IV MAC Instructor. The foundation of the MAC Program is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For more information on MACP, see http://www.moderncombatives.org/pages/1/index.htm. Dave Durnil also operates a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Team Gracie Barra) & Mixed Martial Arts school in Manhattan, www.combativesportcenter.com.