ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. –
Lt. Col. Peter Caragher, Deputy G-3, 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command, is a devoted practitioner of the ‘gentle art’ of Brazilian Jujitsu. And he is good at it too. He currently holds a brown belt with sights on receiving his black belt.
In 2012, he finished in first place at the American Nationals competing in the 154 pound category. The next year he won the Pan American championship in Long Beach, California and in 2014 he won the Master’s World jujitsu Championship.
“For the competition, I was training two or three times a day, eating green foods and drinking a lot of water,” said Caragher.
Caragher credits Brazilian Jujitsu, which originated in Japan, with helping him stay in shape for his job as an Active Guard/Reserve Officer.
“I come from a wrestling background, playing hockey and playing football. I thought I would like to try mixed martial arts,” Caragher said.
“In regular wrestling you get pinned. In Brazilian Jujitsu you make people tap out or submit and you can grab your opponents’ gi (martial arts uniform) and try to choke them. I think it’s benefitted me. It keeps me flexible. It provides good cardio,” said Caragher.
In his service as an Army Reserve Soldier, he was recently awarded the Army physical fitness badge which requires a combined score of 270 points with at least 90 points in each of the three Army Physical Fitness Test categories. The APFT tests a Soldier’s ability to do as many push-ups and sit-ups as they can in two minutes followed by a timed two mile run.
“Some people train to the APFT (Instead of focusing on the APFT events). I practice a new move during a jujitsu workout for 45 minutes. During the last 30 minutes of class, you practice what you learned. You have to think on your feet. Jujitsu helps your problem-solving ability,” said Caragher.
Caragher became interested in Brazilian Jujitsu when he moved to California from Alabama on his second AGR tour. When he left California in 2007 and moved to Fort Hood, Texas he located a Mixed Martial Arts training facility.
“In 2008, I was selected to go to the resident Intermediate Level Education (ILE) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. I started training in mixed martial arts at a studio in Kansas City,” said Caragher. “About a month before I graduated I came up to Chicago with a team from Kansas City. I competed and won as an expert in the open weight category.”
He won a samurai sword and ‘caught’ the competition fever.
Caragher practices three or four times a week between 60 and 90 minutes. He also participates in cross-training including swimming, biking, running and ice hockey.
“I would encourage everyone to try it because it’s divided by age, weight and belt. Jujitsu is for everyone. You don’t have to be a big hulk to do it,” he said.
The Schiller Park, Illinois native attended East Leyden High School in Franklin Park. He joined the Army in 1985 and graduated from the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) at Northern Illinois University. Caragher joined the AGR program in 2002. He served on a combat tour in Iraq from May 2006 until August 2007 for which he was awarded the meritorious service medal.