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March 8, 2013

Couple finds fighting helps keep marriage alive

Sgt. Jacob Mahaffey, 11th Signal Bde.
Spc. Adekunle Okusaga and Spc. Evelyn Okusaga, from Company B, 62nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, pose for a picture in front of the winner’s bracket Feb. 21 during the 2013 Fort Hood Combatives Championship at Abrams Physical Fitness Center.

Almost any marriage counselor, when consulted by couples who argue or fight on a regular basis, will share tips to help them end their battling in order to help stabilize their marriage.

That’s not the case with one couple on Fort Hood, Texas. They find that fighting on a regular basis gives them something in common and helps keep them together. While they don’t fight with each other, they share a love of combatives that gives them a special bond.

Spc. Adekunle Okusage, a native of Norfolk, Va., and his wife, Spc. Evelyn Okusaga, a native of Oklahoma City, a married couple from the 62nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, Company B, competed in the Fort Hood Combatives Tournament Feb. 20 – 23 at Fort Hood, Texas.

The tournament is a qualifier for the All Army Combatives Tournament, to be held at a later date this year.

Evelyn had misgivings about Adekunle’s preparation for the competition.

“It was tough at first when he began training [for the tournament], because the first thing that comes to mind is ‘I don’t want him to get hurt,’” said Evelyn. She added that he has made so much progress, this is the last thing she worries about.

Evelyn lost in her first match, putting her in the loser’s bracket. Competing for third place, she won her second match by points. She was defeated in the final bout, but the couple was very proud of her performance.

Adekunle won his first four matches, putting him in the finals for the 155 pound weight class. Scheduled for 10 minutes, the final round was his hardest fight yet. Although he put everything he had into the match, he came up short for first place, losing with only 12 seconds remaining in the match.

Adekule will represent the 62nd ESB, the 11th Signal Brigade and Fort Hood as he is invited to compete on the All Army Fort Hood Combatives Team, for the second straight year.

Daniel Cernero, III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs
Pfc. Lucas Greenwalt (blue), 3rd Cavalry Regiment, and Spc. Adekunle Okusaga (red), 62nd Expeditionary Battalion, fight in the tactical enclosure in the championship bout of the welterweight division during the finals of the 2013 Fort Hood Combatives Tournament Feb. 23 at Abrams Physical Fitness Center at Fort Hood, Texas. Greenwalt won the match by referee stoppage in the first round.

“It was awesome having her [Evelyn] because I always had that support factor, but it was hard to see someone hurting my spouse,” said Adekunle. “I had to keep my cool and my own composure for my fights because I was so excited for her,” he said.

Evelyn said the couple has been married a little over a year and met at their unit.

“One day I was walking and passed him [Adekunle], and he teased me and asked me why I didn’t speak to him,” she said. “We have been together ever since.”

According to Adekunle, the couple does everything together, including train for combatives.

The pair admits that although combatives can be very challenging at times due to the training and time it takes to prepare for competitive events, they will continue to support each other in both honing their sport and progressing in their Army careers.

“Fighting and training together while being married is the best of both worlds,” said Adekunle.

 




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