One Man Army

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Another TV try for ‘Gladiator’ hopeful

By Cindy Simpson


A Roane County athlete gets a chance at redemption this week in his second televised competition show.
Jeff Chapman will be on an upcoming episode of Discovery Channel’s “One Man Army,” a competition show with elite military, athletes and law-enforcement officials.
The show is hosted by Mykel Hawke, a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and former Green Beret.
It airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3. On Comcast in Roane County, the show will be available on Channel 17.
The winner of each episode gets the “One Man Army” title and $10,000.
It’s the second chance for America to see the Roane Countian put his physical strength and skill to the test.
Chapman first appeared three years ago on a remake of “American Gladiators,” losing a close match up with another athlete in the highly physical series.
Chapman said “One Man Army” was a challenging experience that left contestants battered and bruised.
“There is a great deal of danger involved with it,” he said. “One guy (on another episode) had to go to the hospital for hypothermia. Some of the guys on our episode got really really cut up from barbed wire and some of the other sharp objects,” he added.
A recent promotional spot shows Chapman worrying that his eyebrows were burned off from a close encounter with a flame thrower. (Thankfully, they were intact.)
Chapman said the trials are designed to gauge a contestant’s speed, strength and intelligence.
Moving through a maze backward on hands and feet is the speed portion of the event.
“The three fastest guys move on to the next round,” Chapman said.
There is also a sort of three-person tug-of-war and a strategy challenge in which contestants have to figure out how to reach the key to their jail cell.
Chapman’s rival competitors included a professional cage fighter who is also a Hollywood stunt man; an Army Ranger who goes to Thailand to compete semi-professionally in a form of kickboxing called Muay Thai; and a Miami firefighter who is the U.S.’s only Level 7 combat Krav Maga, the hand-to-hand combat used by Israeli forces.
“The main people they were looking for was ex-military,” Chapman  said. “They then started looking for elite law enforcement, like SWAT, firefighters, stuff like that.”
From there, they considered mixed martial arts experience and other athletic skills.
“Basically everyone was chosen kind of randomly to compete against one another,” he added.
Chapman believes his mixed martial arts background may have been what helped him get on the show.
And his “American Gladiators” experience gave him another edge.
“I think one advantage I had was I could tell when the camera was on everyone else stayed really nervous,” he said. “I just kind of stayed really relaxed. I didn’t take myself too seriously this time.”
Chapman was shown some of the Krav Maga moves during a break. He said he’s glad taking on his competitors hand to hand was not part of the contest.
“He’s good,” he marveled about the Miami firefighter. “I would not want to get into a fight with these guys.”
Chapman feels a little divine intervention may have gotten him on the show. He began making a bucket list and thought getting on television twice would be a good goal to include.
He tried first for a show geared toward science — he’s a radiation consultant — and while he wasn’t a fit for that show, the person who interviewed him was intrigued enough to ask if they could hold on to his information as a potential cast member of other shows.
He learned last December about “One Man Army,” a series he’d never heard of before his involvement.
“It was called ‘Assailant’ and later changed to One Man Army,” said Chapman. “This is the first season this show has been on.”
Chapman said he’s heard rumors that winners from past episodes will be pitted against one another if the show is picked up for an additional season. Those winner vs. winner shows would determine the ultimate one man army.
“Gladiators” was a lot of fun for Chapman, but  the disappointing loss changed his workout.
Since getting stuck on the treadmill in the final round, Chapman has focused his energies more on endurance and cardiovascular training.
“I’ve done four marathons since then,” he said. “Every distance from a mile to a marathon. The last three marathons I’ve done have been fast enough to qualify for Boston.”
Chapman has also kept in touch with some of his fellow “American Gladiators” contestants.
“I liked the guy that won the whole thing, Evan Dollard,” he said. “I stay in touch with him on Facebook.”
Dollard has since competed in “American Ninja Warrior” and will be on the Japanese version of the show.
Chapman said his favorite “Gladiator” was Wolf.
“He was just flat-out crazy,” he said. “He’d be cool and fun to talk to off camera. Once cameras were turned on, he turned into a maniac.”