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UFC fighter helps train battlefield Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
  • Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
Airmen from the Special Tactic Training Squadron participated in a special mixed martial arts training session with an Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter here June 8.

Alan Belcher, a UFC middleweight title contender, held a physical training session with STTS Airmen to provide them with some additional techniques to use in the field should they find themselves in a hand-to-hand combat situation.

"More than ever before, we're coming face-to-face, or in extremely close proximity with the enemy where we can't use our rifles and it's still too close or possibly dangerous to pull out a pistol and start shooting," said Chief Master Sgt. Mickey Wright, the STTS superintendent. "We have a contractor who comes in three times a week and teaches us a lot of ground fighting skills, a lot of take down skills, (what) we would do if we encountered the enemy.

"It's very, very important that we teach these guys the basics of being a combat controller, but also the intimacies they will encounter on the battlefield," the chief said.

The training Mr. Belcher provided was meant to do just that.

"To realize that we can use our hands when we're in close quarters or dealing with an unruly civilian who isn't really a combatant, you don't want to kill this person but you need to subdue them, here are some tools we can use to do that," said Master Sgt. John Sosa, a special operations combat weatherman and the STTS operations superintendent. "Plus, it keeps us physically fit and increases our confidence as well."

The Airmen, who are currently training to become combat controllers, gathered around Mr. Belcher as he and Danny Ruiz, a combatives instructor at STTS and professional MMA fighter, demonstrated techniques. After the demonstration, the Airmen paired up and began practicing the moves they had just been taught.

"What I taught the guys today, they may not ever have to use it, but it gives them more confidence and it's just one more tool to go in their tool box with the tools they already have," Mr. Belcher said. "I just want to give back to these guys because the military has been supportive and mixed martial arts and combat sports. I also just wanted to show my respect for (these Airmen)."

Mr. Belcher helped the Airmen refine some of their jujitsu skills, which are heavily incorporated into their combative training, and introduced them to Muay Thai martial arts, clenching and some of his specialty kicks and take downs.

Mr. Belcher said he thinks Airmen can relate to the skills mixed martial artists use, because of the intensity of the sport and the type of personality it takes for someone to serve in the military and fight for our country.

"It's seamless," said Mr. Ruiz, of the integration of the Air Force combatives training and the MMA training from Mr. Belcher. "Martial arts are not definitive and separate, and the things Alan showed them integrate into what I've shown them."

"One thing we do differently (from UFC MMA) is we're not bound to the confines of a cage or arena," said Johnny Fast, the STTS formal training superintendent and formal combat controller. "There are a lot more things that we can legally do in a time of war for safety versus him (Mr. Belcher) trying to play by the rules and be a good sport.

"These guys aren't coming out here to be MMA fighters. They're going to war," he said.