Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fight Club!

A friend sent me an article from which I've posted an excerpt below. The whole article may be read here.

Fight club reawakens and channels veterans' warrior spirit

In a sweaty, loud San Diego gym, veterans train in mixed martial arts, fighting each other and the demons they brought home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

SAN DIEGO — Todd Vance — Iraq combat veteran, bar bouncer, and social-work major at a local university — is lecturing two dozen of his fellow veterans on the techniques and joys of the chokehold.

"You want the blade of your forearm on their windpipe or carotid artery," Vance says in a commanding voice. "Push your opponent into the fence.…Let's have some fun with this drill!"
It's Saturday morning in North Park, and the veterans have come to a steamy, noisy gym for Vance's mixed martial arts class. It's a fight club of sorts, for those who already have fought a war.

Vance, 31, a former Army sergeant, uses mixed martial arts to help veterans cope with post-combat problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues involving the uneasy transition back to civilian life.

His unconventional — and unofficial — approach had drawn a small, loyal following among veterans, and qualified endorsement from psychologists who work with veterans.
Jeffrey Matloff, senior psychologist and PTSD specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Diego, said that as long as veterans learn self-control and not to use their skills outside the context of sports, a martial arts approach can help restore self-confidence and focus.

"When it comes to PTSD, therapy alone doesn't have all the answers," he said.

The controlled sparring, similar to a veteran's original training, "assists wounded warriors to evoke the competitive warrior identity and spirit that may have become latent when the service member was injured," said Nancy Kim, a psychologist at the Naval Medical Center San Diego's Comprehensive Combat and Casualty Care facility, who has known patients who have attended. Patients, however, should be cleared by a doctor before participating, she said.

Once he gets his degree from Point Loma Nazarene University, Vance dreams of opening his own gym that would mix counseling and high-energy workouts. For the past two years he's been offering classes three days a week at the Undisputed boxing and martial arts gym on University Avenue.


The Strongest Karate said...

I love it. And I love the quote "When it comes to PTSD, therapy alone doesn't have all the answers".

Not everyone is comfortable with sitting on a sofa and talking through their problems and this program provides yet another resource for our fighting men and women.

I hope he starts a nation-wide chain.

Rick Matz said...

I agree!