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    Canadian MMA group fights for KAF service members

    Canadian MMA group fights for KAF service members

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Jessica Lockoski | Task Force Kandahar’s Canadian Maj. Martin Gagne, left, and Lt. (Navy) Steve Job,...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Airman Jessica Lockoski 

    16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – Fighters from the Canada-based mixed martial arts league Wreck MMA, hosted a five-match exhibition for service members, Mar. 9.

    Mixed martial arts, a full-contact fighting sport which samples from martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Muay Thai, has grown in international popularity and found a dedicated fan base among military members.

    “It’s only natural for the military to want to be associated with mixed martial arts,” said Bojan Kladnjakovic, Wreck MMA fighter. “Combatives training with MMA is really compatible with what the military does.”

    Techniques from MMA have been incorporated into hand-to-hand combatives programs commonly taught among coalition military forces. These programs instruct servicemembers how to fight in unarmed, close-combat situations.

    “The organization has held several shows in support of our forces,” said Nick Castiglia, the organization’s president. “That doesn’t just mean Canadian Forces – it’s for all the forces. We had such a great turn out last [October] of about 3,000 people.”

    In addition to the professional league’s support for the Canadian and coalition military, he added that this visit to Afghanistan increased his pride for his country and understanding of the military’s operations here.

    “To see the troops enjoying themselves, not thinking about where they are, or what’s going on in the background, is my goal,” Castiglia said. “When I see them enjoying the fight, yelling and cheering for the fighters, I have achieved that goal.”

    Kladnjakovic, who also fought in a match for the troops in 2010, said he signed up right away for another opportunity to return to KAF. Although he would rather dodge punches and head kicks than bullets, Kladnjakovic said jokingly, he felt privileged and honored to come back.

    “There is not a better crowd you can want to fight for,” he added. “It’s a more intense experience. You are standing in the ring, and there are F-16 jets and Black Hawk helicopters taking off.”

    Mixed martial arts is not without inherent physical risks. Common injuries include broken bones and dislocated joints, but Kladnjakovic offered some pointers for soldiers interesting in taking up MMA.

    Fighters face countless types injuries during training, depending on their trainers and other fighters to build up their skills, Kladnjakovic said.

    “You want to find a good camp and a good training center to teach you because it’s not just about training hard, it’s about training smart,” he said.



    Date Taken: 03.09.2011
    Date Posted: 03.10.2011 07:26
    Story ID: 66775

    Web Views: 302
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