I have a lot for which to be thankful. I think most people do, if they pay attention. I’m sound in mind and body. I have food, shelter and a loving family. I get the chance to do what I love for a living in the greatest nation on Earth. In fact, I have too many blessings in my life to even list them all here.
So this Thanksgiving I want to share some thoughts about a time that I’m extremely grateful for: my time working with the Combatives Programs at Fort Leavenworth, KS.
I’ve been in the martial arts for about 17 years now (longer if you count wrestling in elementary school), studying several different systems and even fighting professionally in MMA for a time. But my time training with personnel at Fort Leavenworth, both as a student and an instructor, was a fantastic opportunity that had a lasting impact on my approach to training and my decision to make the full transition from coaching MMA Fighters to teaching combatives for the weapons based environment.
During that time, I trained several regional champions in MMA, prepared soldiers for deployment with combatives training, taught spouses and dependents how to defend themselves and had the chance to receive training that most civilians never see. I did all this side by side with men and women from nearly every branch of the military and from more than ten different nations.
The video below was something I made for the folks at Leavenworth after our family was re-stationed. It’s one of the last videos to bear the “Mad Science MMA” intro. A lot of familiar faces are in it, and I’m grateful to them all.
(The text from the video is printed below)
“In my time at Fort Leavenworth, I have had the opportunity to work with the Elite of our Armed Forces, from all Branches, and over Ten Allied and Friendly Nations.
I have had the great honor to teach, and to learn, about Brotherhood, Respect, and the Warrior Ethos…
That working in the dark in the dirt some mornings is what it takes not to die in the dust on others.
That Preparation is the Heart of Victory.
That Masculinity is not a Character Flaw, and that “Feminine” does not mean “Weak”.
That it’s not the Size of the Man in the Fight, but the Size of the Fight in the Man.
That Man is at his Greatest when He Strives.
About Broken Hearts and Broken Bones, about Lifted Hearts and Lifted Hands.
About giving back to those who have given so much.
To all our Warriors, from those who came before to those who will come after…
Thank You, All.”