You can hear the sounds of ringside bells and the loud smacking of gloves hitting against each other as you walk through the hangar bay of George Washington.
“I feel that MMA keeps me balanced,” said Damage Controlman 1st Class Walter Dailey. “It helps me to control my emotions on a deeper level. I have been doing this for about three years and I love it.”
Aviation Ordnance Airman Jordan Harthman, from Leon, France, a former boxer of six years, recently switched over to MMA and holds a record of 18 wins and three losses.
“I started boxing when I moved from Leon to Baltimore,” said Harthman. “I couldn’t speak any English and ended up being picked on a lot. I decided to learn how to defend myself.”
MMA is a full-contact combat sport that allows both opponents to use striking and grappling techniques such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and shoot wrestling. The most current MMA league, Ultimate Fighting Championship, was founded in 1993.
“I love MMA for the physical challenge it presents me,” said Dailey. “The competition to better yourself and become more humble in the process is unmatched.” During their practices, cardio is at the top of the chain with an emphasis on fast-twitch muscle building techniques, sparring and dodging.
“Our workouts are usually a mix of punches, kicks and then anything else we can work in,” said Dailey. “I have a fight on Dec. 31 but due to other obligations, Harthman is taking my place. We have been training very hard for this upcoming fight.”
Harthman and Dailey both participate in MMA competitions around Japan to test their limits and abilities.
“I love the camaraderie of this sport,” said Harthman. “The people you train with are your best friends and a tight knit group. I have learned to treat people the way I want to be treated because there is always someone stronger than yourself out there.”
George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.