There is a saying I have heard for a long time: “You don’t truly know a person unless you fight them or f*** them.” Now I don’t agree with this saying completely by any means; however, the underlying meaning stands true. Being intimate with a person brings you to a vulnerable spot, and however brief it may or may not be, you connect with that person. With MMA, whether it’s training or an actual bout, you gain respect for one another and your warrior spirits connect. When you are up against another person and it’s your skill versus theirs, it breeds that good competitive spirit. Even if you lose, you are given a great gift because you learn from a defeat, and it makes you strive harder to be even better than you were.
In the Army Airborne Infantry world, we use MMA to fix problems and create bonds all the time. I think of this once instance; this guy and I had beef with each other, and it was starting to annoy the rest of the squad. All I wanted to do was smack him in the head, and I’m sure he wanted to do the same, if not worse, to me. And since fighting is prohibited in the armed forces, our superiors finally got wind of our situation and threw us into the ring together under the disguise of “training.” After a few rounds of knocking each other senseless, we threw our sweaty arms in the air and gave each other a big hug. It was done. Settled.
We pit individual soldiers against each other, team against team, squad against squad, and even platoon against platoon. All sorts of games are played and you never know when you will be attacked. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to be attacked or if you are having a crappy day; the only way to make it end quickly is to fight. It trains soldiers to be on their toes, but mostly it builds cohesion within the unit and creates the brother bond between soldiers. If you have nothing in common with a person, but you fight and kick his ass, and he kicks yours, you now have kinship that was built from a warrior spirit. That my friends, is a powerful bond.