By Mr. Larry D Mccaskill (ACC )January 21, 2014
Russell Parman is willing to wager blood, sweat and tears to conquer his latest challenge.
Parman, an intelligence specialist with the Army Contracting Command Intelligence and Security G-2, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., spends his evenings training to compete as a grappler.
"It's a form of mixed martial arts that doesn't use striking, so it tends to not be as exciting," said Parman, who would compete in the 180-190 pound weight division.
His journey to gymnasium grappling mats began while living in Northern Virginia where he began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
"I took a class out of curiosity and was hooked. I was only able to train for six months before we moved to Alabama," said Parman, who has been married to his wife Megan, for seven years. "After living here for a few months I got the itch to train again and found a gym locally, and have been with them since mid 2011."
The 35-year-old Parman wishes he would have gotten into this at an earlier age because by now he believes he would be a lot better and would have trained more.
"It is incredibly therapeutic and I have heard it helps a lot of veterans who rotate back from theatre," said the father of two. "It certainly helped me with any aggression issues I had after my time in Afghanistan. I have always been a gym rat and loved working out, but combat sports really require a higher level of discipline and effort. That attracts me."
According to Parman, there are a lot of similarities between grappling and Greco-Roman wrestling. Wrestlers often find training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to be enjoyable because both are combative sports.
"Where they differ is the utilization of submissions. Both use a point system to determine outcomes in the event of a draw. Otherwise the contest ends with a pin fall, if wrestling, or a submission if grappling or MMA," Parman said. "MMA is a mixture of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and stand-up fighting styles. Most find the Muay Thai-style to be a good system for MMA and most MMA fighters train in a system that draws from both of those styles."
Parman, a newly commissioned second lieutenant in the Alabama National Guard, said people use a variety of styles during grappling tournaments.
"It's my opinion that Brazilian jiu-jitsu is the dominant system for a reason. It is efficient and does not rely on brute strength but technique. That is what appeals to me. The economy of force aspect; doing the maximum amount of damage while using the least amount of energy," said Parman, who said his wife is supportive, but cautious.
Parman said he trains two or three hours a week sparring and working on techniques in a local mixed martial arts training facility. He hasn't stepped onto the open mat for an official bout yet, but Parman hopes to change that soon.
"I think I am a long way away from being ready to compete the way I would like," said the Lebanon, Tenn., native. "I'm not sure when, but I'll compete in grappling or jiu-jitsu tournaments when my schedule will allow time for training. I'm going to shoot for a competition or two this year."
Parman said he will be attending the Basic Officer Leader Course this year and once that's completed, he'll concentrate on his first bout.
Enduring minor aches and pains is the price he's willing to pay to get to the next level.
"I just enjoy competing, fitness and nontraditional training," said Parman who currently is a white belt.. "I'd like to advance to the next level belt which is a blue belt."