By Sgt. 1st Class Alexander BurnettJune 3, 2015
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Soldiers receiving training in unarmed combat generally take instruction from Army professionals who learn hand-to-hand fighting techniques as an additional skill; but the afternoon of June 2, service members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community ventured to the wild side during a unique opportunity with a mixed martial arts celebrity.
Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy, an accomplished veteran of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and native of Nottingham, England, led a mixed martial arts seminar for Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and service members from throughout the KMC June 2 on Ramstein Airbase. The "Outlaw's" instruction focused not on battling Texas Rangers but on ending an unarmed conflict quickly using specific techniques and equipment.
Hardy began the seminar with his perspective on fighting and his current involvement in the sport. He told his audience he had spent the last two years out of the "octagon," but taking the opportunity to watch and learn from other fighters.
"When I watch these fights, from the amateurs to the main events, I see the same mistakes made at each level," he said. "The more experienced fighters are just faster and more efficient at recovering from their mistake. One of the universal things I have noticed is the importance of having good footwork - keepings your feet with you is extremely important."
Hardy began the session with warm-up drills followed by instruction on fighting stance transitions and movement techniques. As his students performed these new skills, he took time to individually assess each fighter and provide feedback. Finally, he gave instruction on translating the new foot movements into strikes against an opponent.
Participants said they gleaned valuable insights from the "Outlaw."
"This instruction was great - we took the techniques he taught us from the basic level all the way to striking," said Staff Sgt. David Maybury, the 7th Civil Support Command, 21st TSC master combatives trainer and a native of Tacoma, Washington. "As a 'combatives' instructor, getting this experience from a professional fighter is extremely valuable. I can use these techniques to teach my students and make them more effective Soldiers."
After the official instruction concluded, Hardy encouraged his military students to practice grappling with each other and offered to battle anyone who dared.
"Being taught by and rolling with Dan (Hardy) was amazing," said Sgt. 1st Class Ron Foster, a military police noncommissioned officer assigned to the 21st Special Troops Battalion, 21st TSC and a native of Detroit. "The skills he taught today have direct application to the everyday mission of a military police Soldier, who sometimes have to use hand-to-hand combat."
Hardy concluded by explaining the importance of the day's lesson and how it applies to potential combat situations.
"Movement is the basis for all combat," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're wearing four-ounce gloves in the octagon or whether you've got a firearm and you're in combat - you've got to know you have your feet beneath you; you've got to know that your balanced and that you have the ability to move."
Despite his onstage persona, this "Outlaw" has a soft spot for Soldiers and Airmen supporting law and order.
"I try to come out and train with the military as often as I can," he said. "You guys are always in such good shape it's great motivation to stay in shape myself. What we (mixed martial artists) do is playing compared to you: this is a sport. When we get done we go home to our families; you guys put a lot more on the line and are risking a lot more."