GIZYCKO, Poland- Multinational soldiers from the enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Poland participated in a 2-day Mixed Martial Arts event, "Projekt Wojownik," (Project Warrior) hosted by Polish 15th Mechanized Brigade, here, Jun. 12.
Top Polish MMA instructors led various training exercises throughout the event while Allied soldiers from Croatia, Poland, U.K., and the U.S. participated. Projekt Wojownik is a monthly event, which travels throughout Poland to integrate multinational veterans through physical fitness.
"I designed Projekt Wojownik to help soldiers that returned from combat deployments," said event director, Polish Col. Szczepan Gluszczak. "This is a unique opportunity, which allows a lot of diversity with multiple countries participating-they come here not only to learn Mixed Martial Arts but also to help each other reintegrate through camaraderie."
"If anyone has struggles military or personal, we are here to listen."
During the first day of the event, soldiers attended a hands-on seminar led by Joanna Jedrzejczk, the #4 ranked in Ultimate Fighting Championship Women's Flyweight Division.
"I am very happy to share my knowledge and expertise," stated Jedrzejczk. "This physical activity is great for all nations, and it was a great event."
"I noticed the level of respect in the room and I enjoyed being apart of that-not only are we fighting for our countries but each other as well."
The classes allowed soldiers and instructors to share skills in events such as yoga, MMA, Muay Thai and Krav Maga.
"This opportunity to meet and train with other countries and champions like Joanna Jedrzejczyk was a unique and thrilling experience," said U.S. Army Sgt. Alvin Williams. "The modest atmosphere was great to be a part of with the other nations, and we were able to overcome cultural barriers, build friendships, and train together to become more efficient within ourselves."
Williams, as well as other soldiers present during Projekt Wojownik, will compete in a professional, multinational MMA/kickboxing competition, "Armia Fight Night", hosted in Poland later this year. This will be the first time soldiers will represent the U.S. for this competition.
NATO's eFP Battle Group Poland is a multinational task force comprised of soldiers from Croatia, Romania, U.S. and U.K. to allow better interoperability amongst Allies and provides a strong signal of support towards Poland.