TARIN KOT, Afghanistan - Deployments are filled with chaotic days and long nights, so individuals at Multinational Base Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, have found a unique way to relieve stress and stay fit.
Contracted firefighters, Artrail Coley and Dominic Ah Nee, help students fight boredom by instructing high-intensity interval training and mixed Martial Arts classes.
"It is a huge impact on morale for both soldiers and civilians. Martial arts is a great stress reliever and outlet to wash away a bad day," Ah Nee said.
Personnel must be creative in how they stay physically fit; because a typical day at MNBTK varies depending on an individual's job and mission focus. Coley and Ah Nee provide military and civilians with an alternative physical fitness regime.
"Classes allow students to stay in shape while boosting their self-esteem and self worth, making students look forward to the next class, which is very important especially in a deployed environment," said Coley, who is a former Airman.
Coley and Ah Nee provide three classes a week that focus on boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Jiu Jitsu. One class is exclusively for women, and incorporates cardio kickboxing and self-defense skills.
"The women's class is suited for all fitness levels, Coley pushes the ladies to get the most out of this class," said Australian Army Capt. Melinda Salter, Combined Team Uruzgan.
According to Ah Nee, during the past two years, they've instructed hundreds of students and continue to receive feedback highlighting how these classes have changed their student's lives.
"I can't explain the feeling when a student says the knowledge that I passed on has positively helped during a negative time in their lives," said Ah Nee.
Whether it's the women's self-defense or co-ed MMA classes, these firefighters have boosted the morale of deployed individuals with their instruction and continue to do so voluntarily. They do it because they like to teach it, not because they expect anything in return.