It's not uncommon for soldiers to struggle with transitioning from military service to civilian life. The stark contrast in lifestyle can be hard for some to grasp, and a unique program in California aims to offer vets an effective outlet to cope. Known as Pugilistic Offensive Warrior Tactics (P.O.W.), the program uses mixed martial arts to help troops forge long lasting relationships with each other, which then aids in their transition to life back at home, the North County Times reports.
Post-traumatic stress disorder affects an estimated 20 percent of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, and while programs like P.O.W. may not be a cure, for some troops the intense physical activity serves as an outlet to relieve stress. The program has been especially helpful to Beaux Engelbert, who left the Marines in March after three tours in Iraq.
"I’m really here for other people more than myself at this point. I’m better than I was, and I feel like this program has helped me," he told the newspaper. "If I have something that I can train for, look forward to, and other people that I can help, that’s why I’m here."
The popularity of P.O.W. strengthens the already-burgeoning relationship between mixed martial arts and the military. In fact, active duty Army Ranger Colton Smith recently won the competition, "The Ultimate Fighter," which earned him a contract with mixed martial arts company Ultimate Fighting Championship.