After my deployment in Afghanistan, I had reconstructive surgery and part of the rehab included boxing and kickboxing. A year of kickboxing and two fights later, I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
My MMA coach, the man who was also my first military instructor, talked me into doing BJJ and UFC.
That’s why I left the army — it stopped giving me the freedom to fight at the same time.
When I was stationed in Townsville, it worked well. I could train and compete in local fights without having to request the time off. With the move to Brisbane, the army started rejecting my leave and the fights fell through.
However, the army and MMA go hand-in-hand.
It’s been discovered that any form of MMA practice promotes good mental health. That those who train in some form, Jiu-Jitsu, for example — even a few times a week for one hour — are in a better state, mentally.
Now, many armies have MMA gyms on base.
In combat, you are only worried about what’s happening in that moment, your only concern is about what’s happening in that hour and nothing else.
As long as I’m training, I don’t have too many issues with my PTSD. It’s when I don’t train and have time to sit around and think about a lot of things it tends to get a hold of you.
MMA gives me an escape from my own thoughts, any negative thoughts — and that’s the biggest thing I promote.
My goal was never to start a charity or anything but rather to give veterans the hope to get through it.
I want other veterans to go “holy shit man, this guy is doing it” and with that, maybe they’ll have the courage to go the shops that day. Even if it’s just push-ups in their bedroom because they’re too anxious to do anything else – I would have achieved something.
The importance of this, and to raise awareness on a platform I would have otherwise never have been able to do, makes me feel like I’m doing more than fighting on an international stage.
My job now as a correctional officer allows me to take the eight weeks off to prepare. I train year round — balancing training and 12-hour shift work, which mixes up the consistency.
I train when I can, get better when I can.
Right now, my gyms are back open and I’ve added an extra hour a few days a week to my routine ahead of UFC 221.
I feel awesome.
UFC 221 takes place at Perth Arena on Sunday, February 11. Watch Brown take on South Korean, Dong Hyun Kim in the Prelims (9am AWST / 12pm AEDT / 2pm NZDT), available in Australia via Fox Sports Australia.
*Taken from FOX Sports Australia, link to original article.
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