By Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — We all have that amazing dream where we bust through the door and save the day through awesome Kung Fu or shooter skills, but it all boils down to having the skill and confidence in real life.
What happens after a confrontation whether in the battlefield or on the home front? Where do you turn when your mind goes dark from situations you can’t undo or see?
Members of Team Pete got the opportunity to learn some new combative skills to put in their combat and personal defense tool box with the American300 team, along with a deep reminder of resiliency.
The participants met Feb. 10 at the 21st Security Forces Squadron Training Center, the building that used to house the Exchange. The building was cool but the action heated up once the class started moving on a huge blue wrestling mat. Then the fun began.
American300, founded by Robi Powers, brought Shannon “The Cannon” Ritch, U.S. Army veteran, professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter and six time Mixed Martial Arts champion, to demonstrate a few tricks of the trade to members of Team Pete.
Powers and Ritch shared their personal triumphs with the class but also their dark struggles of war, the after affects and how they pulled through. The informal setting where they told their stories was refreshing, and Powers and Ritch seemed to hold nothing back. Their stories were relatable in some way, shape or form.
Everyone has struggled with something in their lives, and the pair offered a message of resiliency that there is always hope and there will always be someone to talk to who genuinely cares.
“It means a lot, if just one person can learn something that may save a life then it was worth any amount of time,” said Ritch. “I hope they will take some of what I taught and keep expanding and growing and trying to learn more.”
Powers and Ritch not only brought their personal experiences to the mat but also combative skills. Ritch taught several new combative techniques needed for deployment locations, home front and personal security.
The class began with hand-to-hand combative skills then worked towards using the M4 and the M9 weapons. Almost all of the techniques could be related to everyday personal defense, from simple moves to complex “if everything else fails” moves.
Questions were asked, laughs and stories were shared, even on the tough topic of personal security, how to defend yourself from someone who wants to harm you and even kill you.
“Our number one goal today was to start creating a lasting relationship based on trust and credibility,” said Powers. “Over the years to come and quarterly visits more guests like Shannon will visit the 21st SFS team members, and over time we will grow together.”
For more information on the American300 go to www.American300.org. For more information on Shannon “The Cannon” Ritch go towww.shannonritch.com.