Sgt. 1st Class David Pough, right, Fort Belvoir Master Resilience Trainer, poses with attendees of a defensive boxing class sponsored by Fort Belvoir Army Community Services at the Warrior Combatives Training Center, Oct. 25.

Fort Belvoir coach teaches the art of defensive boxing

It is a common practice, that as people celebrate the new year, they make resolutions to help in their personal and professional lives. For those on Fort Belvoir looking for an option, defensive boxing might just be that helpful resolution.  Defense boxing checks a lot of boxes: self-defense, fitness, stress relief, resilience, and confidence.

Defensive boxing might also just save your life.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 41% of women and 26% of men experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported an intimate partner violence-related impact during their lifetime. Some of the common impacts of these incidents include injury, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, concern for personal safety, fear, needing help from law enforcement, and missing at least one day of work.

Delilah Doss, left, demonstrates to students the proper form and balance when throwing a punch toward Sgt. 1st Class David Pough, Fort Belvoir Master Resilience Trainer at the Warrior Combatives Training Center, Oct. 25. The class, sponsored by Army Community Services, was one of many activities during Domestic Violence Prevention Month.

Sgt. 1st Class David Pough explained to his students at an October defensive boxing class sponsored by Army Community Services that there may be circumstances where someone who is abused needs to find a way to leave the scene. As the Master Resilience Trainer for Fort Belvoir, Pough knows how to throw – and take – a punch.

The class, which met at the Fort Belvoir Warrior Combatives Training Center, was organized by ACS’ Family Advocacy Program as part of Domestic Violence Prevention Month. Pough set the stage with the attendees and presented the basics of defensive boxing, and what to focus on at the height of confrontation.

“Someone who’s never had an altercation is nervous, scared, not breathing and not controlling their emotions,” said Pough, noting that emotional control is critical. “When a situation reaches a boiling point, a lot of people lose their emotion, and they lose control of the situation. And that's when you lose.”  

He said in that heated moment, it takes focus to do something you never otherwise think about – breathing. His assistant, Delilah Doss, stationed at Andrews Air Force Base, shows students how she takes a breath with each punch she throws, marking each breath by blasting out a sharp, distinct, “HA!”  Pough reminds them to push through the emotional pressure, try to stay loose, and remain calm.

Pough encouraged the attendees to land as hard a blow as they can while he held his punching mitts in front of them. He cautioned they should not have an expectation to fight and engage, but merely to surprise their assailant with one sharp shot, giving them just enough time to leave.

Pough worked with each student, role-playing a domestic argument that continued to escalate, until he finally shoved them across the mat.

“When it gets to this point, you need to know who is in the room and know your exit points,” Pough explained, adding that speed can add to the element of surprise. “Speed is power, so remember that the faster you deliver that punch, they won’t see it coming. That's going to shock them more than a powerful blow. It’s going to surprise them.”

Macy Loder, left, practices her boxing form during a self-defense class, with Fort Belvoir Master Resilience Trainer Sgt. 1st Class David Pough at the Fort Belvoir Warrior Combative Training Center, Oct. 25. The class, sponsored by Army Community Services, was one of many activities during Domestic Violence Prevention Month.

Macy Loder, a Coast Guard spouse who lives on Fort Belvoir, said she attended because she wanted as many options as possible if things turn unexpectedly violent.

“I heard about it through ACS, so I was interested in coming out and learning a few things,” Loder said. “I do have three small children, and the world's kind of crazy these days so I want to have something in my repertoire.”

Hiba Flayyih, director of Fort Belvoir’s Victim Advocacy Program, was on hand to let the students know there are numerous resources available on post. Victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse have round-the-clock access to services, including emergency assistance, information, referrals, and ongoing support in accessing medical, behavioral health, legal, and law enforcement services on and off the installation.

Long before relationships become contentious, there are seminars and workshops are available to individuals, units, and family support groups. Some topics to minimize any occurrence of violence include:

·        Conflict Resolution

·        Couples Communication Skills

·        Stress Management

·        Domestic Violence Prevention, and

·        Relationship Support

“For those who are battling domestic violence, if they're military-affiliated on Fort Belvoir, please remember our family advocacy program has a hotline, which is manned by our team 24 hours a day,” Flayyih said. “The hotline number is 703-229-2374. If you need us, give us a call. We will be there for you.”

Stay tuned to the Fort Belvoir ACS Facebook page for the next class.

By Paul Lara, Fort Belvoir Public Affairs Specialist