Fighters, big and small, from all over Southern California’s military installations joined together in the 5th annual U.S. Military Pankration Championships at the 52-area fitness center here May 18.
Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines displayed their hard work and sweat during this heart pounding tournament that tested their endurance, training and technical skills.
The way the mixed martial arts style pankration is set up allows amateur and intermediate fighters a chance to hone their skills with a lower chance of injury.
“It’s a style of MMA, that you can fight in a tournament and then go to work the next day,” John Frank, the president of the U.S. Fight League, said about the pankration, “It’s a unique set of rules we’ve developed within the scoring, where you can’t win by punishment, you can’t win by brutality.”
Frank goes on to explain that pankration is designed on a point system with specific rules that make it a much more technical sport by eliminating the chances of having two competitors just trying to win with their strength by beating one another up.
“It’s a good outlet, everybody had fun and nobody got hurt. It’s a good time,” said Cpl. Chris Galliher, a postal clerk at Headquarters and Support Battalion here and champion in the 285 pound pankration championships weight class, “I like the camaraderie, all the guys are really good in nature.”
The fighters say they love the sport and the camaraderie that completes their fighting culture, and pankration allows them to fine tune their techniques and skills with each other in a fun environment.
“My favorite part is just going out and having fun, grappling against other people, win, lose or draw,” said Sgt. Christopher Llanes, a radio operator from 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment and the 205 pound weight class champion in both divisions: pankration and grappling. “It’s just seeing where you’re at amongst other people. You’ll know whether you improved or what you need to improve on.”