USS Boxer (LHD 4), At Sea – “Ninety percent of fights end up on the ground. The difference between a winner and a fighter is the winner knows what to do once his back touches the ground,” said Engineman 2nd Class Scott Williams as he recollected himself getting pinned during his last competitive fight inside a caged ring.
Williams, a Muay Thai instructor on the amphibious assault ship, USS Boxer (LHD 4), began fighting at the early age of 12. He spent the majority of his life practicing different martial arts including Hapkido, Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and, his favorite, Muay Thai.
When stationed at Great Lakes, Ill., as an instructor for Engineman "A” School, Williams began teaching various styles of fighting. He has trained with professional fighters such as Tiago Vega and Ben Rothwell. At one point, Williams and Rothwell taught Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu together.
After 30 years of mastering a hybrid of fighting systems, and nearly nine years in the Navy, Williams checked aboard Boxer last April. Williams searched for a way to incorporate his hobby at sea and found support from Chief Information Systems Technician Cesar Nuñez, the senior enlisted Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) representative of Boxer.
“He came to me with a passion for Muay Thai and asked if I can help him practice it onboard,” said Nuñez. “My goal for Sailors on this ship is that they have everything they need to keep them busy. So, I got him the mats he needed for the class.”
By the time June rolled around, Williams began teaching a beginner Muay Thai class open to all Sailors and Marines aboard the ship.
Williams explained his values in teaching mixed martial arts in three ways: the importance of self-discipline, physical capability and having fun.
“Teaching Sailors how to cope with stress through Muay Thai gives an outlet to their inner emotions all while working different parts of the body to keep themselves physically fit,” said Williams. “But, one of the main things, though, is to just have fun and enjoy yourself.”
In some cases, attending the class works as an alternative means to staying fit and freeing up the ship’s busy gym.
Going to the gym regularly became boring to Master at Arms 2nd Class Jinelies
Sawyer, a participant of Williams’ class.
“I normally don’t like PT’ing [physical training] very often, but this class keeps my mind focused in getting better at fighting especially as an MA [Master At Arms],” explained Sawyer. “Self-defense and keeping your body fit is really important.”
“The gym gets busy at times, so things like a fighting class or basketball in the hangar bay helps to keep it less crowded,” Nuñez added.
Williams has participated in four mixed martial arts tournaments throughout his career and ended his fighting career with a record of 6-2.
“It was my last fight, which I fought in a caged ring, and I realized there was a lot more to learn in fighting,” said Williams.
Williams continues to conduct the class onboard Boxer and welcomes anybody willing to learn his craft as he sails into deployment later this year.