About a dozen military veterans have locked themselves inside a caged boxing ring, in a rough part of San Diego, and they’re starting to throw punches. It’s therapeutic, they say.
"A lot of people say, ‘You guys are punching each other in the face. How is that helpful?’ " says Aaron Espinoza, a former Marine. "But it’s a respect thing, it’s mutual. I have to push him, he has to push me to get better."
Espinoza is a regular at P.O.W., which stands for Pugilistic Offensive Warrior, a mixed martial arts training session that’s free for veterans. Iraq veteran Todd Vance founded the group after his own struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
"I was in a dark place for a long time and I personally used mixed martial arts to get myself back on track," says Vance. "Once I got back on track I went to school — studying social work."
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Photo Credit: David Gilkey/NPR