Airman uses passion for boxing to help others

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alan Ricker
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- “In the first round, I landed a good right hand, and she went down.”

Tech. Sgt. Jessica Doerner stepped into the octagon of her first professional mixed martial arts fight with little experience in ground fighting, but she had plenty of boxing background to keep her standing on her feet.

As soon as her opponent hit the ground, Doerner took the opportunity to perform a ground-and-pound to quickly put an end to the match within three minutes of the first round.

Doerner, 931st Air Refueling Wing nuclear command and control procedures instructor, began kickboxing at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in 2004. The sport helped increase her score on her physical fitness assessment and was a fun way for her to stay in shape. Her love for the sport eventually fueled her desire to compete at the amateur and, later, professional level.

She continued her training after moving to Minot AFB, North Dakota, in 2005. Because there weren’t any kickboxing competitions, she concentrated on competing in boxing instead, which has similar techniques but would not allow her to use her feet in the competition. After struggling to find matches in her weight class for boxing, she started a professional career in MMA.

Doerner explained that after six years of professional fighting the sport helped her gain self-confidence and stay in shape and she wants to use her passion to help her fellow Airmen at McConnell. She began teaching a free, no-contact boxing class at the fitness center.

“Since I took up boxing, I’ve never gotten lower than a 96 on a PT test because it’s a well-rounded way to stay in shape,” said Doerner. “It gives you muscle fitness and cardio, and it almost makes the PT test look easy. I wanted to try and share that. You can be in shape and have fun, and you don’t have to dread taking the PT test every year or every six months.”

She said wants to keep the class as close to traditional boxing training as possible, but also make it enjoyable for her students.

The no-contact boxing class includes jumping rope, shadowboxing, heavy bag workouts, mitts with boxing combinations and footwork drills. Doerner explained that she also wants to incorporate circuit-style workouts in the training.

The class is held at the Dole Center in the mixed martial arts room at 4 p.m. every Tuesday.

“I know [boxing] is something she holds close to her heart,” said Master Sgt. Douglas Clark, 22nd Air Refueling Wing command and control operations noncommissioned officer in-charge. “She has a passion for it and is competitive. She’s a fighter. She’s a fighter at work and outside of work, and if you’re willing and want to learn about fighting and boxing, then she’s the person you want to go to.”