New Jersey Grand Master leads Airmen in PT alternative

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andrea Williamson
  • 108th Wing

Though professionally known as, Staff Sgt. David E. Correa, a network systems operator of the 140th Cyber Operations Squadron, he is both Airman and Grand Master. As a 7th degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, a black belt in Hapkido and Judo, and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Correa now shares his expertise and passion for martial arts with the 108th Wing.

Christened, “War-Out”—a fierce play on the term “workout”—Correa leads a structured group session that serves as a free alternative to traditional physical training, every Saturday of uniformed training assemblies, from 3:45pm to 4:30pm, at The McGuire Fitness Center. All 108th Airmen are welcome!

“My goal is to give them a good workout--for 45 minutes,” said Correa. “It will be an intermediate level guided training, that’s not too advance, but not too basic. No sparing, contact, or grappling. Instead, I will teach technique.”

Correa, a Paterson, N.J., native, who has spent over 30 years in boxing and martial arts, credits his physical strength and mental resilience to the art form. 

“It kept me out of the streets,” Correa said with assurance. “My friends got caught up with drugs and crime, and ended up in bad places. Along with my [parents], who always wanted me to [get an education], my dedication to the discipline has taught me a mindset that I’ve carried with me throughout my life.”

Joining the Air National Guard in 2015, Correa decided it was time to close the doors to the gym where he mentored so many through the years and grew as a fighter, earning over 500 trophies during his career. While he opted for a new passion in cyber—afforded through the benefits of the New Jersey Air National Guard—his identity and principles as a martial artist made him an ideal fit for military service. 

The five “tenets” of Taekwondo are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and to possess an indomitable spirit, or strong will, said Correa. These traits overlap with the core values of the Air Force, so the transition was seamless, Correa states with gratitude. “I love the Air Force.” 

As a result, he is determined to give back. “It’s a dream to share what I know with the [Guard],” said Correa.

In addition, “War-Out” sessions can offer practice in self-defense. “There is a run, hide,…and also...fight response [that a person often defers to],” Correa said. “I want to prepare [those who want to learn] for that moment.”

With one session, under his belt, Correa has already garnered the support of the 108th Safety Office and fellow Airmen.

“I had to support Staff Sgt. Correa stepping up in a leadership role,” said Maj. Robert Gatlin, assistant director of operations, 140th COS, and “War-Out” participant. “I like how he is giving back, creating comradery outside the office, and bringing in his civilian skills. I will be back.”

Senior Airman Rafael Sanchez, 140th COS, notes, “It was a great workout. I usually do basic weight lifting for PT, but I figured I’d try this today…and I will definitely be back.”

Correa confirms, “It’s okay to miss a class.” 

He hopes that word spreads throughout the Wing and whenever a service member is available to join, Correa encourages those to “give it your all.”