February 19th, 2016 09:38 EST
Face of Defense: Airman Realizes Wrestling Ring Dreams
Two villains jumped in the wrestling ring and started to yell at the crowd. Loud boos and insults were hurled back in response. The show was sold out, the crowd had warmed up after watching some preliminary matches, and it was time for a big, tag-team match.
Everyone was waiting for a third villain, the star of the team, to make his grand entrance. Waiting back stage the 5 foot 3 inch, 165-pound Yemen native could hear the crowd roar as the announcer called Prince Ali to the ring.
Air Force Senior Airman Majd Saif, 924th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt crew chief, has wanted to be a professional wrestler since he was a child.
"When I was 7 years old and I had just moved here from Yemen, the very first thing I saw was Hulk Hogan versus The Rock on TV and there was never going to be a doubt in my mind that I would be a professional wrestler," Saif said.
Training to be a Wrestler
It wouldn`t be long before he would take the next step toward becoming a professional wrestler.
"First, I saw a small indie show and that`s when I met my first trainer" Saif said. "I saw him there and then after the show, I spoke to him and I asked if he would train me and I expected an answer of, `No, you`re too small, go away!` He actually agreed."
At the beginning of Saif`s senior year in high school, his trainer helped him enroll into Ring Wars Carolina Wrestling, Fayetteville, North Carolina. Then he moved on for advanced training at Chikara Wrestle Factory, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"The wrestling academy is pretty much like tech school or any other academy you can join. You learn the basics first; you learn the fundamentals," Saif said. "You learn character development and ring psychology of how to react to crowds and get the crowd to react to you. Then, on your first match, you`re really put to the test to see how much you have learned at the academy."
Saif had to put his wresting career on hold to join the military and go through basic training and technical school. Upon arrival here, he had to be more focused on his military training and Air Force career. As soon as Saif felt he was in a good place in his military development, he jumped back into the ring.
"Since I was a little kid, I wanted to become a professional wrestler and to be in the military." Saif said. "If there was anyone who wants to enlist or join the military but is afraid of not being able to pursue their dreams, I`m here to tell you that it is absolutely false; you can absolutely be in the military and follow your dreams at the same time."
Saif`s pursuit of becoming a professional wrestler was made easier by full support from his leadership.
"I think involvement in organized sports within our community is a great way to show our level of involvement as a military member, as well as letting others know that we are regular folks just like everyone else with diverse interests," said Air Force Master Sgt. Andrew Huff, the 924th Fighter Group`s supply flight chief.
Saif adopts a persona during a performance that contrasts with his normal soft-spoken, bespectacled manner. His stage name is "Prince Majd Ali."
"Prince Majd Ali is a villainous character; very mean, very crude, very in-your-face style," Saif said. "It`s really interesting to be able to flip the switch and do a complete 180 going from Senior Airman Saif to Prince Majd Ali."
As the two other villains were hyping up the crowd, Saif was finishing his match preparation. He took a moment of quiet meditation in preparation for appearing in front of hundreds of people. Prince Majd Ali stepped out from back stage and walked to the ring. "It`s so much fun; it`s more than I could ever put into words what it feels like," Saif said. "Being on stage is a rush."
Photo Credit: Wikipedia