By: Andrew Knauff
Publication: The Marcolian(Student Newspaper)
For some, getting in a fight is as easy as going to the Locker Room and having a couple of drinks. But for those more civilized, there is an easier way of getting hit in the face.
Enter the MMA Club, where students can learn and practice various mixed martial arts techniques from around the globe.
Though it unofficially began last year, junior education major Zach Husk helped make MMA Club an official campus organization this summer. “It was a lot of hard work. I had to write up a constitution, come up with club rules, and organize our election procedure,” Husk said.
“Last year we only had three or four members, but now we have eight or nine regulars and we often have 10-12 people show up,” he said.
Husk put in countless hours over the past nine months learning techniques, watching videos, reading books and talking with professionals, but even he is still a beginner. “There is just so much out there. Even I would get my butt kicked by someone who knows what they’re doing.”
Although the club has brought in guest teachers, the class is mostly taught by Husk and freshman Aaron Ash. Husk, with a background in wrestling, teaches most of the grappling, while Ash, who has a six-year background in Kung Fu, teaches most of the sparring. “MMA Club is a good way for me to continue what I love to do, but ironically, there is nothing more bonding than fighting,” Ash said.
“People think that it’s just us beating the crap out of each other, but it’s nothing like that. It’s very controlled and safety is our main concern,” Husk said. Even though the sparring is controlled, meaning no one puts in their full force, it doesn’t mean you don’t take a knock or two. Participants are required to sign a waiver, but Husk assures potential participants that injuries are rare.
Each class begins with stretching and a warm-up, followed by an hour of controlled sparring and striking, and then an hour of grappling, where participants learn proper body positioning, different submissions and escapes. Pairs are selected based on skill level as to not make uneven matches.
A common question asked is “why?” but there are a variety of reasons that people participate. “I do it to better myself. It develops great discipline and a strong sense of confidence when looking at how far I’ve come,” Husk said.
The club meets Tuesdays and Thursday at 10 p.m. in the DBRC and all students are welcome. “People are welcome to come and go as they please,” says Husk, “Even if you’re not comfortable participating, you’re always welcome to come and watch.”