KnightLife

Martial arts kicks onto campus

Mixed Martial Arts is a new program on campus provided in 'The W'. Stephen Marak (top) learns new escape moves as instructor Jerod Botts (bottom) performs one on him. —Chad Giebelstein/TRUMPET
Mixed Martial Arts is a new program on campus provided in ‘The W’. Stephen Marak (top) learns new escape moves as instructor Jerod Botts (bottom) performs one on him. —Chad Giebelstein/TRUMPET

A new program on campus is not just for athletes, but is also great for self-defense and fitness, Jerod Botts Mixed Martial Arts instructor, said.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a program with an objective to teach different techniques of the sport.

“The program has been in and out of ‘The W’ for a period of time, as there is a group of us who are actual fighters that are strong about the program,” Botts said.

The MMA program started two months ago and Botts hopes to make it a year round program offered, Botts said.

Participants will do workouts that include takedown techniques, sprawling, offensive and defensive strategies.

The striking portion of the class will include footwork drills, shadowboxing and the use of pads and mitts to work on strike combinations.

“There’s nothing like getting the fitness you need, but wrestling with a guy for five minutes, that is a work out in itself,” Botts said.

MMA is open to Wartburg students and also members of the community.

Members who do not have any knowledge of what MMA entails are highly encouraged to come and try the program out, Botts said.

“It takes all ages, shapes and sizes, as I started this eight years ago and I had no experience as I never wrestled a day in my life,” Botts said.

“Now I am making a career out of it as I am now a fighter,” Botts said.

Stephen Marak, student and MMA participant, joined the group due to his interests in wrestling, which is similar to martial arts.

“I used to wrestle in high school and knew I wasn’t good enough to be on Wartburg’s wrestling team because they’re really good, so this is the closest thing I could do to continue wrestling,” Marak said.

Even with a wrestling background, Marak said has still been able to learn a lot more with being involved in MMA.

“In wrestling a lot of things are prohibited, like locking your hands, but being able to lock your hands in MMA, there is a whole new list of things to do,” Marak said.

Not only can this be a test about fitness and learning new things, it can also be a huge stress reliever, Botts said.

Members are able to go out and participate in competition tournaments with jiu-jitsu and kick boxing, giving them an opportunity to take their learned skills outside of campus, Botts said.

Those interested in the program can register at “The W” front desk. Botts is willing to answer any questions by contacting him at jerodb68@gmail.com

Members pay a fee once a month that is $40 for community members and $20 for Wartburg students.

The class runs every Tuesday and Friday from 7:15 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. in the wrestling room located in “The W.”

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