Photo by Timothy Carroll / MTSU Sidelines
Middle Tennessee State University offers a wide and diverse range of clubs for the students on campus. From Anime Club to club sports, there is something for everyone. One such organization is the Martial Arts Club.
Founded by recent Middle Tennessee graduate and skilled Muay Thai practitioner Keerawut Minchareong, the club trains on the basics of Martial Arts, and it doesn’t matter what your skill level is at the time of joining. They offer a welcoming atmosphere for students who wish to either learn martial arts or expand on what they may already know from any previous experience.
“We do several disciplines with Muay Thai being the main practice,” said President Sara Rodriguez. “We incorporate kickboxing and have several speakers and guest instructors who can teach personal defense and Taekwondo for example.”
They work with any and all prospective members to ensure a thorough understanding of the basics before they are asked to spar. The first initial training sessions are used for conditioning purposes, as well as for teaching stretching exercises to avoid injury.
“When I first joined, they taught me in baby steps,” said club member Vernon Cooper. “I feel that I am to the point that I can show newer members a few things, and I joined the club kind of late.”
The main objective of the club is to teach its members self-discipline through rigorous martial arts training. They will work with anyone willing to put forth the effort to improve.
“When I first came here from Michigan, I had already trained in boxing and kickboxing,” said club member Donnie Bonilla. “This club helped me improve my knowledge of martial arts. It helps with confidence and focus.”
In addition to learning martial arts, club members share a unique bond. For many of them, the other members are also friends.
“A club like this provides a strong bond with people. For example, when you’re sparring and someone punches you in the face, you would normally be angry about that,” said Officer Jeff Hughes. “That bond helps you act more friendly towards that person even after something like that, and I think that’s unique.”
The club is always seeking new members to join. They have wrapped up their sessions for the current semester, however they will resume their regular schedule next semester. The class times will be Monday and Wednesday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. There is a small fee of $15 for the semester, members are required to sign a medical release form to fully participate in the classes and must provide their own gear.
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