How students use physical activity to find a new skill.


Photo by Matt Meckle

Dalton Pankrats has one of the coaches in an arm bar. Meckle is observing for scoring

The thudding sounds on the ground, teens crying out in pain, and the opponent screaming with victory may sound like something not exactly normal until talking to the people participating in the activities, until learning about why they enjoy this hobby so much and how it betters them as humans. 

“I learn new stuff, and then you just add to it,” sophomore Crayton Nachbor said. “Other than like a few slight injuries like mat burn and severe headaches, no injuries should stop me.” 

Sophomore Cooper Stueven enjoys the things that come with mixed martial arts, such as challenges and new friends like sophomore Landen Highbarger as well as new skills.

“Landen got me into it, originally. ‘Hey, try this out it’s a lot of fun and a good way to just learn something new and try new experiences.’” Stueven said.

Highbarger has prior experience with MMA since he started at such a young age.

”Originally, my dad made me do it. This was around eight, 10 years old, so that just kind of kept going,” Highbarger said.

Stueven is aware of the injuries that could come with this competition and hopes to not have anything bad happen to him.

“Hopefully, I don’t get injured, or anything which you know, it’s probably going to happen eventually, but as I’ve loved it, and I have no reason to quit,” Stueven said.

Highbarger tells just a little bit more about what strategic techniques they are working on, and using, to perfect their own unique way of personal protection.

“We’re working on Jujitsu, but it’s just mixed martial arts. You get to do Jujitsu, and American Mixed Martial arts,” Highbarger said.