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The Eastern Echo Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Print Archive
The Eastern Echo

Martial Arts Practitioners Club

Community in Martial Arts: Martial Arts Practitioners Club

After rejuvenating the club in 2021, the Martial Arts club is back.

The Martial Arts Practitioners Club unofficially started in 2021, but was frozen due to members graduating and post-COVID effects. However, after rejuvenating the club last spring, the MMA club is looking for more than just a seat at the sports club table, they are looking to compete with the strength of their fists and the power of their community.

Martial Arts exists in two different pools within the Eastern Michigan University community. There is the Martial Arts Practitioners Club and the Judo, Jujitsu, and Sambo Club, each offering different styles of martial arts to their members. The Martial Arts club focuses on more of a generalized practice of the sport, while the Judo club is selective to Judo, Jujitsu, and Sambo.

The club has been experiencing a rapid growth from its reestablishment. The five members that started last spring have now grown anywhere from 50 to 75. Co-operated by Jordan Boyd and Charles Blackwell, Blackwell touched on what the club is like and how it operates on a day-to-day basis.

“Typically, we’ll start at 4 p.m. We greet the people who attended that session and begin with some stretching and breathing exercises. Then, we will move into open sessions, mainly consisting of boxing and wrestling,” said Blackwell, who has been involved in the club for two years.

The physical, and some may say violent, aspects associated with the sport of mixed martial arts oftentimes give off the representation that it is a rowdy sport lacking in the mental department. The reality is that the sport is just as mentally focused as every other sport and club. Jordan Boyd spoke on how the mental aspect of the game ties into the club.

“There are two main forms of meditation that we practice in the club. The first is breathing exercises and the second is social stress relief for our members. Both work together to act as agents against nervousness and anxiety. My favorite breathing exercise is in through the nose, counting to ten, breathing out and counting to ten,” said Boyd.

“I think the main thing that separates the MMA club from other sports clubs is the originality of the club and how family-oriented the club is,” said Blackwell, when asked about the clubs sense of community.

The community that exists within the martial arts club is described as well-knit and family-like by co-owners Boyd and Blackwell. While the comments from the veteran members of the club add interesting perspective, the subject of first impressions of the clubs community and experiences thus far comes from Kendrick Epps.

“The club was welcoming and it’s a big stress reliever. It's not super intense and I like that about the club. I think one of my favorite things about the club is that you don’t have to be a student to be a part of it. It makes the club special. I think that once competition gets involved the mood of the club will become more serious, but the sense of family will remain the same,” said Epps, who found out about the club through Boyd.

Other areas that showcase the community within the club are members helping each other move and prioritizing schedules to make sure members can support each other on competition dates. Currently, the club is prioritizing making it back to competition, but they lack the proper funding necessary.

For information on donations, joining the club, or any other information regarding the club email or