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MX News Update 2024


Martial arts students kick into high gear – Tribal Tribune

“Karate Kid”. An 80s cult classic that brought the complexities of martial arts to light. Years later, within the walls of Wando, the same love for the sport continues to thrive. Senior Julian Mincey, a third degree black belt in Taekwondo and a contender at the Junior Olympics for sparring, is a testament to this statement.

“I’ve kind of been involved my whole life,” Mincey said. “I started doing Taekwondo when I was four. They came over to my Pre-K. I did a lesson with them and ever since then, I’ve just been doing it.”

Due to Mincey having done the sport for years and being an accomplished martial artist, he has also taken on the role of being an instructor at a local institution: Charleston Taekwondo. As an instructor, Mincey has not only aided his students in becoming more confident, but he has also helped himself grow in that department.

“Now, I teach martial arts. So, all that exposure has given me the ability to be able to talk to people more freely,” Mincey said.

“Martial arts builds discipline, it’s pretty regimented. So, it’s kind of just helped me become who I am.”

Unlike other sports, martial arts do not often involve a team. According to Mincey, this can prove to be a challenge.

“It’s only you. It’s a contact sport,” Mincey said. “So, you have to be okay with taking punches.”

However, Mincey believes that everyone should give martial arts a try because they may ultimately end up surprising themselves.

“I do believe everyone should try martial arts. Not only is it a good stress reliever, it’s a good way to let out all your energy,” Mincey said. “If you like competition, (it’s) definitely a good spot. If you want to do competitive things, definitely a good thing to try out. But confidence, building discipline, if you want to lose weight, martial arts will help with that.”

Yet upperclassmen are not the only ones that have realized the benefits of martial arts. Sophomore Cash McKay is not only on Wando’s varsity wrestling team, but he has recently decided to dabble in both Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing.

“I got involved in wrestling as just a sport as just for fun. And then, (in the) offseason, I started Jiu Jitsu and then kickboxing on the weekends… I started watching UFC a little bit ago and I thought that’d be a really cool career,” McKay said.

Although all three are defensive sports, McKay has noticed that there is a clear difference between them.

“Wrestling is one of the grappling sports. You are basically doing takedowns and you try and put them on their back and keep them there,” McKay said. “Jiu Jitsu is pretty much the same, it just has submissions, it has chokes, and has cranks… It’s more defensive… Kickboxing is a sport where it’s boxing with kicks involved too and it’s a striking grappling, or striking martial art.”

However, McKay is hoping that his work in the offseason on martial arts can help him when wrestling season comes back around in the winter.

“It’s going to help with movement (and) cardio. It’s going to keep me occupied, like my body flowing during offseason when I don’t have any other wrestling camps to go to,” McKay said.

Along with conditioning, martial arts has taught McKay other valuable lessons that he can use outside of the sport.

“It’s definitely taught me to be humble, to discipline, to keep going whenever you don’t think you can anymore,” McKay said.

Freshman Peyton Walters has had a similar experience with martial arts, specifically karate. Although she is no longer involved with the sport, she still recounts the impact it has had on her life even though it was overwhelming at first.

“I remember I was really nervous because obviously, I’ve never done any of it before… They separate you in age groups, but that still doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be more like advanced kids in your class,” Walters said. “So, it was kind of nerve wracking to see the higher belts.”

Ultimately, although Walters no longer participates in karate, she believes that it has had a lasting impact on her.

“Since I started when I was really young, (it) helped me to develop as a brighter and more respectful and more talkative and more confident young lady,” Walters said.