Mixed Martial Arts Club offers chance to learn self-defense

Members bring styles and philosophies to fighting.

From Left, Carlos Sanchez, Robert Long shore and Robert Howery of MMA Club practice in the SJCC gym during spring semester.

Volark Keo

From Left, Carlos Sanchez, Robert Long shore and Robert Howery of MMA Club practice in the SJCC gym during spring semester.

David Xaviel, Times Staff

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The Mixed Martial Arts Club at San Jose City College envisions being a permanent club on campus with the bigger hope of spreading to other colleges across the country.

The creation of the club was spearheaded by general studies student Volark Keo, 37, to offer students the chance to work with enthusiasts and practitioners to, “come as you are,” and share knowledge and learn offense and defense Keo says that the club open to any one of any skill level.

“The only requirement is that you practice this art in a peaceful manner and respect every one and other’s arts,” said Keo.

Even though the instructor Don Madrasi specializes in northern praying mantis style of boxing, each member has his or her own unique style and philosophy on fighting.  Madrasi says that the legend behind the name of his style of fighting was, “a battle of life and death between a praying mantis and a cicada,” because the cicada had superior size but the praying mantis had superior moves.

Members of the SJCC club often engage in conversations about their personal styles and overall vision for the club. Keo, for instance, said he believes in the Bruce Lee-inspired, “art of fighting without fighting,” and walking away unless cornered. 

Carlos Quinones, 20, fire technology major, specializes in kickboxing believes that “there is no such thing as a bad student, only a bad teacher,” said Quinones. 

AJ Canepa, 21, kinesiology major, specializes in Shotokan karate-do and believes that, “there’s a time to fight and a time for peace, choose wisely,” said Canepa.

Mixed-martial arts are a complex hybridization of old and new styles of fighting, self-defense and combat such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu, folk wrestling and kickboxing.  It is impossible to reduce MMA to a single style of fighting, as it is constantly changing and developing.

MMA offers students a chance to learn old styles and developing new styles of fighting as well.  Kickboxing, for instance, has become increasingly popular since its inception in the 1970s and has contributed significantly to the emergence and popularity of mixed martial arts.

The club has been over since spring but anyone interested in the club or learning more about the history and legends of northern praying mantis boxing can contact Madrasi at [email protected] or 408-512-7132.