High School Combat Sports: The Main Event We Never Knew We Wanted

If there is one high school value that is held up to equal, if not, higher standards than its academics, it would be its athletics programs. High schools all over the United States pride themselves in their sports teams, treating its star athletes like celebrities. Here at Lambert High School, the entire school is filled with banners, trophies, and awards flaunting our many championship wins in regional, state, and even national titles. Of course, the offerings in high school sports consist of essentials like football, baseball, basketball, golf, and lacrosse. We also have a few out-of-the-ordinary sports like cricket and fencing. I propose that combat sports like boxing, jiu-jitsu, and MMA be among those sports and become program regulars. Not only is it beneficial from a fitness perspective, but it also strengthens the mental side of life as well.

   As someone who does MMA myself, I know that the mindset when participating in the sport is entirely different than that of a basketball or soccer player. When someone is actively trying to hit you while you have to hit them back, you need to think differently than when a teammate passes the ball or calls a timeout. However, what matters is that this is still a sport, nonetheless. Practicing and conditioning are still had, coaches still bark orders, and competitions are fought for and won. Combat sports and martial arts require a lot of physical rigor and grit. In fact, many turn to cardio kickboxing to lose weight rather than running. These sports are as good of a method to get people into shape as any other, so it is apparent that something like this can help the school. Not only does this help with fitness, but having training in kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and such fits as general self-defense. Learning how to fight can help you not get into fights.

   The word catharsis means purification of emotions. In other words, it is something that lets all of your pent-up stress, anger, and frustrations out from inside you. When participating in something like combat sports, its cathartic nature cannot be understated. If you have ever punched your pillow out of anger for someone else or have broken various things in your house in a fit of stress, then you understand what I mean. When doing kickboxing or jiu-jitsu, a sense of stress-relief does wash over you after drilling on the heavy bag or grappling with your partner. As high school students, stress is second nature. So many elements throughout a student’s life can build up anger and frustration inside. With nothing to let it out, this could be disastrous for the mentality of said students. If combat sports become added to high school athletics, everyone will be able to let go of their emotions in a safe, controlled environment.

   I do understand what people might be saying. Yes, sports like boxing and MMA can be dangerous, and injuries may occur. Yes, this kind of stuff requires a lot of planning, whether it is money for equipment to finding a coach who knows how to fight. However, making this decision will be super beneficial to everyone involved, and measures can be taken to make sure that safety is above all things. The training room could be fully padded, practice sessions could be done only with gloves and pads instead of people, and all of the proper headgear, shin guards, gloves, etc. could be provided. I would say that fighting with all the safety precautions is more fun than having none at all. Fundraisers could be had to pay for everything, and different gyms around the area can be contacted in hopes of lending a helping hand.

Lambert High School prides itself on athletics, no doubt. However, I think it would pride itself even better when combat sports make their addition to the sports roster. The exercise and physical rigor involved is challenging yet rewarding. The stress-relief that results from this does tremendous favors for our mental health. We can finally give a chance to those who want to know how to fight, all within a safe environment.