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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Newly-formed kickboxing club trains up beginners for self-defense, discipline

Cameryn Davis

Despite being formed less than a month ago, the Wichita State kickboxing club is off to a strong start. About a dozen people congregated in the Heskett Center this week to learn the basics of a martial art that teaches self-defense and discipline.

Founder of the club, senior Michael Sonexarth, said his uncle was a kickboxing champion in Thailand. Sonexarth took up the sport when he was around 5-years-old. He stopped a few years later but picked it back up late in high school.

“I was doing it for about a couple of months at the YMCA,” Sonexarth said. “Sometimes, I would come here to practice with some friends, and I realized that I loved the sport, and I wanted to show it to other people.”

Shay Hattle, a friend of Sonexarth, said the idea of forming the club came after their group struggled to find places to spar on campus.

“We would go to the Heskett Center and just try to find random rooms that were open and spar on the bare floor,” Hattle said. “Eventually, we got to a point of people would interrupt our fights because they have rooms reserved, and we had to get kicked out and go upstairs. So eventually, Michael started putting his foot forward and being like, ‘Alright, I’m just going to make a kickboxing club.’”

Sonexarth placed numerous posters around campus to advertise the new club. He said he wasn’t expecting as high a turnout for the first few meetings.

“I was kind of worried, (like) maybe I’m putting all this effort and maybe it’s not going to show as much as I thought it would,” Sonexarth said. “But I’m actually pleasantly surprised at the amount of turnout we’re getting and it makes me happy to show the sport to more people.”

Beginners don’t start fighting on their first day. Instead, Sonexarth taught the basics of how to throw basic punches, move your feet and stay balanced.

“The biggest thing I want to teach them is to find their own sense of balance,” Sonexarth said. “Yeah, you can teach someone how to throw a punch or a kick, but for every single person, it’s going to be slightly different because every single person’s body type is unique.”

Freshman Muhammed Ghais Saleem had never tried kickboxing before attending his first meeting on Monday, Sept. 25. He said Sonexarth’s lesson has given him a more technical understanding of what happens during fights.

“In boxing, you hear jab, you hear hook, you hear uppercut, you hear cross, everything,” Dhaissaleem said. “But over here … Michael taught us a bit more into it, so I got a clear visual. So next time I watched boxing or anything, I would understand what the coach is saying.”

Hattle said another benefit of kickboxing is learning skills to defend yourself in a physical confrontation. He pointed out that compared to other forms of fighting like boxing and karate, kickboxing has a more practical application.

“It never made sense to me, for boxing, if you were in a fight, you’re only going to use your fists when you have these big old leg cannons on you,” Hattle said.

Sonexarth said that while becoming proficient at kickboxing requires a lot of dedication, the journey has improved his mental discipline.

“I learned a lot through kickboxing such as, you’re never going get what you want overnight,” Sonexarth said. “You’re going to have to work hard for it. You’re never going to pick something up and be immediately good at it, and if you are, you’re not going to be better than someone who trains more than you.”

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About the Contributors
Jacob Unruh
Jacob Unruh, Assistant Sports Editor
Jacob Unruh is the assistant sports editor for The Sunflower. He is a junior at Wichita State, majoring in journalism and minoring in political science. This is Unruh's first year on staff. He goes by he/him pronouns.
Cameryn Davis
Cameryn Davis, Illustrator/Designer
Cameryn Davis is an illustrator and designer for The Sunflower. She is a freshman at Wichita State University majoring in secondary English education and hopes to become TESOL certified. Davis plans to eventually teach the English language in Brazil. She uses she/her pronouns.

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