MMA high school students joust at Pure Martial Arts during their Martial Arts class.

High school MMA class pushes the boundaries

Campbell River Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) class provides opportunities for high school students

For the second straight year Timberline’s Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) PE has been a tremendous success.

Students from Grades 9-12, boys and girls, from both Timberline and Carihi meet three times a week at Pure Martial Arts and Fitness in downtown Campbell River.

Students gain experience in a variety of combat sports including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and Freestyle Wrestling.

The course is made possible by the generosity of gym owner and head instructor Jodey Ingalls. Ingalls has donated the use of his gym, and provided the students with an instructor in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Brown belt, Spence Shaw.

Enthusiastic about the program from the early planning stages, Ingalls recognizes the benefits that come from involvement in the Martial Arts.

“I want to give students an opportunity here to experience something new, and grow both physically and emotionally,” says Ingalls, a proud Campbell River citizen who also understands the value of community involvement. “I wanted to give back to the community, and what better way than helping the youth of Campbell River be healthy and engaged in something positive.”

Shaw, the course’s primary instructor, is continually amazed at the learning that takes place every day.

“It’s unreal. In a matter of weeks these students pick up techniques and are looking great. I wish this had been around when I was in school,” Shaw says.

Ingalls added, “The course is, as far as we know, one of a kind, and is a testament to how School District 72 is willing to do what it takes to act in the best interests of children.”

Community support for the program extends beyond the gym as well.

This year, Dennis Peaman, manager of Staples, helped the class purchase lockers for the newly renovated section of the Pure Martial Arts gym by providing a significant discount, free shipping, and delivery.

Organizing teacher Paul Murphy recognizes the importance of connecting students to the community.

“It is a great experience for a number of reasons,” Murphy says. “Providing choices for students, and integrating their education into the community is enriching for the kids and businesses alike.”

Any students interested in Martial Arts for next year should sign up for MMA PE come course selection time at Carihi and Timberline in the spring.