Mac n’ Cheese: Regent’s Martial Arts Club

It’s not just a food – find out the who, what, where, and why behind Regent University’s Martial Arts Club.

If you’ve ever wandered past the Student Lounge on a Monday or Thursday night, you may have seen a cluster of gym-shorted individuals punching, kicking, or grappling with one another. You probably squinted, shook your head and continued to Café Moka. But in the back of your mind remained that nagging question—what in the world was going on in there?

What is going on in there?

The answer is Mac n’ Cheese. No, not literal macaroni and cheese. Mac n’ Cheese stands for the Martial Arts Club of Regent University. Mac n’ Cheese is a club that offers martial arts lessons focusing on offensive maneuvers, defensive maneuvers, and stance work. Every week on Mondays and Thursdays from roughly 6-8 p.m., students meet in the Student Lounge for warm-ups, technique practice, and light sparring. Over the course of meetings, club members learn how to properly punch, block, kick, and react in different scenarios. The lessons incorporate a broad scale of disciplines, ranging from Boxing to Kung Fu to Mixed Martial Arts. Importantly, the club is not about fighting but about learning defense, awareness, and how to handle oneself in a dangerous situation on or off campus.

Who is behind it?

In 2013, Tre Foster and Kelvin Ellis founded the Martial Arts Club to provide a safe place for students to practice and discuss defense. While Tre and Kelvin have since graduated from Regent, they still teach and attend many of the club meetings. Currently, Junior Maddy Salyers is the president of the club. In the past, she has had experience with Police Self-Defense and Jujitsu, and she has a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo. The vice president of the club is Junior Mark Hamilton who has practiced forms of self-defense both independently of the club and as a part of the club for several years.

Why should you join?

When asked why it was important to learn martial arts, Kelvin said, “until you realize that you don’t have to walk around afraid, you don’t realize the freedom that you have.” He also described the significance of Martial Arts to followers of Christ. “We have a right as Christians and as children of God to defend. There are many examples in the Bible of people defending themselves and fighting for their beliefs. This club is a platform for you to grow closer to God, worship, and learn how to defend the temple that you have been given.”

Additionally, Maddy noted that “the most important part of martial arts is a willingness to learn” as opposed to some specific maneuver or discipline. It’s more about being open to instruction, accepting your weaknesses as well as your strengths. You must be willing to try, succeed and make mistakes along the way. Martial Arts Club is for people of all skill levels: beginners, intermediates, and advanced.

Kylie Kisamore and Kayla Reid, both new members of Martial Arts Club this year, spoke positively about the club’s influence on their college experience. Kylie remarked, “the club has helped me become more confident in myself and feel safer coming back from late classes.”

“It has made me realize strengths that I didn’t know I had,” said Kayla.

Overall, Martial Arts Club teaches you practical defense skills while allowing you to be a part of a safe, fun, and encouraging community. So maybe the next time you’re wandering past the Student Lounge on a Monday or Thursday night, step inside. It may surprise you what you learn about yourself as you learn self-defense.

Kathryn Funk is a contributor to The Daily Runner.