The Starkville Sportsplex will play host to hundreds Saturday for an all-day martial arts tournament.
Frank Sanders, owner of Starkville TaeKwonDo, expects nearly 150 competitors and hundreds more friends and family in Starkville”s second annual tournament.
The competitions will vary as widely as the participants, including limited-contact point fighting, technique demonstrations, weapons demonstrations, submission grappling and full-contact kick boxing.
All-day admission will be available for $5 starting at 10 a.m. and running into the evening, with full-contact bouts beginning around 5 p.m.
Sanders expects to see several of his Starkville-based students square off against competition from Meridian, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Oxford, Tupelo and around the South.
Jae Pierce Macintosh, a junior in kinesiology at Mississippi State University, who is actually the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor at Starkville TaeKwonDo, will participate in the jiu jitsu competition. Jiu Jitsu is a form of submission wrestling that involves no strikes but can cause serious damage when used correctly.
Macintosh has been at BJJ for four years but doesn”t consider himself a veteran.
“It takes years and years to be really good at it. I may have done it for four years, but compared to other people who have been doing it longer, I”m on an intermediate level,” he said. “A purple belt in Jiu Jitsu is comparable to a black belt in any other style. I”m hoping to have a purple belt next year, but it”s so strenuous. It”s one of those sports that grinds you down.”
Macintosh has competed in much larger competitions, but the majority of Saturday”s participants will be first-timers. Still, Sanders said that won”t dilute the entertainment value.
“You”ve got point fighting, which is karate with limited contact. Then there”s full-contact fighting with teens and adults in a boxing ring. We”ll have grappling, which has no hitting but a lot of slamming. And in the weapons competition you have people from different schools around the South demonstrating swords, staffs and nunchuckas,” he said.
Although some of the sports are violent, Sanders points out that his is a Christian organization and the competition will maintain a Christian atmosphere at all times.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.
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