Martial Arts Club

Emily Solomon, Staff Reporter

The Martial Arts club is a brand new club on Whitman’s campus, having begun just last year. The club has recently been notified that they will receive official funding for next year, and with that comes hopes for more people to come and try martial arts.

Sophomore Isaiah Banta created the martial arts club last year, hoping to get more people involved with martial arts on campus.

“My favorite part of the club is that I get to bring martial arts to campus,” Banta said. “I’d been doing it for ten years before I came here, so it’s very important to me. I first got into martial arts because my Dad was into it. Now I do it for the people. There’s something really special about working out with a group of friends.

The club meets Wednesdays from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Banta plans on dedicating more time to the club, also in hopes of bringing more people into it. He also expressed hopes for more women coming to the club. He plans on putting together a “Just Women’s Night” to get more women involved in the sport.  

“I want to make sure more people know about it,” Banta said. “Right now, the only people who know about it are the ones who have a lot of experience with martial arts.”

Junior Zach Clark wants the club to continue to move forward as well.

“We hope to show that Martial Arts club is a space for everyone,” Clark said. “Whether you are wanting to get some exercise, make friends, work on self-discipline, self-defense, whatever it may be.”

First-year Matthew Dahlstrom has enjoyed being a part of the martial arts club and, like Banta, brings a lot of experience to the table.

“I’ve been doing karate since I was nine years old,” Dahlstrom commented. “It was a big part of my life growing up and sort of became a lifestyle for me.”

The club looks to expand its members to people with all different levels of martial arts experience. People with differing levels of experience, along with different forms that they are well acquainted with, will soon allow for more people to teach their styles to the club.

“I want everyone to get the opportunity to teach if they want to,” Banta described. “And then we’ll all get to learn different things.”

Banta taught self-defense for Whitman’s FACE club earlier in the year. He also contributed to the It’s on Us Week, which encourages Whitman students to stand up against sexual assault.

Banta has done most of the advertising for the club himself, and he is continuing to look for ways to advertise to more students on campus.

“I joined the martial arts club because Isaiah was advertising for it and I wanted to support his endeavor,” Clark said. “I was by no means ‘experienced’ and the club really caters to all skill levels from your very first day to several years of dedication.”

In two weeks, Banta will be on campus teaching a self-defense class to fifth grade students hosted by the YWCA.

“I love being surrounded by other people who all have different backgrounds of martial arts,” Dahlstrom said. “Whether they’ve been doing karate for 10 years or just started and want to learn to defend themselves, it’s a good place to learn.”