AS they stand on the mat, feet firmly planted apart, they stare at one another with a mixture of caution and respect.
“Choking or no choking?” the smallest one of the two asks his opponent without any fear in his voice. “Cho-king,” he responded without a moment’s hesitation.
After a few moments of grappling, the smallest opponent gets the advantage and applies a front chokehold - he taps out.
The boys shake hands before walking away.
Welcome to Raptors Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Jeffreys Bay - the school that teaches people of all ages the art of self-defence and the discipline of fighting. Raptors MMA opened its door on August 15, a long-time dream coming true for MMA Instructor Buks Coetzee and his son, Marco. It is their goal to share their passion for mixed martial arts with others.
According to Buks, his son challenged him eight years ago to join him at his martial arts classes. “After my first class I realised that it is something I really wanted to do.”
That was the beginning of greater things for this father-and-son duo.
Apart from kick boxing, karate and weapon training for the more skilled students, they also offer Jiu Jitsu.
“I think it is a fun sport,” says Buks. “You can roll around and win, lose and learn.
“Jiu Jitsu focuses on throws, take-downs and grappling. It is less dangerous than many other sports.”
Then there is also the power breaking - a.k.a. the breaking of tiles.
According to Buks, the intent is not to teach students to be violent, the goal is to teach them “self-control, self-confidence, self-esteem and discipline.”
Buks says, “I look at fighting as an art of finding yourself. It is the most natural display of your personality and emotion.”
Respect is a golden rule at Raptors MMA. More advanced fighters, such as the world and double world champions training at Raptors, share their knowledge with the newer students.
Students from Raptors excelled at the recent EP Classics. They will compete at the Destiny Championships in Stellenbosch in October and those qualifying, will advance to the SA Championships. Those qualifying, can be included in SA national team to compete in Orlando, Florida..
Raptors MMA, situated at the Jeffreys Bay Comprehensive High School, offers classes for all ages and members of the community and combines various strength, fitness, flexibility, and self-defence techniques to accommodate the different needs of each student.