Student wants to bring MMA to UNA

by Life Editor Ann Harkey

“Suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret” is the motto of UNA freshman Taylor Ware, the captain of the up-and-coming mixed martial arts team on campus.

The psychology major is trained in Krav Maga, a noncompetitive martial art and self-defense system developed in Israel that is a mix of karate, boxing, jujutsu and wrestling.

“When I was a kid, I was always interested in boxing and fighting,” Ware said. “My father is in law enforcement and started Krav Maga about one year before I did.”

An active person, Ware said she tried the martial art for the first time at Huntsville High School during the off-season for her swim team.

She fell in love with the sport and began searching for a place to practice in Florence when she moved last summer to attend UNA. However, her father wanted her to focus on school for her first semester and to discontinue practicing.

“I can’t not do sports,” she said. “I secretly began looking for a team. I missed fighting so much.”

She holds her conditioning on campus and at No Doubt Fitness Gym in Lexington.

She also developed all of her conditioning exercises and training exercises herself, to somewhat unpopular response.

The team narrowed down to a handful of people committed enough to follow her lead in training.

“You have to do things you don’t want to do — that’s how personal growth works,” she said. “If you can’t get up at 5:30 in the morning, how can you get up when someone knocks you down in the ring?”  

Her goal for training her team is to enter into an MMA competition in Tennessee in January if she feels the team is ready. She also isn’t sure if women are allowed to compete at all in the competition. However, she doesn’t want this to discourage women from training.

“I’ve got bruises on my knuckles, but my nails are painted,” she said. “I just want people to try.”  

Her team practices on campus every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 5 p.m. and at No Doubt Fitness Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 5 p.m.

For more information on how to join her team, contact her at [email protected] or call 256-975-5529.