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  • Writer's pictureGrace Dabir

Opinion: Why Martial Arts should be considered an NCAA sport

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

Being a competitive martial artist, I've always wondered why my sport was not being represented at the collegiate level. While I would love to be a recruited athlete, in today's day and age, it's just not a viable option for me. But why? Why are martial artists stripped of this opportunity? Is it because of lack of involvement at a high level? Is it because of lack of information? The data would prove otherwise. In the US alone, about 36 million people participate in some form of mixed martial arts, or martial arts. For comparison, USA fencing only has about 16,000 active members, yet it is a NCAA sport. 36 million to 16,000 is a staggering difference. For the active martial artists in the world, like myself, so put in so much time, energy, and commitment to their sport, this simply does not seem fair. With that being said, Taekwondo, and martial arts is one of the biggest sports on the club circuit of colleges with clubs at almost every Ivy League institution, UC's, Stanford, and multiple schools schools across the nation. Most of these competitors have even been selected for Team USA Taekwondo to compete in the Olympics. For a sport that has major national, and international involvement, it only seems fair that colleges recognize this high level of performance in their recruitment processes for admission.

Martial artists not only exhibit high levels of performance capability, but are just as valid of a sport as any other. Sparring for example requires so much endurance, agility, and flexibility to be able to win a match. Being able, and learning to take a hit, also requires core strength and mental resilience. Although I may have my own personal biases, being a martial artist requires just as much, if not more physical strength and mental awareness as any other sport. This is why I believe that the NCAA should begin recognizing it, instead of completely overlooking this beautiful, complex, and challenging sport.


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