For the first time in Ashe County, young athletes will have a chance to learn about mixed martial arts (MMA) and wrestling during a summer camp coming up at Ashe County Middle School.
Coach Alex Wray’s camp will take place on June 17 and 18 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.
“I’ve never done this before, but I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time,” said Wray.
Coach Wray was a national champion wrestler at Cumberland College as well as a state champion wrestler in his high school days in Kentucky.
Wray will be assisted by several MMA and grappling experts that are taking time to come and help out with the camp.
Chris Burns is a two-time NAIA All-American and two-time national champion. Tyrone Garner was a junior college national champion wrestler and is currently a professional MMA fighter. Eric Marks is a fifth degree black belt in kung fu and James McCord is a Division 2 All-American. Finally, Jamie Pack will also be helping out at the camp. Pack is a first degree black belt in karate and a second degree black belt in jiu jitsu.
“Nobody has a lineup like this for a camp anywhere in North Carolina,” said Wray. “I’ve had coaches calling me from all over to get kids in my camp.”
The camp is designed to teach wrestling techniques as well as basic MMA and self-defense skills.
Campers will be divided up into different age groups where they will go through different training stations.
Each station will feature a new skill to learn. Stations will include takedowns, technical skills such as sprawling and how to set up pins, a striking station, submissions, ground and pound, as well as a crossfit station where campers will learn ways to improve agility, proper ways to train and maintaining a balanced diet.
Finally, the last station will be one to review and wrap up everything the kids have learned during the other sections.
Coach Wray also emphasizes that this is more than just a camp. He wants all campers to use this as a confidence builder and help discover the “champion in themselves.”
“I want the kids to learn to have respect for themselves and not be afraid of anybody,” said Coach Wray. “I feel like my camp will help them become better people.”
The cost for the camp will be $50, and this will include a camp t-shirt.
The camp is open to anyone age eight through 17 and each camper will need to bring their own lunch. Campers are also encouraged to bring snacks and water bottles.
Registration forms can be found at Magic Video in Jefferson, Good Ole Days and the Candyshack in downtown West Jefferson, as well as the Ashe County Parks and Recreation office at Family Central.
The registration deadline for camp is June 10.