The Martial Arts Club at UC Merced may be small, but they pack a big punch – and kick and strike. The 15-member club hopes to spread interest in martial arts through community work and at the same time keep physically fit and relieve stress from academic life.
It’s like any other sport, said Merced native Chris Aberscy, the club’s president and founder. I think it might be a little bit more involved because it truly is an art.
A lifelong martial arts enthusiast, 18-year-old Aberscy, formed the club in the fall not just to practice, but to do some good for others and bridge the gap between the campus and the Merced community, he said.
So far, he and his fellow club members have been very successful. Last semester they held a Friendship Demonstration and invited the different martial arts studios in town. The event attracted more than 200 students and residents of Merced.
Everyone had fun, and it was the first time many had set foot on campus, said Aberscy.
With five martial arts studios in Merced, Aberscy knew the sport would draw a crowd. There is a lot of interest in this town, he explained. Some join martial arts for the pop culture aspect of it, but many choose it to learn discipline, respect and perseverance.
In the future, the club plans to teach self-defense classes at the local Boys and Girls Club. If all goes well, in April they will also host Asian Fest at UC Merced, complete with food, crafts and a super-show at night with dancers and a martial arts demonstration.
Jeffrey Chang, a student affairs fellow working on campus clubs and organizations, has been helping the club plan Asian Fest together. He hopes people will come out and fill up the auditorium, especially the younger generation and the large Hmong community.
It will be a good chance for people to be exposed to the school, and maybe they’ll want to come here one day, said Chang.
The club meets every Friday night and practices every Sunday morning. For more information, contact Chris Aberscy at caberscy@ucmerced .edu or Jeffrey Chang at (209) 724-4400.