The coach walked to the blue and red mat, signaling that practice was about to begin. He waited patiently for the fighters to gather around him. Once silence reigned, he clarified one thing. No punches were to be fired over 20 miles per hour.
After the fighters left the circle, they paired up and started fighting. Punches were thrown and fighters were pulled to the ground by their partners. It sounded rough, but even so, if you paid attention, you could definitely hear the light-hearted jokes thrown around the room.
Trainer Dave Rine kept these fighters in check until fight night. When that night came, the punches had to be fired at over 20 miles an hour.
I will soon be 65 years old. At the time, in 1977-1978, I was doing kickboxing because that was the big thing at the time”
Rine may not have been born in Liberal, but he’s lived here since he was four years old. When the time came to choose a college, he went to the area and chose to attend Seward County Community College. In its day, SCCC was called Vo-Tech.
“I’m going to be 65 soon. At the time, in 1977-78, I was doing kickboxing because that was the big thing at the time.
Using his background in the field, Rine opened his own facility named Rine’s American Freestyle Karate sometime after college. His establishment was dedicated to teaching people how to fight in different styles.
Soon after, he started hosting the Throwdown Showdown, an event that’s only been around for about 12 years.
The event featured different types of fighters. Some of them had been training under Rine until nightfall to fight.
If you know nothing about this type of fight and are seeing it for the very first time, your immediate thought might be that the fighters look like they are hugging each other angrily like children being forced to hug each other after an argument. . For the experienced, however, MMA is something much more. It is a sport.
“Mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world,” says Rine, “It’s a sport and it’s a good sport for almost anyone.”
According to Exercise Right, MMA not only improves your health, but also improves your endurance and confidence. Leaving some to believe it’s more than a sport, it’s a way of life.
MMA fighting is a lifestyle”
— Alexis Garcia
Born and raised a Liberal, Alexis Garcia started wrestling at the age of five and has been fighting professionally for 10 years.
“MMA fighting is a lifestyle,” says Garcia, “Dave is a great trainer who teaches us new things and always makes sure we’re in top condition.”
Mike Rine, Dave’s brother, was one of the judges who judged the fighters at the event of the year. Before becoming a judge, he was an arbitrator. He found there was an interesting difference between judging and arbitrating.
“I refereed the first fights that we did as a liberal. We actually did it in a boxing ring, not in a cage,” Mike explains, “As the judge I could actually see more of what was going on than when I was the referee. I saw things differently than when I was inside the cage with the guys.
While working with his brother, Mike claimed he never had any issues. He just did what he was supposed to do and that was it.
When describing his brother’s personality, the only comment he made was, “Dave is in control, you know what I mean?”
Rine trains fighters who show up in the important event that he takes the time to organize every year twice a year. Besides that, he also teaches a class of students who are learning how to fight. Both seem to succeed anyway.