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Bible study, martial arts come together

Daniel Alexander (seventh from left) has started a monthly Bible study at Ross Martial Arts. He is shown with attendees Robbie Gray, Alli Boxhead, Jay Russell, Tristen Fitzgerald, Jacob Dill, Mackenzie Dill, Ronda Russell, Chad Wright and Nikki Smith.

Daniel Alexander brings more than his gloves and rash guard to Ross Martial Arts to practice his craft — he also comes equipped with his Bible.

While most people don’t immediately associate martial arts with Malachi or Matthew, Alexander thinks it’s an innovative way to spread the Gospel.

“I felt a calling to get more active in church, but there was really no place for me to do a lot there,” said Alexander, who is a coach at Ross. “So I began to pray to God for a way to use martial arts, which is a skill of mine, to give honor and glory to him.”

Alexander, 22, was able to combine his love for Christ and passion for martial arts by starting the class at Ross, where owners Jay and Ronda Russell offered use of the building. After the Bible study, attendees are invited to stay for an open mat session.

“You can teach anybody how to punch and kick, but this gives people a chance to not only learn some of the skills, but be complete spiritually,” Jay Russell said. “It grants people the chance to develop themselves spiritually as well as physically.”

Alexander partners with Jake Duke, a youth minister at the University of West Alabama and Ross student to led the sessions. Oftentimes, Jay Russell will assist as needed.

“At first, I didn’t see myself leading the class, and then God showed me in the Old Testament about Moses being afraid to lead,” Alexander said. “But, in that passage God told Moses he would send him help, and I find my help being Jake and Jay.”

Since the first Bible study three months ago, the class has doubled in size, drawing community members and Ross students from different Christian backgrounds.

“There are Biblical aspects that teach self-discipline, respect, pride and being humble, which are all values within martial arts,” Alexander said.

The Bible Study meeting time and date for September has not been determined, but those interested can check Ross Martial Arts Facebook page.

“This class strengthens me a lot on my Christian walk,” Alexander said. “It is my hopes that through this class…maybe one day we will lead someone to Christ …that would be amazing.”