SCCC alumni trains fighters


Salina Byrd

Mixed Martial Arts trainer Dave Rine teaches people how to fight in different styles in his own establishment named Rine’s American Freestyle Karate. Rine also organized an event called the Throwdown Showdown, and it has been around for about twelve years.

The trainer made his way to the blue and red mat, signaling that training was soon to begin. He patiently waited for the fighters to gather around him. Once silence reigned, he made one thing clear. No punches were to be pulled over 20 miles per hour.

After the fighters left the circle, they paired up and began to fight. Punches were being thrown and fighters were being pulled to the ground by their partners. It sounded rough, but even so, if you paid any attention, you could still, no doubt, hear the light-hearted jokes being tossed around the room. 

Trainer Dave Rine kept these fighters in check until fight night. When that night came, punches were expected to be pulled over 20 miles per hour. 

I am going to be 65-years-old soon. Back then in 1977-1978, I used to kickbox because that was the big thing back then

— Dave Rine

Rine may not have been born in Liberal, but he has lived here since he was four years old. When the time came to choose a college, he went local and chose to attend Seward County Community College. Back in his day, SCCC was called Vo-Tech.

“I am going to be 65-years-old soon. Back then in 1977-1978, I used to kickbox because that was the big thing back then.”

Using his experience in the field, Rine opened up his own establishment named Rine’s American Freestyle Karate sometime after college. His establishment was one dedicated to teaching people how to fight in different styles. 

Before long, he began organizing the Throwdown Showdown, an event that has only been around for about 12 years. 

The event featured different types of fighters. Some of whom had trained under Rine right up until the night to fight arrived.

If you know nothing about this type of fighting and are seeing it for the very first time, your immediate thought might be that the fighters look like they are angrily hugging each other like children being forced to hug after an argument. To 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 is a sport and it is a good sport to get into for just about anybody.” 

According to Exercise Right, MMA not only improves your health but also improves your endurance and confidence. Leading some to believe that it is more than a sport, it is a lifestyle.

MMA fighting is a lifestyle

— Alexis Garcia

Born and raised in Liberal, Alexis Garcia started wrestling when he was five years old and has been fighting professionally for 10 years. 

“MMA fighting is a lifestyle,” says Garcia, “Dave is a great coach who teaches us new things and always makes sure that we are in great 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 the referee. He found that there was an interesting difference between judging and refereeing.

“I refereed the first fights we did in Liberal. In fact, we did it in a boxing ring, not in a cage,” says Mike, “As a 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 to have never had any problems. He just did what he was supposed to do and that was that. 

When describing his brother’s personality, the only comment he gave was, “Dave is in control, you know what I mean?” 

Rine coaches fighters who appear in the important event that he takes the time to organize every year for twice a year. On top of that, he also teaches a class of students who learn how to fight. Both of which seem to be successful in any case.