BY JEFF FALK
LEBANON – There is a struggle going on in our society today, a war is being waged in the world. And perhaps there is no better way to fight it than by fighting.
But this is no if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them kind of thing. This is fighting for God, and anyone who embraces Him, fights the good fight.
Open your mind, your heart, your soul and enter the world of Five Stones Fight Club, where everyone is welcome and fighting is encouraged, but where God is undefeated. It’s a place where ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’ takes on a whole new, but fresh, meaning.
For traditionalists and purists, the concept of contact, combat and violence walking hand-in-hand with Our Creator is a foreign one. But in an age where the enemy certainly pulls no punches, all is fair in love, war and eternity.
“It’s controlled aggression,” said Shane Manney, Five Stones Fight Club’s founder and lead fighter. “Self control is one of the fruits of the spirit. It’s a physical chess match. It’s a whole different thing. It doesn’t make sense to the outside world. They think that violence is bad.
“This is a place where people come for release,” continued Manney. “Anything that takes place with physical release is the result of a spiritual issue. But it can be a coaching and relationship moment. It’s 100 percent live. Life is 100 percent live.”
Located at 331 North Tenth Street in the city, Five Stones Fight Club is a club like no other, partly because it promotes fighting, partly because it promotes God and mainly because it promotes God and fighting. It bills itself as a ‘Mixed Martial Arts Sports Ministry’.
It’s main purpose is to attract people – mainly 18-35 year-old males – to God who wouldn’t be reachable by any other means.
Manney is the non-profit’s CEO, head missionary and most vocal supporter. He is also the head wrestling coach at Palmyra High School, and a former youth pastor, a former law enforcement officer and an ex-marine.
If you cared to call him the right man for the job, you would get no agruments here.
“This whole concept came out of the idea that the church is losing a lot of people, because there is no talk, no conviction,” said Manney, who learned to wrestle when he was five and who learned to box when he was ten. “Church is all about love, and there’s nothing wrong with love. But guys with warrior hearts can only go to church so many times. These guys have warrior hearts and I think God is using it. We need to pray for people, but we also have to do the work.