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By Alaisha Guerra, Student Intern

Like double majoring in psychology and criminology, and being a cheerleader are not enough, add martial arts to the list. That’s right, meet Halleigh Haak, a junior from Clyde, Texas who helps train the Abilene Police Department.

It all started when Halleigh was 16. Her father, who is a sergeant, started taking martial arts classes to help his police training. Not long after, Halleigh joined him and started taking classes herself. So now, every Monday night, for the past year, Halleigh and her father have been at the Abilene Police Department teaching martial arts to officers to help with hand-to-hand combat training. “I was nervous at first. I didn’t think that they would take me serious, being a college student, and a female. But they listen and are really respectful; it doesn’t faze them at all,” Haak said.

Halleigh has trained around 10-12 officers total, and has about five regulars who are present every Monday night. Halleigh trains with her own trainer at Future Fitness Tuesday-Thursday. “I train with my trainer, and then I take what I have learned and teach the officers.” Halleigh said that most officers’ keep coming to stay fit and because, “it is a good workout.”

To Halleigh, the best thing about martial arts is, “having the skill set to defend yourself,” and the hardest thing is the time dedication. “The time dedication is around 3 hours per day, if you are serious.”

Halleigh has long been interested and participating in martial arts training, but she looks to start cage fighting next year. “I had knee surgery in May, so I’ve had to take some time off. The plan is to start cage fighting in April of next year.”

Martial arts is definitely in the future for Halleigh. She plans to attend graduate school at the University of North Texas, and then she plans to join the FBI. Going into the FBI, “martial arts is a good background for the field.”

Recently, Halleigh was hospitalized, so currently training is very restrictive- no running, no jumping, no contact with abs. “I’m out for two weeks because of my surgery, then I can start back with boxing and muay thai.”

Halleigh said that she really enjoys the sport, “for me it’s really fun! It’s a stress release to get out there, to see what your body can do. I enjoy watching it and for me it’s the best way to stay in shape that I don’t get bored with.” She also said, “Surprisingly, martial arts is mostly injury free!”