You have to be impressed by this young man. As a sophomore, the young athlete is already an accomplished Mixed Martial Artist holding Regional, State, National and 7 World Titles. He boxes and dominates in his weight class. He plays football for the Panthers on both JV and Varsity, and on the wrestling mat he started Varsity as a freshman. Ask why? It’s who he is.
Christian Reis is no ordinary athlete. He balances a hectic schedule. The young man not only fulfills his normal responsibilities as a teenager, attending high school and practice during the season when he competes, but he also gets into his father’s Mixed Martial Arts studio, Ace Karate, on a regular basis to train. His MMA training helps keep him in shape to compete on the gridiron and the mat. “It’s exhilarating playing with the older guys. Going from JV to Varsity you compete at a whole new level and you have to learn to adjust. Varsity is definitely more intense so you have to be ready, physically and mentally.”
Competing in Martial Arts at the early age of three helped set the proper pattern for Christian, a pattern of hard work, and commitment. With 7th Degree Black Belt and 10x World Champion, Aaron “Ace” Reis as his father in his corner, Christian knows he has complete support. He also understands that the support he receives comes with a price. The price he pays is the time in the gym showing his dedication, to always strive to be his best, in all sports, and in life.
“Being a sophomore who wrestles at the Varsity level I have to learn how to be a leader. I have to do what I can to help everyone out as much as I can.“
Christian shares a bit about his father, “My dad is my biggest mentor. He is always pushing me to become even better. He trains me to be the best athlete I can be and I am thankful for that. I’m blessed to have that much help and support.”
Wrestling at the Varsity level in the 182-weight class as a freshman, Christian exceeded his own expectations and qualified to compete at state. “I feel that I did much better than I thought I would last year. This year though I hope to place a lot higher at the State Tournament and take 1st in Region.”
Training and competing is a game of adjustments. You react and respond to the outcomes every time you compete. It’s in the adjustments that separate those that win from those that come close.
“My work ethic has completely changed this year,” says Christian. “I’m taking no time off this year. I am lifting weights a lot harder and drilling after every practice. Cardio is a big part of it too; I work on that in the morning and at night. Since we are going into wrestling season, and that ends earlier that football practice would, I will be able to get into my dads studio to train even longer to work on my wrestling and boxing.”
Appreciative of the access he has to the host of top-notch trainers who help him prepare, Christian knows he is poised to do well building up to the season. “With all the added training I have had I know that I will be able to do well this season.”
“A couple of my MMA students, Jared Carson, who coaches at Dixie, and Skyler Woods, who is a head coach from Mesquite, were both All-American Wrestlers. These were top level guys and they both want to see Christian succeed.” Aaron continues, “These guys come in here and train all the time and even though Christian wrestles for a different school they help him out sometimes when they are here. That’s what I like about these coaches; they really want to see all the kids do well. And the ability and opportunity to work with high level guys is open to him, which a lot of kids don’t get.”
“I train so hard because you can’t blame anyone else but yourself in wrestling. In other sports, if you don’t want to be responsible you can point your finger all you want, and blame other. But in wrestling it is all on you.” Christian continues, “If you get pinned, it’s your fault. You could have tried something else. You can’t point fingers at coaches or refs. You could have to practice harder and run more drills to prepare for next time. You have to work to be ready. You control the result in the match.”
Christian’s philosophy of accountability and dedication is not limited to the sports he plays. He competes and trains hard, and he works just as hard to be the best kind of person he can be. “There are several things that impress me about Christian. One if them is his dedication and [the] determination he has when he is passionate about something.” Kathy, Christian’s mother shares, “I’m also very impressed for the well mannered young man that he’s turned out to be. He is very respectful of others and his peers.“
Stepping into the leadership role can be a challenge for almost anyone, yet as a sophomore Christian has the opportunity to grow into that role. “Being a sophomore who wrestles at the Varsity level, I have to learn how to be a leader. I have to do what I can to help everyone out as much as I can. A real leader looks for ways he [or she] can help those around him. I couldn’t be a leader if I just left the younger guys alone or if I ignored the older guys because I’m a sophomore.”
Christian, along with his trainers, has a solid set of motivators and mentors. “My dad always motivates me to keep working, to keep striving to do as much as I can. He tells me all the time ‘I love you son, keep doing what you do. Don’t ever put yourself down, just keep believing in yourself.’ That plays a big role for me because that is what I think of every day. I really look up to him.” Sharing further his feelings as a son for his mother, Christian says, “My dad is with me a lot for sports becausehe helps train me, but my mom, she has always been there to support me. She’s probably been my number one fan, ever since I was little doing Karate. That smile on her face every time I win, that keeps me going too.” During the summer Christian was involved with a Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, along with his trainers over at Phenom Athletes in St George. Taking time to be a big brother to children in the community who don’t have siblings was something that Christian really enjoyed. “It felt good to be able to hang out with them all day and do activities with them. We played basketball, some rock climbing and played air hokey, just all kinds of fun stuff. I was glad that Isaac Katoa from Phenom put that together for us. When we got there and saw all the big smiles on the kids faces, it was really cool.
“This year though I hope to place a lot higher at the State Tournament and take 1st in Region.”