Here in the South we enjoy a little thing called rasslin’. Sometimes there’s nothing better than watching your favorite heroes and villains body slamming each other, bouncing off the ropes or taking nose dives into the audience. If you have never been to an actual rasslin’ venue then you don’t know what you are missing.

Sure. It’s violent. But so is football or rugby or even basketball or any other sport where the human form comes into contact with another human being in the name of competition.

As in all sports professional wrestling takes dedicated training, book smarts and, of course, a certain amount of talent. But where does one go to become a professional wrestler? If you live in the Midlands then there is only one place that matters. Palmetto Wrestling Academy.

Ethan Case is a professional wrestler and founded Palmetto Wrestling Academy in 2017 with his wife Morgan.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to the wrestling community and share the knowledge I’ve learned along the way,” said Case. “I felt it was time to bring a positive change to independent wrestling training.”

As Head Trainer, Case doesn’t want future wrestlers making the same mistakes he did as a rookie to the business. He prides himself on the academy and doing the right thing by bringing other skilled trainers and professionals to the school for his students.

“Ethan knows It’s all about their training,” said Morgan. “He wants his students ready to reach the next level in the business.”

“One thing that we believe that sets us apart from other wrestling schools is that once you walk through our doors you are not just our students you are our family,” said Morgan.

Morgan is affectionately known as the ‘Team Mom’ by the students and helps to keep them motivated during practice sessions. She even refers to them as her babies as she goes back and forth between the rings shouting instructions while they are sparring or offering encouraging words as they are working out.

“We have a very strong team atmosphere, everyone rallies behind each other and they are all very encouraging to their peers,” said Ethan.

Professional wrestling is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a tough sport and if you are not properly physically trained you could be hurt.

“We work very hard to prepare our students for the inevitable,” said Ethan. “Injuries are part of this sport but with our training we can minimize that outcome.”

Ethan wants to truly make a change, and prevent future wrestlers from injuring themselves.

The school trains two classes a year with a max of 20 students per class. Each class lasts from 10 to 12 months and Case runs another program just for his graduates. The continued education also includes drop-ins from other schools or professionals looking for new ideas and training techniques.

Graduates may go on to indy wrestling where they can be recruited by shows and sign with agents. Most become independent contractors and work the wrestling circuits around the country. But part of the cool factor are the names. Jon Davis, BoJack, Moody, Chaz, Chip Day and tag teams Buff and Fluff Connection and Kingsgate.

New classes will begin May 2.

Palmetto Wrestling Academy is located at 616 Greenwood Road in West Columbia and can be reached at 706-305-5310 or [email protected]

Photo: Dr. Matt Boyeson, right, and Dr. Amanda Oldaker, middle, talk over training strategies with weight lifting coach Matt Lord during a practice/class session at Palmetto Wrestling Academy.