It doesn’t matter what sport Noah Pittenger is in. The former UA football running back approaches each one with the same mentality. NOAH: Sports, as a whole, is just a way of showing what someone’s really made of. So what is Pittenger made of? He spent most of his life avoiding being tackled, but now, he’s embracing it. Since becoming a mixed martial arts fighter in jiu jitsu five months ago, he’s had to adjust to a different kind of physicality. NOAH: New guys will come in and they’ll get their butt kicked by a dude that’s 40lbs less than them. NOAH: And so that’s frustrating starting off, sometimes that turns people away. NOAH: I took it more as of a challenge and wanting to get better. For Pittenger, the change of sport hasn’t come without new challenges along the way. He says one of the biggest obstacles he’s had to face is learning one new value: patience. NOAH: You gotta wait for moves to open up. NOAH: Sometimes, you learn to push the pace and sometimes you learn to sit back and relax, and I think that’s what’s really interesting about this sport. Pittenger will also have to be patient when it comes to something else: his mom. He says the idea of him pursuing mixed martial arts isn’t something she’s on board with right now. NOAH: My mom does not like me doing this. NOAH: She always gets mad about– I already got a little cauliflower ear forming right here. Even in such a short time, the sophomore physio major has already competed in his first grappling event. Pittenger took home first place in his weight class of 177lbs and third in the absolute division, where there’s no weight restrictions. He hopes this is a springboard to a possible new career after school. NOAH: I just started off, so I’m still a white belt, NOAH: but this something I see myself doing way on into the future as I get older. Reporting for the Arizona Daily Wildcat from 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, I’m Alec White.