CANADA, April 06, 2015
This April 2015, martial arts students across Canada are breaking boards to help end modern-day slavery.
Founder of Martial Arts for Justice, Master Dean Siminoff first heard about IJM’s work in 2013 and resonated with the mission. He felt a deep-seated desire to help protect the poor from everyday violence saying, "There are children and adults, no different than our families except they live where there is no justice enforcement for them.”
From this thought, Breaking Boards Breaking Chains (BBBC) was born. In 2013, students at Master Dean’s taekwondo school collected pledges for every board broken. Supporters responded to the vision, and Master Dean said that the event "was such a success that I had a hard time supplying enough boards.” The school raised $11,000 for IJM.
Master Dean commented that this event was also a practical way his students could stand behind their oaths as martial artists, an oath which includes being a champion of justice.
"Most martial artists call themselves to be champions of freedom and justice and to stick up for those who can’t defend themselves. Supporting IJM’s work fits right in with that.” -Master Dean
Martial Arts for Justice has continued to expand since its first event. In 2014, six martial arts schools organized their own BBBC events and raised $16,000. They were one of the many fundraising events that helped IJM rescue 4,376 people from violence and oppression in 2014.
The 2015 BBBC events start this month of April, and martial arts students are excited to support IJM’s work and secure pledges for the boards they will break.
In addition to raising funds, BBBC is raising much-needed awareness that slavery still exists. "It’s a bit of an education process,” said Master Dean, "A lot of people aren’t aware that [slavery] is going on still.”
Next year Master Dean plans to expand the campaign into the United States, broadening to the vast network of martial arts schools around the world. With the participation of other schools, he believes the martial arts community could make a huge impact by launching the campaign globally.
"All people, but especially us who call ourselves martial artists have an even greater responsibility to stop violence against the innocent. We just need to get started and quit standing around.”
Support the national Break-a-thon at martialartsforjustice.org.