There are few disciplines as inherently socially good as traditional martial arts. While some non-martial artists may mistakenly think of martial arts as only aggressive, the majority of martial arts value peace, respect and self-defense. With respect playing such a large role in martial arts, it’s easy to see why martial artists tend to be very socially conscious people.
In order to inspire you to do good in your community - or on a larger scale - we’re highlighting five socially conscious martial arts professionals who are positively affecting others in their own ways:
Fernando “Terere” de Silva | Terere Kid’s Project
Five-time world champion Fernando de Silva founded the Terere Kid’s Project, in 2012, to help at-risk youth living in the favelas of Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. Master Terere and two of his close friends from the Cantagalo community give free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lessons; providing a welcome safe haven where kids can go after school.
By providing a positive outlet for the youth’s time and energy, the children of the community are able to avoid the lifestyle of drugs and violence that are so common in the favelas. Positive role models, instead of bad influences and peer pressure, surround students. Fightland - Vice’s fighting arts magazine - has been following the journey of Terere, which you can read here.
Rich Grogan | Bullying Awareness at Grogan’s Academy of Martial Arts
Master Rich Grogan is an incredible example of martial arts professionals that go above and beyond the line of duty. While having a successful martial arts business in Edwardsville, Illinois, Master Rich focuses a lot of his time on bullying awareness. With the issue of bullying becoming increasingly problematic, Master Rich has created a bullying awareness and child safety initiative. Targeting schools, churches, offices, parties, and more, Master Rich has made a huge positive impact within his community, and stands as a fine role model for other martial arts professionals.
We have the pleasure of interacting with Master Rich on a regular basis and are proud to call him and client and friend.
Araje L’Bert | Championship Martial Arts
Araje L’Bert is the head instructor at Championship Martial Arts in Plainsboro, New Jersey. Araje hosts a Facebook group called the Martial Arts Business Alliance that now hosts over 3,000 members! The point of the group is to create a community for people in the martial arts industry where they can ask for advice, discuss various topics, and give wisdom. This does a wonder for the martial arts community. As martial arts grow collectively, everyone within the community will benefit. With this alliance, first-time business owners or instructors can get some amazing guidance in the journey of their martial arts business.
Araje sets a great example for others to follow; one that emphasizes harmony and helping your fellow martial artist. We are forever grateful for his support as a client and friend of ChampionsWay.
James C. Smith II | Mr. Jimmy’s White Tiger Martial Arts
There are few non-celebrities who can back up his philanthropy efforts with numbers like Master Smith. Within a year of opening up his martial arts school in Florida, Master Smith has been able to raise thousands of dollars, while providing several truckloads full of food and clothing for people in need. What’s his strategy? Putting the juniors against the seniors to compete on who can raise the most for charity. The white, yellow and orange belts form a team against the green, blue, purple, red and brown, with the black belts forming the third team. It’s no wonder his philanthropy efforts were recognized by an award from the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
Jet Li | The One Foundation
After having his daughter swept away by the water during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami then being reunited with her with the help of the locals, Jet Li was inspired to create The One Foundation, to help others in need. Founded in April of 2007, Jet Li stopped all of his film production for the entire year of 2008 so he could develop and grow it. In its first year alone, his foundation has managed to raise over $12 million USD.