Boards made to be broken

Taekwondo athletes punch and kick through wood at fundraiser.

Lexy Langille poses with a pile of boards she intended to shatter at Breaking Boards Breaking Chains.

Stacy DeVries doesn’t mind a few bruises for a good cause.

DeVries was among the many taekwondo athletes taking part in the third annual Breaking Boards Breaking Chains, a fundraising event held Saturday afternoon at Trafalgar Middle School. Devries, one of the event’s founders, broke 50 wooden boards last year and was excited to snap some more timber.

“I figure it’s a small price to pay,” said DeVries, who has a brown belt. “The people who we are raising money for go through way more hardship than a few bruises, so it really doesn’t matter if I break my hand or my foot. I don’t really care.”

Young athletes from Kootenay Christian Martial Arts collected pledges of $20 per board in donations for South Slocan-based Martial Arts For Justice, which on its website says its goal is to “mobilize martial artists and school owners on a global level to fight for victims of violence, and against slavery and human trafficking.”

All proceeds from the event, which raised $4,462.95 on Saturday, were funneled by MAJ to International Justice Mission, a Christian organization that works to assist law enforcement in 17 communities throughout African, South American and Southeast Asian countries.

“Here in Canada, if someone calls 911 we know the police are going to be there. In these countries that are so destitute, there’s no help,” said MAJ director-at-large Abby Napora.

“If someone is being killed or raped, they can call 911, but even then police officers are trapped by the limitation of not having vehicles. So [IJN] go in and they say, ‘what prevents you from doing your job?’ And [police] will say, ‘well we don’t have a motorbike.’ So they get them a motorbike or get them a phone and they make justice accessible to the people.”

Dean Siminoff, the president of MAJ and a fifth dan master, said he hoped by the end of April the campaign will have raised $50,000 by the organization’s 14 schools throughout Canada.

“Each year it’s just growing and growing,” said Siminoff, who recently returned from a trip to Rwanda. “We can just feel, with Toronto coming on board this year, more Vancouver schools, we can feel the traction just getting ready to explode.”

The event’s opening ceremony included councillor Bob Adams breaking a board of his own to applause. Adams joked in a speech that one day of judo in his youth prepared him for the moment.

(Correction: An earlier version of this article stated IJM works in Rwanda and South Africa. That is no longer the case.)

Just Posted

Nelson Leafs look to new season with training camp

The team is hosting 38 players at the Nelson and District Community Complex

Activist, author Libby Davies coming to Nelson

Davies will talk about the intersection of activism and politics in pursuit of social change

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Most Read