Master Dean Siminoff (second from left) is seen here with Rwandan youth graduating from Enhanced Resilience Training. Photo submitted

Martial arts students breaking boards to end violence

The annual Breaking Boards, Breaking Chains runs April 27


Kootenay Martial Arts students ages four to 84 from Nelson, Playmor Junction and Castlegar are taking a stand against global violence. On Saturday, young martial artists from the Kootenays will join other students across Canada in a fundraising campaign aimed to raise funds for victims of violence, slavery and human trafficking.

Breaking Boards Breaking Chains has raised more than $200,000 since it started in 2013. The money has supported efforts to end modern-day slavery, rescue victims of human trafficking, and help survivors of the Rwandan genocide overcome trauma and begin to rebuild their lives.

The event will be held at L.V. Rogers Secondary School.

Opening ceremonies and this years demonstrations begin at 1 p.m.

Students collect pledges for each board they break, and 100 per cent of the proceeds go directly to Martial Arts for Justice, a Nelson-based national charitable organization that seeks justice for victims of violent oppression. The theme this year is healing trauma through building resilience. Donations can also be made online through their web site.

There will be displays, information on overcoming trauma, demonstrations and the public is invited to participate: anyone will have the chance to break a board for a $20 donation. There will also be a silent auction. Martial Arts for Justice has its own unique training program called ‘Enhance Resilience Training’ that empowers beneficiaries to prevent gender-based violence and heal trauma. Come out to the event to learn more.

“Many martial arts schools include statements such as being ‘Champions of Freedom and Justice’ in their student oaths, or creed, making participation in the Breaking Boards Breaking Chains campaign a natural fit. We believe in making a difference and standing up for those in need,” says Martial Arts for Justice president Dean Siminoff.

Martial arts schools from as far north as Whitehorse and as far east as Ontario are participating in Breaking Boards Breaking Chains this year. Schools are holding their board breaking events throughout April and May.

Martial Arts for Justice is an alliance of martial artists and school owners who choose to actively pursue justice, locally and globally.

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