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Students Breaking Boards to End Violence Saturday at LVR

Oppression, violence and ongoing trauma plague millions of people in countries around the world.

On Saturday (April 27), students from Kootenay Martial Arts are joining forces with other martial arts students across Canada in a fundraising campaign that helps fight back against these global problems and literally breaks the cycle of oppression.

You’re invited to watch and participate.

The campaign is Breaking Boards Breaking Chains. It brings together martial arts students for a public display of breaking boards and raising awareness of the problems of violence and oppression around the world.

Kootenay Martial Arts students ages 4 to 84, from Nelson, Playmor Junction and Castlegar are holding their event at L.V. Rogers Secondary School with opening ceremonies and demonstrations beginning at 1 p.m. 

Students collect pledges for each board they break, and 100% 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.

“One of our strong supporters, a martial arts school in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, has already held their event, and they raised about $17,000. Martial arts schools are literally making a difference in the world. We’re thrilled to see these students taking part in something they believe in,” Siminoff says.

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.

Martial Arts for Justice is an alliance of martial artists and school owners who choose to actively pursue justice, locally and globally. Located in Nelson, British Columbia, it works with martial arts schools across Canada and internationally to help bring an end to violence and oppression.

Photo Caption: Rwanda youth pose for a photo with Master Dean Siminoffafter graduating from Enhanced Resilience Training. — Submitted photo