About 35 students from Kootenay Christian Taekwondo and Selkirk Taekwondo took part in Martial Arts for Justice’s Breaking Boards

About 35 students from Kootenay Christian Taekwondo and Selkirk Taekwondo took part in Martial Arts for Justice’s Breaking Boards

Castlegar Taekwondo students break boards to end slavery

Taekwondo students took part in the Breaking Boards, Breaking Chains break-a-thon event to raise money for International Justice Mission.



Castlegar Taekwondo students kicked and punched through wooden boards on Saturday afternoon, raising money to help end slavery.

About 35 students from Kootenay Christian Taekwondo and Selkirk Taekwondo met at the Kinnaird Park Community Church to take part in Martial Arts for Justice’s Breaking Boards, Breaking Chains break-a-thon event to raise money for International Justice Mission (IJM), the world’s largest anti-slavery organization.

This is the fourth year the break-a-thon has been held to raise money for IJM. The first year the event was held, it only included one Taekwondo school from Nelson.

“In 2013 I was doing a fundraising campaign with the youth group in Nelson to raise money for International Justice Mission, and I was talking to Dean [Siminoff] and he said, ‘You know I’ve always been looking for something for the Taekwondo school to get involved in.’ It really matched well because one of the tenants for Taekwondo is to be champions of freedom and justice,” explained Stacy DeVries, founding board member of Martial Arts for Justice.

Since then the event has grown to include schools across Canada, and two years ago Dean Siminoff founded Martial Arts for Justice as an organization to run the event.

“As Breaking Boards, Breaking Chains [grew], we saw the potential it had; we needed to put a formal entity around it,” explained Siminoff.

Siminoff and his wife recently visited Uganda and Rwanda, where they spent two weeks in each country and met with representatives of IJM. In Rwanda, they also started a sister Taekwondo school with 50 students. DeVries also came to Rwanda for two weeks, overlapping with Siminoff for three days, to help open the school.

“We put a teacher in place. Actually she’s the national champion in Rwanda for Taekwondo and she’s taking over, hopefully keeping those classes going until we can get back and do some more training with them,” said DeVries.

“We sponsor them from here, so we support them, help pay the rent, help pay for the instructors from Canada,” said Siminoff “That’s the first experiment, my school in Nelson supporting the school in Rwanda, but the vision is to have these sister schools all across North America supporting [schools in areas with not just poverty, but a high risk of violence].”

Martial Arts for Justice has also been working with the Poor Women’s Development Network, teaching women in Rwanda self defense.

“They want us to come back desperately and so we’re going to set up some clinics and things with them,” said DeVries. “We really want to do it well, so we’re taking our time, setting up some women’s empowerment, some trauma counseling a lot of them are genocide survivors or have lost people through genocide or suffer from AIDS or are trying to get out of prostitution. There’s just a variety of things that they’re trying to break free from.”

Breaking the boards doesn’t just offer Castlegar Taekwondo students the opportunity to metaphorically break the chains of slavery, human trafficking and violence, it also offers them the opportunity to metaphorically break through some of their own barriers.

“For these students it’s about breaking through their own personal barriers of lack of self confidence, pushing through things that are difficult,” said DeVries.

Before the students jumped into action, Councillor Sue Heaton-Sherstobitoff, who attended as a representative of the City of Castlegar, got a quick lesson from Siminoff and broke a board to kick things off.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Caden Tart and Luke Geisbrecht host Scratch the Scripture. Photo: Submitted
Two Castlegar teens launch faith podcast

Scratch the Scripture aims to answer teen’s questions about God

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

Cliffe Churches helped create the Robson Fire Department. Photo: Submitted
Robson Fire Department honours Cliffe Churches

Cliffe Churches helped create the Robson Fire Department

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read