Master Dean Siminoff poses with Juliana

Master Dean Siminoff poses with Juliana

Breaking boards for justice

Three local martial arts schools are participating in the Breaking Boards Breaking Chains campaign next week.

Three local martial arts schools are participating in the Breaking Boards Breaking Chains (BBBC) campaign in April. BBBC is a break-a-thon organized by Martial Arts for Justice (MAJ), a non-profit started by local Taekwondo instructor Dean Siminoff.

The organization is designed to be an alliance of martial artists and school owners that choose to actively pursue justice, locally and globally. Siminoff was inspired to start the organization because he wanted to motivate his students and other martial arts schools to take the part of his school’s student oath that says, “We will be champions of freedom and justice,” and move it from words into actions.

Now in its third year, BBBC is MAJ’s premier fundraising event. The money MAJ raises is funnelled to International Justice Mission, an organization that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

Siminoff has just returned from a four week trip to Uganda and Rwanda impressed by the work that IJM does and inspired to press on with the work that MAJ is doing including starting sister Taekwondo schools that will teach self defense techniques and taekwondo to at risk populations in vulnerable areas.

The campaign and MAJ continue to grow each year. Last year seven martial arts schools participated in the board-breaking events raising $25,000. This year 14 schools have signed on including schools from across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and even as far away as Toronto. “If we could double our funds from last year, that would be a huge success,” said Siminoff.

Participants seek pledges, corresponding to the number of boards they intend on breaking. If you don’t know a participant, but would still like to contribute to the campaign, donations can be made directly to MAJ through the organization’s website, martialartsforjustice.org. Donations can also be made in person during the events.

Kootenay Christian Taekwondo’s Castlegar school and Selkirk Taekwondo will be holding a joint BBBC event on April 16 from 12 to 2 p.m. at Kinnaird Park Community Church. Kootenay Christian Taekwondo’s Nelson school will hold their event on April 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trafalgar Middle School. The public is welcome to come and watch the students break their boards. More information on both Martial Arts for Justice and the International Justice Mission will be available at the events.