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BOXING, MARTIAL ARTS INSTRUCTORS AND GANGS
Last year, I was having a conversation with one of the most prominent martial arts instructors in the country. He resides
in the Washington, DC area and he explained to me that the thugs and gangs are getting to be too much in Washington and
he was going to move his school to a wealthier suburban location.
I told him the youth of this town needs him and martial arts. With parents in the city looking for activities for youth,
martial arts is one viable option. I asked him to rethink his decision. Our youth around the country need the disciple that
martial arts has to offer. I told him it will be good to expand, but leave the school in the area it is in now and establish
a new school in Maryland.
I explained, in the area where his school is located is where my late father used to attend church. In the late sixties,
many churches exited the inner city. My father’s church being a large proud contingent withstood riots and social unrest
of the 1960’s and the early 1970’s, the minister vowed that his church will not run from the people who needs
them the most.
The church is still standing in one of the most notorious parts of the city, where its faithful congregation mostly comes
from the prominent parts of the Maryland and Virginia suburbs to practice their faith along with District residents.
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The martial arts master looked me squarely in the eye and made a decision to stick with the people that supported him for
many years. In spite of the wave of inner city crime and violence.
He decided to keep that location and open a new school in a prominent area in Maryland.
One third of our country is living below the poverty level. In some of our metropolitan areas you would not know it because
there is a vast economy growing in the towns, cities, suburbs and rural areas that is fueled by crime of every description
called “STREET INCOME.”
Criminals are not always as obvious as they have looked in the past. Cut throats and drug dealers find their way to the
prominent suburbs the same way that doctors and lawyers do.
“STREET INCOME” is alive and well in America and it makes the poor man rich; tax free!
In Washington, DC, the martial arts and boxing clubs are mainly in the suburbs but the clubs that remain are holding their
own. Most of them do not have the earnings of the suburbs and some go year after year without making a profit.
We as fight professionals have to help our youth wherever they reside. No matter what the situation, we are the difference
between a child holding a fist full of dollars in one hand and a Tec 9 in the other.
There are so many boxing and martial arts clubs that are looking for only one thing and that is the almighty dollar. They
forget the discipline and control that the fighting sports offer in developing our youth into model citizens.
In 1980, the Washington Metropolitan Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned our mayor and the city council
that there was a segment of the Washington, DC area of young predominantely black males that were growing up without
a male father figure in the home. At the time of the report, the young men were babies and toddlers, their fathers were suffering
with unemployment and double digit inflation.
Now as their fathers face middle age and the twilight years of their lives. The sons are finding role models in gangs and
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We as boxing, wrestling, and martial arts instructors can help deter our youth from a life of drug dealing, theft, and
imprisonment by not running from these problems but introducing viable and creative programs for our youth.
After school programs are a start, but we need programs that can help bring teens away from the streets.
When I established my kickboxing school, in the late nineties, I was happy to have a minority of problem youth in my school.
Yes, I had children who were severely withdraw, trouble makers, suicidal, orphans, abandoned, gangsters and the list goes
No, I did not have a whole class of problem youth, but a few that I felt that I could manage. The students came from the
District of Columbia Youth Services Administration, Department of Human Services. They had a guardian or social worker drop
them off and I received a monthly check from the DC Government.
Giving guidance and help to one or two underprivileged or underserved kids could be the best thing you can do for your
community. I operated my school in Maryland but the children came from the District. To this day, I will enter a supermarket
or shopping mall and come across a social worker who informs me that John or Sue has changed his life and is a student at
an university or found worthwhile employment. It gives me a good feeling to know that I have done my part in keeping a child
from joining a gang or a life of crime.
To save an at risk youth, just write to the state agencies who service troubled youth. You will find that your services
will be more than welcomed.
As you grow richer and expand your services, you will feel good about not only profiting from your business, but saved
a life that was at risked!