What is #RefugeeJitsu??
One of the ways Disciple Dojo ministers here in the Charlotte community is through a partnership with Project 658 to offer a free weekly Jiujitsu & self-defense class for kids from our local international refugee community. Project 658 is an organization that works with the international refugee community here in the Queen City in order to help them get established, assimilated into their new home country, and provide them with the basic necessities and skills needed to thrive here. They offer many outreach activities including a thrift store, ESL classes, afterschool programs, and even a culinary training center that helps people develop skills needed to work in, and eventually perhaps one day oversee their own restaurants. It’s an amazing ministry here in the city that is truly showing Gospel love in a tangible way to people who have been through absolute hell and ended up here in the safety of our community.
In 2015 Disciple Dojo reached out to the folks at 658 and asked if they’d be interested in offering a free martial arts program to their community members. We met to discuss some ideas and I was excited to share with them how I’ve seen martial arts, particularly Brazilian Jiujitsu (which is my current focus), build amazing community and friendships among people from vastly different walks of life–socio-economic, religious, racial, and cultural. I’ve also seen the confidence it instills in kids firsthand (I began my training when I was 8 years old, and it has had a lifelong impact). We decided to offer an initial basic self-defense seminar at 658’s facility to see what interest there may be for weekly or monthly classes.
It was a blast!
We had students from Afghanistan, Congo, Ivory Coast, and Southeast Asia in attendance. All of them had a great time and their smiles were infectious! Take a look…
The initial class was a huge success and since then we’ve begun a weekly class which meets every Thursday evening (Note: we meet on Monday evenings during June, July, and August) from 6-8pm at Project 658. We invite any members of the BJJ/grappling community to come help with a class anytime you are able and meet some awesome new friends!
This is an exciting outreach for any BJJ enthusiast, but it’s also a daunting challenge–especially for someone who’s expertise is in art, writing, speaking, and martial arts rather than fundraising, administration, and logistics! In addition to financial support, I am inviting all friends of Disciple Dojo to please lift this project up in prayer. More than simply teaching these kids and families how to protect and defend themselves from physical harm, I want to build GENUINE friendships among them and to be a bridge between them and the wider Charlotte community, particularly the BJJ commuity.
I want to encourage others to reach out with a hand of friendship and love rather than a posture of fear and suspicion when it comes to refugees.
I want to provide the kids with confidence and an outlet for their stress, pressures, and anxieties they face as they grow up in a new country surrounded by people who see them as a burden or threat to their way of life.
Being a teenager is hard enough as it is!
Lastly, I want to honor the Heavenly Sensei, Jesus Himself. I want to follow in the footsteps of Him who called us to “go and do likewise” when we see a need. To bring to Him our paltry loaves and fishes, and see Him do the miraculous with our meager offering.
Teaching BJJ to a handful of kids on a weekly basis seems inconsequential in the universal scheme of things and given the worldwide problems we are confronted with each day in the news. But I believe even such a small endeavor can have eternal ramifications, and even touching one family’s life with the love of Christ can change the world–or at the very least can change that family’s world.
If you would like to help this happen, please consider supporting it financially at the link below or clicking HERE.
Note: For any donation of $20 or more I will send a signed 8.5×11″ print of any #ArtOfTheDojo portraits or designs (which you can see HERE, HERE, HERE or HERE). *Just be sure to note which you’d like in the donation note on Paypal, or message me via the contact page link on the right hand side of your screen*).
Other ways to help support us…
Order a rashguard (completely customizable on a dozens of sizes, styles, and colors for men, women, and children!) and 100% of the proceeds go directly to us! Click the image to order…
Or if martial arts isn’t your thing, but you’d like to help the ministry of Disciple Dojo beyond just this particular project, I would ask that you consider becoming a monthly “Dojo Donor” at one of our belt rank levels. This ministry would not exist without the handful of faithful monthly donors who have supported us so far. But we definitely need more regular support that we can count on for ongoing expenses.
Lastly, if you’d prefer to give a one-time gift to support what we’re doing here in the Dojo, you can also donate directly below via credit card, or can mail a check made out to “Disciple Dojo, L3C” with “support” in the subject line to:
13623 Christian Tyler Ct.
Charlotte, NC 28278
**Unfortunately, due to our status as an L3C corporation (see below), donations by individuals are not tax-deductible**
Disciple Dojo is organized as a low-profit limited liability company (L3C) recognized by the State of North Carolina. In contrast to a traditional LLC small business, an L3C is a private business set up so that:
1. It significantly furthers the accomplishment of charitable or educational purpose and
would not have been formed except to further these purposes;
2. Income production or property appreciation is not a significant purpose; and
3. It does not seek to accomplish political or legislative purpose.
As a religious, artistic, teaching organization, Disciple Dojo fulfills these requirements. However, unlike with a traditional 501(c)3 charity, donations to Disciple Dojo are not tax-deductible under current IRS regulations.
About Deus Fight Co. and the “Carolina” Gi…
Our good friends over at Deus Fight Co. have agreed to support this program with our own custom gis!!!
You might remember Deus from the “Fight For the Forgotten” gi I designed with them to support my buddy Justin Wren’s organization for the Pygmies of the Congo…
Well, Deus also has a number of gis that support different organizations and community outreaches around the country. And many of them are designed to show homage to that city’s home football team. For instance, they sell the “Seahawk“, the “Patriot“, and the “Raven“, among others.
Now, in addition to those (as well as their line of kids gis based on Bible heroes, which you should TOTALLY check out if your kids train!), they now also feature the “Panther“…and have provide the gis for our program here to the kids who earn them by their attendance and their cleaning of the mats and equipment each week after class…
Disciple Dojo is honored to receive the support of the folks at Deus Fight Co. and I am thrilled to have the kids rolling in these gis that pay homage to their adopted city! If you are a martial artist, or are simply looking for some good workout gear, head over to www.DeusFight.com and support these guys who are making a difference all over the world through their generosity!
If you would like to support this particular Disciple Dojo outreach, you can order your own “Panther” gi HERE…
We would also like to thank our friends at Defense Soap for sponsoring us with body wipes and body wash for all the kids and to clean our mats with! Go check them out and try their products as a way of saying THANK YOU for their support!