The Israeli Martial Arts Academy does a lot more for for the community that just martial arts and self defense. We base our activities on ethics, integrity and assisting people less fortunate. A main goal for our studio is to bring people together and build a strong community. Every year the gym hosts fundraisers to help those in need.
2014: The gym participated in a 50 round sparring fundraiser lasting one minute per round. This event was meant to help youth at risk in Israel. With the money that we raised from this event, these troubled kids were given a chance to strive for a better future.
2015: The gym participated in another sparring fundraiser consisting of eighty rounds lasting one minute per round. This event raised money to helped Asaf Yasur. Asaf is an Israeli teenager that lost both of his arms after being electrocuted. The goal of this fundraiser is to help Asaf purchase prosthetic limbs.
2016: The gym sponsored a sparring event to raise funds for Ron Kahlon. A 13 year old fighter in the Israeli Ramat Gan Dennis Hisardut Gym; Last year Ron was diagnosed with a medical condition which attacked his heart and brain. Eventually the disease deteriorated his joints which ultimately inhibited extremity movement. With our $3,000 donation result as well as the other funds raised internationally, the Dennis Hisardut community was able to provide for Ron the treatment necessary for him to make a recovery.
2018: Fighting for our Heroes - On Thursday 11/08/18 we learned of the terrible borderline shooting tragedy in Thousand Oaks, right in our backyard. We talked about it in class and reflected on the implications of violence and how it can happen anywhere; even in one of the "safest" communities in the United States. We barely had time to recover when the fires started. We were told that same night, a fire was headed in our direction, as a result of the strong Santa Ana winds (this fire spread quickly). It was one event after another. Some parts of the community were under voluntary evacuation while other parts were on mandatory evacuation. We offered a place for our members to take refuge and gather their thoughts while planning their next steps. The following day, the entire area was under a mandatory evacuation order. Two of our members lost their homes to the blaze while others suffered property and business damage. The fire was literally across the street from our gym.
When the evacuation order was lifted, we returned to the studio to find it was dirty and very smokey. With the help of a few members, we cleaned and restored the gym, making it look better than when we left it. Hezi said it is the cleanest he's ever seen the gym!
As Hezi's Sensei as a child, Dennis says " The show must go on" and "Last man standing". Our martial arts operation continued as normal. However during this whole ordeal, we saw the work of our firefighters, their brave sacrifice and duty. We decided take action to support those who risked their lives to save our homes and our Dojo.
That's when the gym launched the "Fighting for our Heroes" fundraiser event. The fundraiser was a sparring event, each participant gave a minimum of $20 to fight.
The Teens ages 10-15 sparred for 50 continuous rounds of full contact karate. The Adults fought for 90 continuous rounds of full contact karate. With the community's help and support, the gym raised over $2,900 for the firefighters of the Conejo Valley. The gym used this money to purchase gift certificates and gift cards as a token our our appreciation for the work they do!
This story is an example of how martial arts can bring people together and inspire a community to give back despite recent hardships. "The show must go on".