(Cut to the chase and donate to our Kickathon at Support Sun Dragon!)
The Kickathon is an annual event at Sun Dragon and our main fundraiser for the year. We gather at Zilker Park, throw a thousand kicks, break some boards, eat an extremely long sub from Thundercloud, and wake up sore the next morning. This year, in addition to the kicking event at Zilker we'll be doing an evening of marathon sparring and another of marathon kata. It's gonna be a long week, but it's all for a good cause, supporting our scholarship program specifically and supporting the school in general.
Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense, the non profit I've been associated with for twelve years, started over 23 years ago with a simple mission: to make martial arts training and self defense instruction available to anyone who walked in the door. Oh. Wait. That's not entirely true. When Sun Dragon started it's goal was to make martial arts and self defence training available for women. At the time, there were limited options for women who wanted to train and Sensei Suzanne wanted to created a space where women could train without discrimination, hazing, or being viewed as second class students. Around 1999-2000, Sun Dragon began inviting men to train and today men and women train side-by-side, but the ethic remains of openness and accessibility for non-traditional students. (you can read the basics of our history here: Sun Dragon History )
I recently watched a video produced by one of our students ahead of her book launch next May (Smile at Strangers--Susan (George) Schorn Smile at Strangers--it's a wonderful book that gives a lot of our dojo's history along with George's personal history as a martial artist) that I think is a pretty good representation of what we do. It's a montage of students breaking boards, one woman after another. Okay, I'm in the middle of it somewhere. It's almost a shame that the video is so well-edited because you miss the battles students fought to overcome hesitations and doubts and then triumphantly smash through their boards. But I find it powerful just the same:
And, of course, there are the children. Won't someone think of the children? Okay. I mainly teach kids classes and so thinking about how to teach children karate safely and effectively takes up a lot of my time. Almost two-thirds of our students are children that range from four years old (I have nothing to do with them this young!) up to teenagers. We've got some great kids and I think a wonderful program that opens up training for all kinds of children, gives them manageable challenges, helps them overcome those challenges and move to the next one. We have a lot of fun, while still learning discipline, self control and principles of justice and respect that in time permeate their lives outside of the dojo. And, of course, there's the video of children:
The money we raise at Kickathon goes to support the school in general and to fund our scholarship program. Scholarships are scaled to income level and are designed to make sure everyone has the opportunity to train with us. The scholarship program also applies to our self defense classes, which we offer annually at the dojo and in conjunction with various other non profits and groups in the Austin area. We work with the Girl Scouts a great deal, we're currently offering classes that are focused on issues facing the LGBTQ community and we just recently had a series of free classes for children focused on bullying.
I'm proud of the work we do at Sun Dragon and I'm so glad to have been a part of the program for twelve years. I've been a member of the board of directors for seven or eight years now and have been teaching or assisting teaching for almost as long. If you'd like to help keep our school going, if you'd like to help us keep martial arts and self defense training accessible for all comers in the Austin area, I'd be honored to have your support. You can make donations via this link: Support Sun Dragon!
Thanks for taking the time to find out about Sun Dragon and the work we do. Thanks also for your support!