Martial arts studio gives kids a break |

Martial arts studio gives kids a break

Post Independent Photo/Donna GrayBoards flew at the sixth annual Break-a-thon at the Art of Defense taekwondo studio in Glenwood Springs Saturday. The event raised money for the Project Action Foundations scholarships for underprivileged kids.

Karate chops and flying boards were the order of the day Saturday when martial arts studios around the country engaged in the sixth annual Project Action Foundation’s Break-a-Thon.At the Art of Defense, a taekwondo studio in Glenwood Springs, about 15 students, from adults to kids, summoned their inner strength and attacked wooden boards with hands, feet and elbows for an hour.In all, the students broke 539 boards and raised $820 in pledges, said co-owner Sabrina Carmichael. Thousands of martial arts studios across the country participated in the one-hour event Saturday.

Nationwide, the event garnered more than $100,000 and resulted in more than 89,000 broken boards, Carmichael said.The event, which the Project Action Foundation sponsored, aims to prevent crime by raising money for scholarships for underprivileged and at-risk kids to take classes in dance, gymnastics and martial arts.A few minutes into the event at the Glenwood Springs studio, there was plenty of spilled blood from grazed knuckles and stubbed toes. Even the littlest martial artists participated, hopping up in the air and bringing all their strength to bear on the boards.

“I broke it! I broke it!” one surprised little girl said.Asked what it took to break the boards, Carmichael said, “You have to hit it right.”Everyone appeared to have a different approach. Some used the heel of their hands, some the side of the foot, and some their knuckles. Not everyone broke the board on the first try – thus the grazed skin.

Martial arts at the Art of Defense is sometimes a family affair. Jim Hemig, printing plant manager for Colorado Mountain News Media (owner of the Post Independent), wife Shelly and two boys, Bryan, 11, and Aaron, 8, were eager board-breakers.The Hemigs have been students of taekwondo at the Art of Defense since January, Shelly said. The program has been great for everyone, Shelly said: “My balance is a lot better.”A percentage of the money will come back to the studio to be used for scholarships for kids who can’t afford the classes, Carmichael said.

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