There’s a lot of things I have admire about my husband, and one of those things is his love for teaching Jiu Jitsu. I have always appreciated his heart to teach anyone who had the willingness to learn. It’s not always easy for him, and I know there are days where he’s more drained than others. At the end of the day I know he’s beyond thankful that he gets to do what he loves every day. It’s not always considered “work” for him when you’re doing what you love!
When we first opened our Jiu Jitsu school in October of 2007, my husband never had the intention of starting a Kids Program. It probably crossed his mind a couple times but it wasn’t in his initial plans. 4 months later we started a Kids Class with 2 kids, and our Stronghold Kids Program slowly grew from there. I think over the years the potential of children in Jiu Jitsu impressed my husband. Kids are like human sponges, and they retain information so well at a young age. To date, our Stronghold Kids Jiu Jitsu Program is known as one of the best in San Diego. We have found that lessons learned in Jiu Jitsu translate to further success in school and life. They also acquire valuable physical and mental skills that will lead to increased health, fitness, concentration and overall confidence. In addition, it was pretty amazing that our kids did so well at tournaments, so much so that our Kids Competition Team was even more well-known than our Adults Team (and this is also true today). We strive to not only impact the lives of our Stronghold Families but also reach out to San Diego and worldwide through community outreach.
Through the years we unfortunately lost a few students due to financial hardships. We knew times were tough for mainly families and in mid 2010, the idea of starting a Stronghold Kids Scholarship Program was born. That year we had plans of partnering with the Rock Church’s Children’s Ministry to offer free Jiu Jitsu lessons. We thought this would be a great way to impact kids in our community, as The Rock Church is not only our home church, but also located blocks away from the gym. The vision for our Scholarship program was put on hold for a few months due to expected arrival of our daughter, but was quickly brought back to the table when we learned about the US Bank Make it Happen Promotion in October of 2010. The promotion consisted of US Bank members to submit a story to fund $10,000 to a cause of their choice, and in our case, we wanted to be able to fund the kids with classes, uniforms, competition fees and transportation. We submitted our story and asked family members and friends to vote daily. At the end of the contest in mid November, we placed in 3rd but were still hopeful that we could get funding elsewhere. In December, Mike received a call from US Bank and was told we had won a prize. He initially thought we won maybe $100 as consolation since we placed 3rd, but US Bank decided to award the Top 3 stories and we indeed won! This was exciting news and a great way to start the new year. In January 2011 we launched our first Rock Kids Jiu Jitsu class and we were able to offer free uniforms and classes. Due to time constraints we had to put that particular class on hold but we were thankful to be able to sponsor more than 12 kids to enroll in our regular scheduled classes for several years.
It is our goal to continue the Stronghold Kids Scholarship Program to help more families and spread the love of Jiu Jitsu to the San Diego community. If you or someone you know in San Diego may be interested in a Stronghold Kids Scholarship, we will have more information about applying to the program in a couple months. We also hope you will consider spreading the word about the program or donating so we can bless other kids with the chance of learning Jiu Jitsu. To learn more or to donate, please visit the following link: Stronghold Kids Scholarship Program.
I leave you with a cute conversation my husband and son had last night. It’s things like this that make me realize how awesome the impact of Jiu Jitsu can be to our kids! I also hope this means the future of Stronghold is secure in our kids to spread the love of Jiu Jitsu to future generations. :]
Jake: “Daddy, do you like training?”
Mike: “Of course I do, if I didn’t I wouldn’t do it for a living. It’s one of my favorite things to do, besides hanging out with you.”
Jake: “I think it’s the greatest thing ever, I want to do it every day!”