Master Jang, founder of Jang's Karate Center.
Courtesy Photo

Santa Barbara will be kicking off a new era in the Special Olympics as Jang’s Karate Center hosts a Karate Kick-A-Thon & Board Breaking Competition. The event will stand as a milestone for the Special Olympics, which have just introduced martial arts as an official part of the games, thanks in no small part to the center’s membership. “This is the first time the Special Olympics have teamed with any martial arts organization,” Master Jang, founder of Jang’s Karate Center noted. In order for them to host an official fundraiser, the sport had to be part of the official games. “We are so excited and proud to support this kind of event.”

Fifteen Special Olympian athletes have started training at Jang’s Karate Center to help develop the martial arts kicks and board breaking techniques that they hope to demonstrate in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. The free-to-public event will attempt to raise money for the Special Olympics through donations by having a series of martial arts activities at the Santa Barbara City College Sports Pavilion between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. on Saturday, July 18. Special Olympians will be participating in every category and the public is invited to cheer, donate and show their support for the athletes.

The event was the brainchild of Teri Coffee McDuffie, a member of Jang’s Karate Center and owner of Santa Barbara Women’s Self-Defense. McDuffie teamed up with the Southern California’s Special Olympics Director Sara Spataro to create this event after the two met through their involvement with the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Both leaders were united by the idea of empowering individuals to believe that anything is possible, McDuffie said. “You are always able to do something,” she explained, “No matter what your inabilities; you are always able to challenge yourself.”

In its 40-year history, the Special Olympics have quickly reached global recognition by giving individuals with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to participate in their communities and to develop self-confidence and belief in themselves.

Refreshments will be distributed free of charge for guests who wish to attend the event.

For more information and to make a donation contact Teri (805) 252-9099.


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