Seymour Yang, AKA Meerkatsu, and Can Sonmez are at it again. As an annual effort to mobilize the BJJ community to help women in need, the famed gear designer has helped to raise thousands of dollars.
“Each year my good friend and BJJ brown belt Can Sonmez runs a 24-hour BJJ Grapplethon at his academy in Bristol. Each year, we choose a different charity to donate proceeds to. Most of them are focused on women-based charities as this is a specific passion for Can.
This year, the charity chosen is WomanKind Bristol Therapy Centre. This is a charity providing mental health support for women in crisis. The timing of the Grapplethon (9-10th) March was chosen as it is the weekend after International Women’s Day (8th March).
My role in the campaign is to raise funds based on the sale of my limited edition art prints. Once a year I offer these prints and it’s a great way for my followers to obtain hard to find artworks. It’s also a good way to raise money for a good cause. This year, followers can choose from five artworks here.”
The duo has raised some rather impressive sums of money for this cause, but keep their goals reasonable and manageable.
“This year our target is £3,000 (approx $3,900). This is roughly the target we achieve in all previous years, but some years we over exceed that. In the past years, the whole Grapplethon fundraisers organized by Can have raised over £34,700 ($45,000). Your regular readers may remember my Heavenly Footlock t-shirt sale back in 2013 — well, that was also part of the Grapplethon fundraising campaign.
People can help in a couple ways: they can straight up make a donation here.
Or if they are UK based, they can turn up and take part. Everyone is welcome, especially during those early morning hours. Details for the actual event are here.
And finally, purchase one of my art prints, which I’ve already linked to above. The window to buy will close on March 3, and these artworks will never be available again. They would make a great addition to decorate a gym wall, home or office space.”
I was interested in what precisely motivated Seymour and Can to embark on this monumental endeavor, and the answer was pretty much as expected
“You only have to glance at various news reports and online forums to acknowledge the problem of sexual assault and abuse is a daily occurrence. It is a problem not just in our wider world but also, sadly, within a small section of the jiu-jitsu community. Campaigns like the Grapplethon not only raise money — they also bring awareness to our community about such issues. We do also like to roll, and what better than to roll for 24 hours?”