Given Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s ever growing scope of influence, some selfless individuals within the community have begun to understand its potential to help people fighting the battle against cancer. One such group that has been active over the past four years is Team East Coast Brazilian Jiu Jitsu based in North Canton, Ohio.
A while back we covered Team East Coast in a special regional profile of Northern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania gyms, and during my conversation with Chad Kuhn, he mentioned his school’s cancer awareness seminars. After their most recent installation of the now highly regarded annual seminar, I sat down again with Chad and learned a bit more about this amazing service that he and his team do for the jiu-jitsu community as well as the community at large.
One of the main figures in the gym’s history, Steve Hindman was the original inspiration for this event.
I knew I wanted to do something when Mr. Hindman was diagnosed with cancer, and I knew the BJJ community would be all in. He and I talked about where to donate. We both have twins: he has girls and I have boys. Both were premature and his spent time at the children’s hospital when they were born, and mine have been getting immune deficiency treatments there since 2007. So we made some calls and got in touch with the Showers Center Children’s Hospital to see what we could do. The #1 shout-out is Tiffany Hindman [Mr. Hindman’s wife] [for] her continued support in trusting everyone at East Coast to carry on his legacy.
The first seminar consisted of bringing in several black belts from the Midwest, kind of a coming together of the community. Anyone who attended that first seminar saw how special it was: a packed house comprised of many different teams who showed up to learn and raise money for a good cause, using jiu-jitsu as a vehicle for both.
Since then, the seminar has only increased in the prestige. That instructors that have been brought in have included Miguel Torres, JT Torres, Lucas Lepri, and most recently the ridiculously photogenic jiu-jitsu guy himself, Clark Gracie.
The seminar is made affordable and is organized in such a way that it has a special feel to it. One of the most impressive parts of the seminar series is the amount of money it has raised, around $20,000 thus far. This includes the seminar fees and raffles, which are donated to by various brands both in the local and the jiu-jitsu community. All proceeds are donated to The Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Chad, who is in charge of the logistics for the seminar series, had a few shout-outs and thank-you’s to pass out:
Gear sponsors for this year’s event were BJJ Tees, Gameness, Old Man Jiu Jitsu, Cauliflower Nation, Choke Aloha, Vulkan, Impact Mouth Guards, Lanky Fight Gear, Valor Fightwear USA, Adidas Combat Sports, Tatami Fight Wear, Battle Balm, Gi Soap, Painted Demons. Local business sponsors are Jose’s Landing, Stark Glass, UGM, Yoder Medical of Hartville, Bennett Homes, Angry BBQ, DNS AllState Insurance, Summit County Deputies, Hills and Dales Vision, Courtyard Marriott , Eulogy Tattoo, Rice’s Nursery, Ariel Corp, Mr. Hyde’s Floor Care, Pruni Chiropractic, Stark County Women’s Clinic, JLS Hair Studio and the City of Green Fire Department.
It’s wonderful to see a team going the extra mile to help people in need. If you are interested in getting involved in the cause or in donating, contact Team East Coast by phone at 330-830-6565 or on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TeamEastCoastBJJ