Posted by Tommy Hackett on March 19th, 2011
Pictured: A T-Shirt from Purebred to raise funds for victims of the Tohoku earthquake.
If you love the martial arts — and if you’re reading this, chances are you do — it’s impossible to not love Japan. My visits to Japan include many memories I will always cherish, not just attending several MMA shows but getting some insight into the beautiful culture which is so integral to the foundations of the sport we love.
It’s just as obvious that following the recent earthquake, Japan needs your love right now, along with your sense of charity. With risks incoming from radiation from the damaged nuclear facilities and more than 10,000 persons still missing, it may be impossible at this point to give an accurate account of the damage sustained; in addition to the confirmed dead — approaching 9,000 as of this writing.
So it’s fitting that as in the case of last year’s (continuing) crisis in Haiti, several figures in the MMA and jiu-jitsu world are making their presence felt in disaster relief. Here are some ways you can help, or maybe this will inspire you to do what you can to help. This post will continue to be updated in the coming weeks.
Purebred, the network of gyms run by my good friend Enson Inoue, is making the T-shirt above available with proceeds going to Japanese Red Cross. Unfortunately it’s not at their webshop, although it is pictured in their blog. I’ve contacted Hiromi Kobayashi, who runs Purebred’s merchandising, and she had alerted me that the easiest way to purchase is to send a Facebook message to her Facebook account — shirts are $30 and available in S, M, L, and XL.
BJJ Revolution Montreal is hosting a benefit seminar tomorrow (March 20) in Quebec, with all proceeds going to Japanese Red Cross. Carlson Gracie disciple Julio Fernandez is among the participating instructors. Local businesses are contributing to a raffle that day as well. If you’re in the area, don’t miss it.
(Several big names in jiu-jitsu & MMA are coordinating similar seminar efforts including at least one UFC contender in the Bay Area and a PRIDE veteran in Hawaii; and I’m guessing there are more to come. I’ll update this page as soon as possible with more information on them.)
Update: Dave Camarillo’s Guerilla Jiu-Jitsu in Pleasonton, CA has announced a seminar to be held April 2 with all proceeds going to Japanese Red Cross. Instruction will be by Camarillo himself, along with UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch, and four other black belts (!). Seminar begins at 1 pm with a minimum donation of $50, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list. This is a great opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business as well as provide some much needed help. Give it a look if you’re in the Bay Area — actually, if you’re anywhere near the Bay Area!
CageSide MMA is offering a shirt for $6.99 with $5 going to Salvation Army efforts in Japan. CageSide representatives posted on the Sherdog forums that they are matching all proceeds donated as well. It fittingly features the kanji for jujutsu/jiu-jitsu:
Brazilian Top Team’s Japan affiliate has created a website, SOS Japan BTT, which also offers assistance in relief efforts through one of their students. Click that link for more info there. Sherdog has spotlighted a similar effort which has been endorsed by the likes of Wanderlei Silva. I unfortunately don’t have a relationship with either (unlike Kobayashi-san), so sadly I can’t offer any more information about their efforts.
Of course, we’d urge you to give to the charities on the ground there in Japan, including Mercy Corps, which was part of the matching donation for Haiti effort last year by MMA Warehouse. The Japanese Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and many other worthy organizations are all on the ground too, with proven leaders in the field like Americares and Catholic Relief Services on the way.
What else can be said? Dig deep and give where you can.