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Karate Center, Special Olympians Team Up For Kick-A-Thon

Martial arts athletes will demonstrate techniques at Saturday fundraiser for Santa Barbara Special Olympics

Martial arts athletes of all skill levels will come together Saturday for a Kick-a-thon and Breaking Event that features martial arts students from Jang’s Karate Center.

The Special Olympics of Santa Barbara recently partnered with the studio, and 12 Special Olympics athletes will also perform at the fundraising event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the SBCC Sports Pavilion.

The free event will feature various kinds of kicks and breaks, live music and refreshments, said Teri McDuffie, owner of Santa Barbara Women’s Self Defense and a teacher at Jang’s Karate Center.

McDuffie helped teach the special athletes and came up with the idea for a partnership, which is the first time Special Olympics has partnered with a martial arts organization, she said.

One of the goals of Special Olympics is to partner with local sports-related organizations to emphasize the importance of fitness and health, Santa Barbara director Sara Spataro said.

The athletes from the Special Olympics really enjoyed their two weeks at the studio with Master D.K. Jang, learning how to focus their energy, coordinate their movements and what it takes to learn martial arts, she said.

Events like the Kick-a-thon “bring people together in our commonalities: life, sports and physical fitness,” she said.

Donations can be made at the event — even on a per-kick basis — and all proceeds directly benefit the Special Olympics of Santa Barbara.

The special athletes will perform 100 kicks and do breaks using the technique of their choice during the event, McDuffie said. Organizers are working with other studios to try to get enough karate uniforms for all the participants, as well.

More advanced members of the studio are expected to do up to 500 kicks and many different kinds of breaks, often accompanied by Master Jang’s drumbeats, McDuffie said.

Other local partnerships between local Special Olympics and sports organizations include with conditioning specialists and AYSO soccer. Fall sports for special athletes begin Aug. 1, and include soccer and floor hockey — for which the group still needs coaches — as well as softball and bowling.

Special Olympics of Santa Barbara has hundreds of athletes and volunteers and offers monthly activities throughout Southern California.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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