Students of Smokey’s Karate School demonstrate their moves on the carpeting and work out mat donated by BTC. The School needed floor padding to muffle the noise from the training sessions to the tenants below
Nassau, Bahamas – A year ago, Smokey’s Karate School (SKS) a martial arts academy in Englerston, was in danger of closing its doors due to a lack of safety flooring. Today, thanks to assistance from its ongoing sponsor BTC, the academy is thriving and has its sights set on sending students to the International Sport Karate Association’s US Open Martial Arts Championship in Florida, July 3rd and 4th.
Last year, BTC answered a plea for assistance from the school and donated new carpeting and tumbling mats after concerns were expressed about the safety of the children and the noise-level in the business complex where the school is located. More recently, BTC helped them with the purchase of a van for transporting the students to tournaments.
School founder and lead instructor Master Ronald ‘Smokey’ Martin, who teaches approximately 40 boys and girls of varying ages said that the impact of these donations is far reaching, and helps to develop positive and life changing outlooks in the children.
“The special floor mats meant a lot to us, it is the reason we are still in operation,” said Mr. Martin. “What we do here is transformative; we take inner city kids and add a positive spin to their life with physical and mental training disciplines. We teach them life skills, self-respect and respect of others in a format they can enjoy. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to pay, so partnerships like the one with BTC allow us to accept those who can’t.”
He added that BTC’s assistance has helped the school in their goal to attend the US Open this year, an annual tradition that was cancelled last year due to timing and funding. SKS aims to send a team of 25 students this year, their biggest team thus far and one of the largest to be sent from the Bahamas.
Every year, except last year, we represent the Bahamas at the US Open, the leading martial arts event of the year and the kids perform with the highest of athletes. In 2013, one of my students, Brenique ‘Missy’ Johnson, the only female in her category, walked home with two 1st place trophies.
This year four of my students will compete for the first time in the amateur grappling and mixed martial arts categories. I have a lot of talented kids, but many can’t afford to go. This is why sponsorship is so important for the school.”
BTC Vice President of Marketing, Brand and Communications, Eldri Mackey, said that, “BTC is proud of its relationship with Smokey’s Karate School. It is heartening to see our contributions have such impactful results. SKS offers a positive outlet to its students, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds. ‘Smokey’ Martin does more than teach the students karate, he teaches them discipline and drives them toward constructive goals; in fact, most of his students achieve above a 3.0 GPA. If there is an opportunity to contribute to these outstanding young students, we do what we can to help. It is part of our commitment to the community,”