Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Please chip in to help a self-defense program for teens in Florida!

My name is Joshua Franzke and I am currently a high school teacher in Cape Coral, FL.

In 2009, I started a Brazilian jiu jitsu club at Ida S. Baker High School after several students showed an interest in martial arts.  After a few years of running the club, I found out my school district actually offers a Self Defense class as an elective in our Physical Education department.  I decided to take a shot at certification and passed my exam a few weeks ago.  The class is going to have an emphasis in grappling self defense, but will introduce students to basic striking and striking defense.  The course will also have a focus on physical fitness, nutrition and verbal self defense.  My goal is to give students access to a class that builds self esteem, knowledge of nutrition and hopefully helps to develop a passion for the martial arts.

As a new program, we have no funding and will not receive anything from the other PE programs. I am looking to raise a few dollars to get this program off the ground.  We will need basic equipment like boxing gloves, mitts, Muay Thai pads, etc.  Though the focus of this class is primarily on the grappling aspects of self defense, I do want the students to understand how to throw basic strikes as well as how to protect against strikes.   For this reason, we need the striking equipment to keep our students safe while learning the basics.  If you would to donate you can do so at this link:

Here are several photos from 2010 or 2011 when I ran the jiu jitsu club after school.  Though many students were inconsistent in their participation, this was the best year for students on the mats.  I consistently had 15 kids stay after school two days a week to train the entire year (well, except November-Feb which is wrestling season).  The wrestling coach has been kind enough to allow us to use the mats next year for the Self Defense class.

Here is a quick note about my jiu jitsu history:

I started training martial arts because I was bullied in high school and had no means of defending myself.  I walked into a martial arts academy in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1996.  I trained Brazilian jiu jitsu for two years and earned my blue belt at the age of 18 from Jacare Calvalcanti.  I then quit jiu jitsu for 10 years as I pursued my college degree.  After six years of school, I moved to Cape Coral, FL to establish myself and begin my journey into teaching.  I started training with Sean Wilson in 2008. Phil Cardella took over Sean's academy in Cape Coral and I earned my purple under Phil.  When Phil closed that academy, I began training under a three-time world champ, Marcelo Pereira, just 30 minutes from my house.  I am currently a two-stripe purple belt under him.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Joshua Franzke

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