Two bold academy owners’ story of how Jiu-Jitsu helped victims of typhoon Haiyan

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Much of the Jiu-Jitsu community came together in support of the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan ripped through the country. From seminar to open mats, merchandise and pure donations, efforts to rebuild were fueled. One academy in Canada took a step further and not only raised money to help rebuild but also took a trip to the Philippines to make sure the money was well spent.

Marcy Hilario and her husband Milo, owners of Apex Martial Arts in British Columbia, Canada detoured their vacation to put their time to use where it was needed. They even taught some Jiu-Jitsu while they were there.

Read Marcy’s story and check out the photos and video below:

“Milo, my husband, and I were set to take a long awaited vacation to Indonesia, with our plane tickets in hand.  After seeing the news and events that were happening in the Philippines, we were compelled to cancel our trip to Indonesia and go to the Philippines to help in any way possible.

With the help of our caring and generous friends, family and the BC Jiu Jitsu Community we came together and raised money for the victims of the Haiyan Typhoon.  Money was raised through sales and profits from our Academy, Apex Martial Arts and through our martial arts gear company, Katana Fight Gear.  We also hosted a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminar, where some of the local instructors from different Academies came and shared their knowledge to all who attended.

On December 3rd, Milo and I travelled to the Philippines. We journeyed from Manila to Bantayan Island, which is a small island off the coast of Cebu.

When we first arrived on the island you can see the effects of Haiyan; power lines still down, trees uprooted, tops of coconut chopped off, twisted metal and steel, and house missing parts of their roof and walls collapsed.

Not knowing what to do with the money we raised and where to start, we made our way to the Municipality office of Bantayan Island. In the first 1 ½ to 2 weeks on the island we helped the Bantayan community by setting up tents, distributing food and water.  We became translators for other worldwide charities, speaking to the locals in the villages.

Here, in the villages we saw how bad the typhoon was.  Majority of the homes were flattened, people living under whatever materials they can find to take shelter.  Many people lost everything.  Even in these sad and poor times, the people of Bantayan Island stay positive, smiles on their faces and the children still happily play. They are really wonderful and lovely people.  We easily made friends with everyone in this warm community.

From speaking to many locals and making friends within the local municipality we decided that the best way to spend the money we raised was to adopt a few families to rebuild their homes.

And so that is what we did.  We chose several different families in need and bought building materials to help them to rebuild.  The appreciation, joy and happiness we see from these beautiful people is very moving and heartwarming.

My husband also decided that he wanted to share his knowledge of Jiu Jitsu to the local volunteers and workers.  Almost every night for 3 weeks, we would layout tarps teaching the local kids and young adults Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  It was wonderful to teach the locals, always ready for class, wide eyed and so eager to learn.

This whole experience was life changing.  It has moved us to share as much as we can to those in need.  We have started a charity called Solid Ground Foundation, where 100% of the money we raise goes directly to the families, communities and people in need.

Through local Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments and seminars, through profits from Katana Fight Gear (25% of all sales at www.katnafightgear) and through the generosity of private individual donations we will raise money to continue to help the victims of the Haiyan Typhoon.

Donations can be made through  We will have our website up and running in the next few months.

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