Elite TOMA Martial Arts students have kicked and punched their way to raising more than $18,000 for the Goryeb Children's Hospital.
The Randolph Township martial arts school raised the money at their 19th annual Break-A-Thon for charity on Saturday, Oct. 19, at their Sussex Turnpike academy.
Elite TOMA students presented the impressive check to Goryeb representatives during their third Black Belt Extravaganza, held Sunday, Nov. 17, at Center Grove Elementary School in Randolph.
The Extravaganza is a bi-annual showcase for students testing for their black belts and other student performances. The day represented the fourth day of grueling testing for four 2nd degree black belt candidates: Dae Han Jo, Christian DeFinis, Christian Dziedzic and Evan Baidwan, all of Randolph; and third day of testing for three 1st degree black belt candidates: Rounika Nuni of Denville, Evelyn Entel of Roxbury Township, and Akhil Beere of Randolph. All seven candidates successfully completed their testing.
The funds are to be used to complete a family garden project for the hospital.
The Break-A-Thon is a yearly tradition and a way for students to put their leadership training into action within their own community, said Elite TOMA's Chief Instructor Jae Jo.
For each $5 students raised for the hospital, they received one wooden board at the Break-A-Thon, where they chopped, kicked and punched their way through thousands of boards, Jo said.
Elite TOMA’s first Break-A-Thon was held in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since then, more than 1,000 Elite TOMA students have participated in the Break-A-Thon, raising nearly $500,000 for a variety of different organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, the Valerie Fund, Hurricane Sandy relief, the Randolph First Aid Squad, The Seeing Eye, The Wounded Warrior Project, and Homeless Solutions in Morristown.
“Here at Elite TOMA, our curriculum is focused on developing the whole student, not only physically but mentally as well. Our program teaches students to become compassionate leaders who strive to help others. The Break-A-Thon encompasses all that we teach: not only kicking and punching, but respect, leadership and putting others before ourselves,” said Jo.