ELLSWORTH – Breaking boards and raising money to fight cancer was all in a day’s work for some young martial artists in Ellsworth.
A Ninja Recital put on by Riot Martial Arts showcased their talented students.
In all, 54 students of all ages raised money for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life by performing their skills under a symbolic theme.
“It was about showing love with our actions and the message was that real leaders are leaders who are going to do for others,” Holly Lounder, chief instructor, said.
The recital was also an opportunity for the students to show their growth.
“Teaching them, honestly, it’s a blessing because you’re able to see them develop from not just physically but you’re also able to see them develop as people and human beings,” she said.
The event was the first one in six years.
That’s because both chief instructors had Lyme disease and it took years for them to get physically, mentally and emotionally healthy enough to get to this point.
“We lost our home, we lost our studio, we had a disease, it wasn’t covered by insurance and so we had to pay for everything out of pocket and we just had people that had our backs and just kept helping build up the other studios that we’ve had,” said Scott Lounder, chief instructor.
“We recently moved in here at the Mill Mall and we’re now at 130 students and we just absolutely love it,” he said.
Their years of helping the community with their important life lessons, values and teachings came full circle.
“If it wasn’t for the community and the awesome people around here we probably wouldn’t be teaching today. They got together and they did fundraisers for us to help pay for our treatment and people just stepped up at the right time when we needed it,” Lounder said.
The event featured a combination of martial arts, music and a story.