You may have picked up on this by now, but we’re really into martial arts. Most of us spend our weekends watching MMA on television while streaming kickboxing from Holland. We’ve become pretty good at watching two screens at the same time while maintaining amazing levels of comprehension. All of us are, collectively, a cult of writers, photographers, fans, but first and foremost, friends; and today, we’re giving the entire MMA community an opportunity to help a fellow martial artist who really needs it.
Chris Romulo is a retired Muay Thai fighter who owns and operates a gym [http://crom-mt.com/] about one block from his house. He and his wife, Sarah, train local boxers and MMA fighters before they enter the highest levels of competition. Amongst their roster of students are a New York Golden Gloves champion, multiple-time Thai-Boxing champions, and several past and present UFC fighters. It may be a small gym, but there’s a lot of heart that flows over their zebra mats. In fact, if you ever visit the training facility, you’ll notice that there’s a motto tattooed along every pair of shorts, every t-shirt, and every wall: “All it takes is heart.”
Chris and Sarah mentor local kids and run seminars on anti-bullying in some of New York City’s roughest neighborhoods. CROM Martial Training is a martial arts center situated in a community that really needs one. They teach discipline, self-respect, and the Bushido spirit to people from all walks of life. It’s a place people can go to unwind after a hard day at work, a rough day at school, or most importantly, if they have nowhere else to go and just want to stay out of trouble.
Unfortunately, this prized community center is located in Rockaway Beach, New York, and was subsequently submerged in approximately six to ten feet of water during Hurricane Sandy. After personally jumping in a car with volunteers from multiple Muay Thai and MMA gyms to help clean up the damage, we quickly discovered that there was very little to be salvaged. Every boxing glove, every Thai pad, every shin guard… All of it soaked in filthy mud from the storm surge. Sadly, the entire gym was destroyed and there is nothing left to salvage.
Dozens of people came to help Chris clean out his home and gym, and while we’ve emptied the space and began tearing down drywall, the toxic mold has forced their family (and hundreds of other families) to evacuate the condemned surrounding buildings.
We understand that Hurricane Sandy affected hundreds of thousands of people, and we want to help the martial arts community by helping CROM Martial Training get back on its feet. We also understand that all of you love MiddleEasy clothing and you’ve been bugging us on twitter for new stuff before the holidays, so we’ve teamed up with The Artlete and CROM Martial Training to create a shirt you can wear proudly to help support the rebuilding of Rockaway Beach and their only Muay Thai gym.
Check out the shirt, designed by Dan Dejos of Artlete:
[insert shirt design, please keep it on the small side, we want people to click on it and go directly to Artlete via hyperlink]
And here’s where you go to pre-order it: [Dan is setting up the page on his site, we’re directing traffic to him]
Here’s how it’s going to work:
- This is a limited edition presale. It is available until [insert date/time here]
- 100% of the proceeds go towards rebuilding CROM Martial Training so the kids and young adults of Rockaway Beach have a place to go after school and stay out of trouble in this challenging time.
- Once the presale has ended, we will begin producing and shipping shirts for the people who purchased them
- After the deadline, you will never be able to purchase this shirt anywhere else
- Buying a shirt comes with a free hug from CatVonC or Jason Nawara, whichever you prefer. Zeus is busy playing HALO 4 and I have a cold and/or STDs so hugs from us are temporarily off limits.
[Deadline is up to you, Zeus. I suggest 1-2 weeks, but again, entirely up to you. I’m guessing this will be a sticky, so more-or-less as long as you’re willing to give it.]
If you buy a shirt, you’re an instant hero and we’ll tell the entire world you’re an underground street MMA champion. If you can’t afford to, or you’ve already collected all the change of your sofa and spent it on more Doritos, you can retweet this page or share it on your facebook timeline, because you probably have friends that are also into MMA and Muay Thai. Every penny counts, and getting the word out would mean a lot for a family that made it their mission to help others in their times of need.
If you don’t want a shirt, but want to help with a small donation instead (or in addition to buying a shirt), the Muay Thai Presevation Project has established a 501(c)(3) recognized non-profit paypal account where 100% of funds go directly to CROM Martial Training. Donations ARE tax deductable.
Donate via PayPal to [email protected] – Include “CROM FUND” in the comments of the PayPal transaction.
Lastly, you can also help by attending TaKe-On’s Muay Thai at the Mecca tonight at Madison Square Garden. A portion of every ticket sale goes to Chris and his family, and there will be 50/50 raffle. You can treat yourself to an amazing evening of fights in the process.
Together, we can help the Rockaways restore an important staple of their community while giving lots of local fighters a place to train again. Thanks to everyone who helps out in any way.