Learning to help others!

Every year the J.K. Lee Black Belt Academies join together to support childhood cancer research. It’s a lesson in community service, empathy and understanding. Plus we get to work on our best breaking techniques! This year we helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of the event and broke the million dollar mark for total raised since the break-a-thon began!

Community Partnerships

Our mission is provide all youth and families an opportunity to become a martial artist! We are so happy to be able to work with so many schools, continuing learning centers and community organizations that are helping to improve our city! We are thankful to our donors, sponsors and volunteers who make the work possible!50091224_2543655192316244_6165078953842180096_n (1)

Together we can make a difference!

Never Ending Improvement

Every time we promote to the next rank, we learn about what we need to do to get better. Belt tests help us set short and long term goals. They remind us of the importance of practice. The new year is always a super time to reflect on our goals! In class we talk about our martial art goals, our school goals and our home goals. We remind our students that it’s never about being perfect. It’s important to persevere (one of our tenets) and always practice!

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1000 Kicks!

At a program on Thursday, I challenged the class (and myself) to do 1000 kicks. We talked about having strong fundamentals for tournament. We talked about Bruce Lee’s quote “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” We did some math (how many kicks to we need to do in a minute to get in 1000 in 30 minutes?) We all did 200 ax, 200 front, 200 side, 200 roundhouse and 200 back kicks, with a stretch between the sets. The class did 16000 kicks! Throughout the class, we talked about perseverance, and having an “I can do it attitude!” We learned that we were stronger than we thought and maybe we should push ourselves harder more often.

A short talk about us!

We were super proud to be invited to talk about our program on Dr. Peder Piering’s Ignite Your Life weekly podcast.

“Ignite Your Life is a podcast from Sport Psychologist Dr. Peder Piering. Each episode is dedicated to making the intangibles of personal and performance excellence tangible. By interviewing athletes Dr. Piering will delve into the psychological aspects of peak performance. From character development and confidence to overcoming obstacles and adversity, this podcast will give you insights from various athletes and coaches with a wealth of expertise. As a clinical and sport psychologist for over 15 years Dr. Piering has worked and learned from 1000’s of athletes. During that time he has developed a psychology of excellence that helps athletes gain the competitive edge.” Apple iTunes


101 Ways to Help our Nonprofit Program

We’ve had many inquiries about how to help so our team put together this idea of suggestions. Some are unique to our martial arts school. Some are super ideas for helping nonprofits anywhere.

We welcome all volunteers! You don’t have to be a martial artist to want to make the world better. Invite your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to become part of our mission to help children reach their potential and make Milwaukee a stronger, safer and more inclusive community!

What to do?

Everyone is different! There are many ways to be a part of the solution. Together we can do great things! This is not an all-inclusive list. We welcome ideas, creativity and your unique talents. Some things take longer than others, so you may need to pick more than one. Some are more suitable for adults. Build a service plan that works for you. It’s not in any particular order, although lead instructors are always our biggest need.

  1. Adult Lead Instructors at After School Programs Multiple Locations M-F sometime between 2:30-6:00 and Saturday Morning. Call for schedule.
  2. Assistant Instructors at After School Programs
  3. Adult Lead Instructors at Holton Youth & Family Center (HYFC) Call for schedule.
  4. Assistant Instructors at HYFC
  5. Homework Help at HYFC MTTh 5:15-6:00pm Sun 11:00am
  6. Serve as a Board Member
  7. Board Committee (adults) Friendraising/Fundraising
  8. Board Committee (adults) Marketing
  9. Board Committee (adults) Programs
  10. Board Committee (adults) Finance
  11. Be on our Gala Committee
  12. Join the Annual Campaign Committee
  13. Help with Gala Set Up and Take Down
  14. Prepare Annual Campaign Mailers
  15. Host an informational lunch
  16. Have a pre-event cocktail party
  17. Help with website
  18. Write articles for our blog/newsletter
  19. Create short promotional videos about student activities
  20. Create short promotional videos about fundraising events
  21. Be a J.K. Lee location ambassador Make announcements, pass out flyers
  22. Be a corporate ambassador
  23. Create a matching campaign for the gala
  24. Create a matching campaign for end of year drive
  25. Host a donor breakfast
  26. Help with monthly lunch & learns at HYFC
  27. Host a corporate lunch & learn
  28. Help at Friday Family Nights
  29. Contribute a dish for a Friday Family Night Dinner
  30. Work with our Friday afternoon sparring class at HYFC
  31. Watch Front Desk at HYFC
  32. Help with Inventory at HYFC
  33. Help with filing at HYFC
  34. Hand write thank you notes
  35. Help with cleaning at HYFC
  36. Collect nonperishable kid snack food
  37. Collect gently used (but still tournament approved) sparring gear
  38. Help set up our Haunted House (October 26)
  39. Work at our Haunted House
  40. Help with 2019 Summer Camp Week
  41. Help with Twitter
  42. Help with Instagram
  43. Help with Facebook
  44. Share, like and comment on our Facebook Posts
  45. Mentor/Partner an individual student 
  46. Help with Spring Carnival
  47. Host a Korean Cooking Class
  48. Organize Library at Holton
  49. Organize donated sparring gear
  50. Take home/launder/return school uniforms
  51. Help our Grant Writer
  52. Make thank you calls
  53. Provide information at Open Houses
  54. Help with special school programs
  55. Promote our Amazon Smiles link
  56. Officiate at Testings at HYFC
  57. Sell J.K. Lee City Youth Merchandise
  58. Help with Neighborhood Walk
  59. Help at area clean ups
  60. Help at National Night Out
  61. Create Giving Tuesday flyer
  62. Share Giving Tuesday Information
  63. Design Handouts for Students
  64. Share CYMAP student stories
  65. Prep materials for new volunteers
  66. Prep materials for annual all school instructor meeting
  67. Help with Instructor Reflection Lunch
  68. Staff an informational table at testing
  69. Create and Distribute Yard Signs

Help between classes at HYFC for club time by

  1. Teaching Piano
  2. Reading to small children
  3. Working on a craft
  4. Playing chess
  5. Do a science experiment
  6. Other music lessons

Help raise funds by:

  1. Bake sale
  2. Car wash
  3. Yard sale
  4. Penny War
  5. Valentine Sale
  6. Cupcake War
  7. Dodgeball Tournament
  8. Dog/Pet Show
  9. Kick Marathon
  10. Pancake Breakfast
  11. Rummage Sale
  12. Gift Wrapping Service
  13. Chili Cook Off
  14. Dog Wash
  15. Art Show
  16. Talent Show
  17. Pie Throwing Contest
  18. Spaghetti Dinner
  19. Celebrate your birthday on Facebook
  20. Promote our Amazon Smiles link
  21. Sell gala tickets
  22. Organize a “dine out for CYMAP” night
  23. Host a self-defense workshop for your team/school/work
  24. Find auction item donors
  25. Solicit Corporate Sponsorships

And if you’re stuck wondering what to do or have an extra hour

  1.  Call our Executive Director and see what we most need this week!

Giving and Getting

Studies show that charitable giving and service activates the same parts of your brain as eating chocolate or drinking a glass of wine. It feels good to give. We think you’ll be surprised by all you get in return. We learn from our students and families. We become more aware and understanding. Our own martial arts practice becomes stronger.

Thank you!

Our program is made possible through your support, generosity and love of martial arts. We are proud of the growth we see in our students and the difference we are making in the community!





Summer Camp Surprise Lessons

We held our first summer camp this past week. On the final day, we worked on this short film. The students embraced the entire project. We came up with the script together. They found/created props. They worked out scene locations. They choreographed the fight scenes. (One of the students, looking at the raw footage, exclaimed that “It looks like we’re really fighting!”) They encouraged and helped each other. It brought an immediate meaning to our martial arts moves and highlighted the importance of self control and practice. The filming pushed us to be our best. More than one student asked me to tape their scene again, saying “I can do it better!”


A Master’s Example


Every summer at our annual gala supporting our nonprofit martial arts program, an individual is given the Grand Master J.K. Lee Award for Ethics and Integrity. It is awarded to an individual of high character, committed to community service. The honoree for 2018 was Master Mark Kemp. Master Kemp was one of our first volunteer instructors. He still takes time to work with our teen class and special programs. He is an excellent example of what it means to be a martial artist.
Mark Kemp is the current CEO of Superior Masonry and Concrete Builders, Inc., Past Chairman of MCAA, present Chairman of the Masonry Foundation, President of ACEA of Milwaukee, Past President of WMA and MCA-Milwaukee and a board member for numerous organizations. He graduated from UWM with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Urban Real-Estate Development. Master Kemp and his wife Pauline of 42 yeas have raised three children, Connie, Brian and Christin. They have nine grandchildren comprising of eight girls and one boy. They both cherish the time they spend with their children and grandchildren. Family is the center of their life.
In 1999, after completing a marathon, he decided to pursue something he had always had an interest in, martial arts. After investigating several martial arts schools, he decided on J.K. Lee because of Grand Master Lee’s classes. Currently two of his children’s families have joined. Two years ago, Mark and two of his grandchildren did family forms at the J.K. Lee Tournament. They finished second, but it was a highlight for him even though the kids teased him about bringing them down to second place. He is planning to enter this year with three Kemp family generations, his daughter and three of his grandchildren. When all the grandchildren get together they are constantly doing martial arts drills and take turns teaching class. Martial arts and the J.K. Lee family is part of who he is, and he would not want it any other way.  He believes it is important to give young people hope and purpose, to see them grow in confidence and build leadership skills.