On April 24-26, the 2nd annual Blackbelts for Butterflies event was held at the Bushido Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Manchester, CT. This 3-day seminar brought together 10 top jiu-jitsu instructors from across the United States, a host of enthusiastic black belts, and over 60 students from across New England. All proceeds from the event benefited Dylan's Wings of Change.
The event was created and managed by Rich McKeegan of Wethersfield, CT, a jiu-jitsu student at the Bushido Academy. Deeply touched by the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on 12/14/12, Rich designed a patch in memory of those killed that raised money for scholarship funds. The patch was popular across the jiu-jitsu world, a huge community known for its support of causes or families in need. But this particular journey was very personal for Rich, whose own son was born on the morning of that horrific event. After connecting with the Hockley family and identifying with Dylan's Wings of Change, he developed the concept for the seminar.
In May 2014, Rich and the Bushido Academy staged the first Blackbelts for Butterflies, with world-renowned instructors volunteering their services and great attendance from students. About planning for the second event, Rich said "After the success of last year, I was inundated with requests from instructors to teach at the next seminar, and received amazing support from sponsors including Shoyoroll and OSS Gear. I am heartened by the continued support from the jiu-jitsu community for this great event, and we are already starting to plan next year’s event here in Manchester and a partner event on the west coast."
Dylan's Wings of Change is very grateful to Rich for his continuing dedication to our cause, as well as to the Bushido Jiu-Jitsu Academy for hosting the event and the many instructors who came from across the country to freely share their knowledge and experience. Our thanks also to the many organizers behind the scenes and all the students who attended.
(Want to stay informed about future Blackbelts for Butterflies events? Click and like the B4B Facebook page.)