This has been one of the strangest years of our lifetimes. A global pandemic, political insurrections, emboldened systemic and social violence against communities of color... it’s hard to establish ones bearings and base let alone make any long term plans for the future. Many people continue to struggle with the financial and physical hardships this last year has held. Despite or perhaps within the light this period has cast upon our lives, we have been continually taken back by the level of care, support and tenacity our communities have displayed. Although our bounds have been challenged by isolation and the lack of physical connection, we are grateful for everyone’s effort to do their best to connect in the digital world.
There is something about sweating, moving, and breathing all in the same space that has united many of us in ways that are difficult to describe and impossible to replicate. This space has served as a refuge, a home, a sanctuary and arena where life long friendships have been built. It is transformative and regenerative. It is a place where I have personally found a sense of purpose, love, heartbreak and elation. Not being able to meet regularly with my students, colleagues and friends has removed something that feels vital however I am proud of our communities values and prioritization of compassion and safety, where we have worked hard and made efforts to adapt to the challenges life has set forth.
This year has also held a tremendous amount of loss for many. Folks continue to struggle and many small businesses have shutdown. We have been fortunate to continue on by offering Zoom classes and went fully digital with classes last March, however it has been a struggle from the start. Our priorities have always been in providing something for those who have been excluded and we have fought to keep our doors open and accessible often at the cost of barely being able to cover the expenses of running a brick and mortar business. After over 6 years of expanding access to martial arts and combat sports to many, we’ve decided that turning the structure of Four Elements Fitness into a nonprofit is now its best chance of survival.
Myself and Sharon are stepping down as owners and TuffLove Fitness (501c3 nonprofit) will be taking the reigns. we wish them the best in their endeavors and hope the communities will continue to support and help them grow so they can continue to provide these life changes services to the communities that need them most. I am proud of what a one of a kind place and group that has worked together and made something very special. I am excited about this next chapter and although I will be leaving the Bay Area, a piece of my heart will forever be here.
Thank you again to everyone who’s set foot into this space and shared the mats with us. Check out the great work TuffLove Fitness is doing and if you can make a contribution to support them in this next chapter of Four Elements, you can do so here.
Sharon & Shawn
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