Martial-arts instructor recognized for philanthropy
Since he opened Mr. Jimmy’s White Tiger Martial Arts in Hagerstown a little more than a year ago, Smith has raised thousands of dollars, and provided several truckloads of food and clothing for charitable causes.
For his philanthropy, Smith received an award from the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame during a Nov. 6 ceremony in Florida.
“The award is in my name, but I couldn’t have done it without my students and the community,” Smith said. “Helping my community is great. It means they will give back to someone else.”
Smith said he was teaching martial arts at a studio in Hagerstown for about nine years before he and his wife, Marcia Watters, opened Mr. Jimmy’s White Tiger Martial Arts in the South End Shopping Center in August 2009.
“My fear was opening up with the economy the way it was,” Smith said. “I have 215 students. I would have been happy with 70. I guess the good Lord has blessed me.”
Over the last year, Smith has raised thousands of dollars for charitable causes, including $5,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The studio also has provided two truckloads of toys to Toys for Tots, and two truckloads of coats and gloves for the REACH shelter in Hagerstown.
On Nov. 8, Smith and Watters started another food drive to help the needy for Thanksgiving. A food drive to collect items for Christmas is taking place this month.
The studio pits students of different skill levels against each other in a contest to determine who can raise the most for charity, Watters said. The white, yellow and orange belts make up one team, while the green, blue, purple, red and brown belts comprise another. The black belts also compete.
“It’s about giving back to the community,” Smith said. “In martial arts, everyone can be a champion in life.”
Smith holds a fourth-degree black belt in tae kwon do and a fifth-degree black belt in hapkido. He said he teaches his students that it’s always better to walk away from a fight, except when the fight involves helping others.
“You don’t have to fight to be a man,” Smith said. “Martial arts is not about fighting. It’s about honor, integrity, discipline. It’s about making people better people.”
October 20, 2010
February 17, 2010
From left, Grace Wattersmith, a white belt student, martial arts school owner James C. Smith II and William Wattersmith, a 10-year-old black belt student.
Reaching out to needy
In October, it was breast cancer awareness, where its kickathon raised more than $3,000 for the Susan G. Komen fund.
In November, the students donated more than 500 pounds of food to Food Resources.
In December, the school adopted two Salvation Army families and helped them with Christmas. The students also donated boxes of new toys to the Toys for Tots program.
In January, the students donated new and gently used coats, blankets, hats and gloves for the homeless. The REACH Cold Weather Shelter received the items.
Each month, James C. Smith II, the master instructor and owner of White Tiger, talks to the students about the importance of being helpful to those in need.
For more information, call 301-790-1123.
December 20, 2009
Martial arts studio wins state recognition
Jimmy's White Tiger Martial Arts studio in Hagerstown received honors from the the state of Maryland in recognition of its outstanding fundraising efforts on behalf of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
The citation was signed by state Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.
The studio is in the South End Shopping Center.
December 18, 2009 - Herald Mail
Martial arts instructor wants students to earn black belt in community service
The members and owner of Mr. Jimmy’s White Tiger Martial Arts helped collect food and toys for people in the area that need them this holiday season. Fundraisers are held every month at the martial arts school with all proceeds benefiting a charitable cause. HAGERSTOWN — Black belt Jimmy Smith said he wants his young students to learn the importance of community service.
HAGERSTOWN — Black belt Jimmy Smith said he wants his young students to learn the importance of community service.
Since Smith opened Mr. Jimmy’s White Tiger Martial Arts in Hagerstown last August, the students in his after-school program have been doing everything from collecting food for the needy to raising money for breast cancer awareness programs.
The after-school program, which is held in the late afternoon and made up of school-age children, adopted two families for Christmas earlier this month.
Smith said those families will receive food, clothing and toys.
“Martial arts is not all about fighting,” Smith said. “It’s a good opportunity to teach the kids to help others.”
Marcia Watters, an instructor at the martial arts studio, said the adults try to make serving the community fun for the children by holding a pizza party for the belt-level that raises the most each month for charity.
About 50 children participate in the after-school program, said Hope Covert, program director. She said she asks the students what they want to do, “and they just do it.”
The children already have decided, for example, that next month they will collect blankets and coats for the homeless.
Covert said she did not have a lot while she was growing up, and wants to teach her students to appreciate all that they have.
“I think it’s important to teach these kids that not everyone has what you do,” she said.
Eleven-year-olds Mackala Thompson and Shianne Anders said it makes them happy to help raise food, clothing and toys for the needy.
Mackala said she donated some of her old toys to help bolster the collection.
“They’ll actually get to have something,” she said.
Shianne said she participated in an effort last month to collect more than 580 pounds of food.
“It makes me feel like a better person because I wouldn’t want to be starving for Thanksgiving,” she said.
Many of the children get help from their parents during the charitable drives.
Chad Sweigert, who studies martial arts at Mr. Jimmy’s with his 9-year-old son, Luke, said he feels fortunate to be in a position to help.
As district manager for GAP Inc., Sweigert said he was able to get Old Navy to donate clothes for children.
“It’s obviously the right thing to do — especially in these times,” Sweigert said. “I’m thankful that I’m fortunate enough to have a good job and a stable environment. I just like to contribute when I can.”
December 1, 2009 - Letter from Donald Munson
October 19, 2009
Cancer fundraiser inspires Hope
HAGERSTOWN — From her freshly dyed pink hair down to her hot pink socks, it’s clear that Hope Covert takes her fundraising efforts seriously.
Later this month, she will join her father in Tampa, Fla., for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer 3-Day event.
It’s a walk that requires commitment — a minimum of $2,300 in donations to participate and a willingness to train for the 60-mile, three-day walk.
Covert, 34, will walk for several reasons. It’s a way to honor her aunt — her mother’s sister — who died of breast cancer, and a way to spend time with her father, who lives in Tampa.
In her fundraising letter, Covert said she’s doing the walk so her 10-year-old daughter can “grow up without the pain of losing someone to this disease,” and for friends who have beaten breast cancer.
Covert grew up in Arnold, Md., near Annapolis, but her parents moved to Florida because of her father’s job. She and her family live in Hagerstown’s West End.
Covert’s mother is unable to participate because she has polymyalgia, which causes widespread aching and stiffness in older adults. Her father has either walked in the event, worked as a crew member or cheered on walkers since 2002. When he said he was walking this year, Covert felt the time was finally right to join him.
A mother of three children ranging in age from 7 to 14, Covert is also an after-school program instructor at Mr. Jimmy’s White Tiger Martial Arts Academy in the South End Shopping Center.
She organized a kick-a-thon and silent auction at the academy in mid-September, which raised about $2,000. Covert said students continue to add to the collection, which now stands at $2,667.
“The best part is little kids taking leftover birthday money and giving it (to the cause),” Covert said.
The donations helped Covert reach her fundraising goal, and helped her father reach his. She kept her promise to dye her hair pink — a big change from her natural auburn — for the month of October if her goal was met.
Covert said she’s had several people tell her it suits her personality, although her husband, Edwin, is “kind of weirded out” by the color, she said.
Covert said she didn’t know her aunt well when she was young, but got to know her when Covert was in her 20s. One of her favorite memories of her aunt is of her riding on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with her husband, sporting a bright red wig, “staring life in the face.”
“She wasn’t a lay-down-and-go person. The women in this family are a fighting bunch of women,” Covert said.
The walk is Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. Covert trains with four- to five-mile walks on the C&O Canal or walks around the South End Shopping Center parking lot between classes.
To make a tax-deductible donation to Covert’s team, Viva Las Chicas, and the Susan G. Komen fund, go to www.the3day.org and click on the donate button on the upper right side of the page.
October 17, 2009
Martial arts students raise $1,766 for breast cancer fund
On Sept. 19, Black Belt Hope Covert and Master Jimmy Smith of White Tiger Martial Arts Studio hosted a kickathon where 20 martial arts students kicked continuously to help the Susan G. Komen Fund help find a cure for breast cancer.
The martial arts facility in the South End Shopping Center held a silent auction with many items such as gift cards donated from local businesses and other items. The auction raised $286 and the kickathon raised $1,776 for the Komen fund.
One kicker, Adam Semler, raised a total of $1,240 and did more than 1,000 kicks during the event.
The kickers included James Wattersmith, William Wattersmith, Blair Baker, Adam Semler, Shianne Anders, Sierra Anders, Chris Gillespie, Logan Conway, Luke Conway, Trevor Conway, Zavian Conway, Vincent Jardina, Colson Yeakle, Ariel Dick, Avery Covert, Spenser Covert, James Briscoe, Kaleb Wise, Jordan Ekblad and Sean Piskor.
The money raised will go to the Komen fund, which sponsors an annual walkathon each year. Hope Covert has been a part of the three-day walk for the past seven years, along with her father, Bruce Schaeffer. This year, she will participate in the event in Tampa, Fla., on Halloween weekend.
Anyone interested in making a donation can do so by:
Sending a check to Jimmy White's Tiger Martial Arts Studio, 1123 Maryland Ave., Hagerstown MD 21740. In the memo section, put "donation for Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer."
October 8, 2009
Thumbs up to the students at Mr. Jimmy's White Tiger Martial Arts in Hagerstown, who raised more than $1,700 during a Sept. 19 kickathon for breast cancer. The event lasted 45 minutes and the students kicked more than 1,000 times.
Saturday September 19, 2009
HAGERSTOWN, MD - Students at Mr. Jimmy's White Tiger Martial Arts Studio had a good reason to practice their craft Friday.
The constant kicking helped to raise money for breast cancer.
All the money they brought in will go to one of the studio's black belt instructors. Her name is Hope Covert as she's preparing for a three-day walk for breast cancer.
The kids kicked over a thousand kicks in 30 minutes raising over $1,600. One student in particular, Adam Semler, raised over a $1,000 by himself.
Covert said, "The money we raised today will help for me to reach my goal which is why I have pink hair. My promise was if I reached my goal I'd color my hair pink until the walk. "
"100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer, this school does not receive any of it," said James Smith, the master instructor.
Money was also raised through a silent auction.
NBC25 NEWS - Braggin' rights go to a young girl studying a very old discipline.
Shianne Anders of Falling Waters, West Virginia started training in Tae Kwon Do when she was five years old.
She earned her second degree black belt earlier this year.
She attends class six days a week at Mr. Jimmy's White Tiger Martial Arts in Hagerstown.
She trains for for several hours and she's only 10 years old.
August 10, 2009 - Herald Mail Newspaper
Mr. Jimmy’s White Tiger Martial Arts
Owner: James C. Smith II
Address: 1123 Maryland Ave., Hagerstown, MD 21740 (South End Shopping Center)
Opening date: Aug. 3
Products and services: Tae kwon do, karate and self-defense; martial arts; after-school martial arts program
Market area: Hagerstown
How did you get into your business, or what motivated you to start it? Smith has studied martial arts since 2003 and is a fourth-degree black belt. His desire to keep teaching traditional tae kwon do led him to leave his former studio.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.
Phone number: 301-790-1123
August 23, 2009 - WHAG TV 25 News
Mr Jimmy's White Tiger Martial Arts was at Williamsport Days over the weekend. Thanks to all who supported us! We did get a clip on WHAG TV News! Check us out!!