A Gym That Gives back

When most people think of Santa Barbara, they probably picture beautiful sunsets, cruise ships, or even fancy resturaunts. What most people probably don’t think of is the local youth and their well-being. In this photo essay, I will show you a glimps of one way kids are getting an opportunity that might sace their lives.

Some of the future champs, putting in work.
Owner of Knuckle Up Boxing.

Meet Danny Madrigal, the man who offers his backyard as personal gym to the youth of Santa Barbara. He calls it “Knuckle Up Boxing”. Danny himself has kids, and in the proscess of raising them on the westside of Santa Barbara he realized the importance of self defense. People dont realize that There are parts of Santa Barbara that dont fit the typical wealthy and priveldged stereotype. Knowing that without after school activities, it could be easy for young kids to get into trouble and even hanging out with the wrong crowds.

Knuckle Up Boxing is all the knockout, but helping comes first.
“Knuckles Up boxing, makes it their intention to keep kids off the streets, out of gangs, and to provide the youth with the capacity to defend themselves and have fun while doing it” -Danny Madrigal
You’ll hardley ever see these kids with their hands down, this is the first rule of boxing.
Rudy is a true gentleman of the sport.

This is Rudy Lopez, he is 60-years old and has never felt better. He has over 40 years of boxing experience and is one of the volunteer coaches at Knuckle Up Boxing. Not only do these coaches help with boxing techniques, they also make sure these kids are getting tought good life lessons. They hope that this will help them stay out of gangs and focus their mind on what future has in store for them. In short, we need more people like Rudy in this world.

At 73-years old, Rudy can keep up with just about anyone.

At first, it started off as just a few kids, close to the owners family. After a couple months, word started getting out about this free gym with amazing trainers. One thing led to another, now there are about 15 kids every Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday. This is exactly what Danny and the parents of all these kids were looking for. A way to help kids learn a new skill, get involved in after-school activities, and have fun while doing it.

Some of the kids gather around, as some one-on-one sparring practice is distracting everyone.
A young man, with enough courage to go toe-to-toe with Rudy.
Roman Diaz is one of Knuckle Up Boxing’s most promising athlete.

Ramon Diaz is born and raised on the East Side of Santa Barbara. He was on of Knuckle Up Boxing’s first athlete to compete out the gym. He is 18 years old and said that this gym saved his life. Not only does this gym give him a great workout, it helps him relax after a long day of work. Most importantly, it gives Ramon the ability to feel comfortable walking the streets at night knowing he has the ability to defend himself.

One of the hardest hitters here, Ramon is at this gym every day trying to learn more and teach his peers.

What Knuckle Up Boxing has done so far is amazing, considering no one else is doing anything like this. These kids dont have enough money to join a gym that costs $100 a month. For most of these kids, this gym is all they have and it is a second home for them. However there is a problem. Now that this gym is getting more popular every day, its hard to get a good workout due to the tight space. Not to mention the gear is getting very old and starting to fall apart. Danny is in the process of trying to raise funds to get this gym a new home. This new gym is for a great cause and has some very experienced volunteers to help coach. Lets help raise some money for these kids.

One of few bags that has seen better days.
The spaces are tight, and the gear is falling apart, but the love is all there.
One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.