The Guardian Project started in early 2013 when co-founders Ben Kovacs and Joel Lunenfeld, who met while working together at Twitter, bonded over a passion for Martial Arts and a shared desire to give back..
Our gym was founded on the belief that almost everyone wants to be a part of a tribe. This is most obvious – and its healthy fulfillment most critical - with kids and young adolescents. Between the obligations of school and family, children have limited opportunities to insert themselves into a passion of their own choosing.
We believe that it is critical for the children in our community to find a healthy, progressive tribe that helps them to become better students and family members. If they don't, they will find something else entirely.
The founders and instructors at Guardian can all testify to the incredible benefits that training and competing have brought to their lives. While on the mats, we have made friends, found jobs, cultivated discipline and coped with life’s hardships. When we first opened the doors of the gym in January, 2016, we did so with the idea of giving back to the community of Oakland via our passion for martial arts.
As of September 2017, we have more than 300 students, with our numbers equally split between free youth students and paying adults. In a short time, we’ve built a thriving team of men and women of all ages and experience levels, from total newbies to world champions. In addition, we have launched the Guardian National Scholarship which supports students around the country who are in need of scholarships to train martial arts.
We are all, simultaneously, improving both ourselves and our community, and we’d love for you to join us at Guardian in the capacity of your choosing!