Guardian was founded in 2015 when former Twitter employees Ben Kovacs & Joel Lunenfeld discovered that they had a shared passion for martial arts, specifically boxing and Brazilian jiu jitsu. They quickly realized that the love of those sports was something that others shared, yet unfortunately the high cost of training was prohibiting so many Oakland youth and their families from participating. Soon they decided to start a non-profit in order to lower the barrier of entry, so that interested youth would have an opportunity to fall in love with these great sports and have their lives changed both on and off the mats. 

Guardian opened its doors in December of 2015 with a humble start; the gym had no students and only two part-time instructors. Not long after opening, Sacha Feinman joined Guardian as the managing director of the gym, taking on a number of responsibilities including community outreach, school recruitment, and organizing the boxing curriculum. Over the next 9 months, Guardian saw an enormous increase in both youth and adult members, and a dedicated and passionate community started taking form.

Today, Guardian has more than 400 students, which consists of roughly 160 FREE youth students with the rest being adults members. In a short time, a thriving team has been built of men and women of all ages and experience levels, from total newbies to world champions.

For more information about how to start a gym like Guardian in your community visit the Starting Guardian Page.