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550 Martial Artists at a Baseball Game. How did it happen?

By Rochelle E. Brenner

It was a perfectly beautiful summer night. The sun set on Center City Philadelphia as the Phillies pulled out a 7 to 5 win over the Cincinnati Reds with a double play to end the game.

But in section 329, something was different about the people in the stands. There were Black Belts from all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

It all happened because the Action Scholarship Fund and the Phillies partnered to increase access to martial arts for school programs and students around the city.

The Action Scholarship Fund reached out to martial arts schools throughout the area and asked them to offer their students the opportunity to purchase tickets for this night. Half the proceeds went back to the scholarship fund. Dozens of schools responded and $8,000 was raised.

The benefits from the Phillies for bringing so many people out: a ceremonial first pitch and a 2-minute informational video played on the big screen during the game. One of the legends of martial arts, 7x World Champion Master Anthony Atkins at age 41 did a trick combination of moves that he created for the occasion that few people in the world could even attempt. The ball hit the Phillie Phanatic in the glove and everyone was delighted.

For those who missed it, here is the viral can’t-miss video of the first pitch as well as the 2-minute martial arts video.

It was an epic night for the martial arts community. The only strikes were pitches. The only hits were on a ball. (Baseball + Karate = Irresistible bad puns)

It was a home run.

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