- Posted September 25, 2012 by
Harlem, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
A Plea to Reduce the Violence
Bartendaz physical fitness program in your area. Bartendaz is a dynamic martial arts and physical training program engineered to bolster fitness, discipline, self-esteem and actualization for practitioners. A combination of military drills, calisthenics and break dancing, Bartendaz physical fitness practice does not only transform bodies; it transforms lives. In 1993, the Bartendaz founder, Hassan Yasin, was practicing his own unique fitness drills at a park in Harlem. Intrigued, a group of young men nearby began watching and asked for him to explain his technique.
Within a few weeks, the number of followers was in the dozens. And within that five years the Bartendaz method was being instructed in over 20 New York City Public Schools. The most remarkable result of the program was not the increase in muscular strength and capacity but the dramatic turnaround in the lives of the students. In finding gratification and peer validation in fitness, many of the students chose to veer away from vice and delinquency and reshape their lives.
Because of its foundation in hip-hop culture, Bartendaz has been extraordinarily popular with urban youth, and has been a huge success in the most high-risk schools. The Bartendaz program uses a down to earth approach, in 4 week to full semester courses integrating martial style discipline with dynamic rhythmic drills.
This fusion is so engaging that it allows for seamless leadership training and public health education across age lines effectively reaching elementary to high school youth. As such, practitioners of Bartendaz not only advance in their physical fitness, they advance towards their actualization and life goals.
In his address to the public who were in and around the park he made many references to the Quran and The Bible saying how we should take a look at ourselves and see that we were made in the image of our creator; that we are greater than the violence that has been begotten. He also made a great reference to the late great Michael Jackson quoting his verse from the song "Man in the Mirror" "If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change"
Photos were taken by Shomari Green of Gain-Green Productionz and Darryl "The Harlem Hitman" Howard for Harlem Pix