Area Non-Profit Established to Help Children Learn Martial Arts

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – Guardian Grappling Foundation, of Franklin, has announced its official launch as a nonprofit corporation in Pennsylvania.

(Pictured above: Left to right – Seth Updegraff, Eric Decker, Devin Forgey, Matt Bauer, Cullen Flaherty, and Ben Quigley.)

Guardian will be helping to fund training, uniforms, and other expenses for disadvantaged and at-risk children and young adults in the areas of martial arts and grappling.

“We saw a need and we filled it,” explained Matt Bauer, Executive Director of Guardian Grappling Foundation. had the opportunity to interview a few of the board members to find out who they are and why they decided to start a nonprofit organization.

According to Bauer, the group was formed after he and Ben Quigley, owner of Sonic Jiu-Jitsu, in Franklin, noticed a need in the community. Quiqley had a number of students in his child’s class that he trained free of charge. Bauer has been donating some uniforms, a Gi (as it is called in many martial arts), and other equipment as needed. There were more children that could benefit from their charity than the two of them could help alone.

“We wanted to help our community. For one reason or another, I get a lot of kids wanting to train but cannot. I never want to turn a kid down. Jiu-Jitsu, any martial art, helps children in so many ways. Discipline, structure, fitness, self-defense. That’s just a few,” said Quigley.

With this in mind, Bauer and Quigley approached some fellow martial artists and friends for help. As a group, they decided the best way to help was to form a nonprofit corporation and file for 501c3 status, which is currently pending approval. Leveraging their relationships in the local community and in the sports community, the foundation hopes to develop into a state-wide program capable of helping as many children as possible.

“We are in the process of vetting programs and gyms across the state who are interested in training kids through the foundation. We want to ensure they get the best training and the facilities and staff are safe for the kids,” added Quigley.

“Developing the mentality and habits of a martial artist at a young age will prepare these children for a more successful future,” said Cullen Flaherty. “We’ve dedicated ourselves to learning, and now we want to share that with the next generation.”


Guardian Grappling Foundation will be soliciting donations and sponsorship from businesses and individuals alike, offering the community a chance to invest in its children.

“We have many exciting programs in development not only for the kids but for the sponsorship of the kids. It’s not limited to Jiu-Jitsu. We’re including programs in multiple martial arts in gyms across the state. We’re even working to develop some boxing programs and a program for the whole family to train,” said Eric Decker.

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