Rickyjon Balgenorth teaching karate to elementary school students with the Purdue Karate Club copy

Inspiring Generations: Rickyjon Balgenorth Leads Kicks for Kids Nonprofit

Kicks for Kids was founded in 2021 by Rickyjon Balgenorth in memory of the passing of Faizon Rowen. This nonprofit aims at developing the next generation by teaching karate to communities for free, providing funding for families, and sponsoring events.

In 2021, Kicks for Kids was founded by Rickyjon Balgenorth in memory of Faizon Rowan. Since then, it has inspired and helped hundreds of people and many communities across the nation through martial arts. Kicks for Kids has been making a difference by teaching karate to children for free and hosting community events.

During one of the nonprofit’s events, kids were taught martial arts techniques and how to handle self-defense situations by Rickyjon Balgenorth. The large group of kids had their eyes glued on him the whole time:

“I have never seen these kids be this focused, motivated, and happy,” said Julia, a student group coordinator, “Rickyjon is young, but amazing at how he works with them.”

The event was filled with fun drills, engaging kids to work together, and funny demonstrations. At the end of the event, the kids played a big game using what they have learned, then finished off with a bow and big smiles on their faces.

Rickyjon Balgenorth teaching a beginners class at Okamotos Karate
Rickyjon Balgenorth teaching a beginner’s class at Okamoto’s Karate

Rickyjon is a previous national karate kata champion and represents Team USA at select international events. “My goals have shifted from competing to teaching,” Rickyjon said, “but competition has inspired so many of my students, so I’ll keep going for just a little longer.” He has been teaching and training karate as much as possible ever since he was very young with his old partner Faizon. “We trained all day, competed, lost, and we loved it. Our goals were very simple: to train and help others.”

Currently Rickyjon Balgenorth attends Purdue University and studies Aerospace Engineering. He helps teach the Purdue Karate Club and is set to work as an engineering intern this summer in the space and defense industry.

Rickyjon Balgenorth teaching karate to elementary school students with the Purdue Karate Club.
Rickyjon Balgenorth teaching karate to elementary school students with the Purdue Karate Club.

Kicks for Kids has recently started the ability to fund financially unable families for martial arts lessons and competition costs. “Martial arts lessons are expensive and especially competitions” Rickyjon said. The nonprofit aims to give access to these opportunities to not block the kids’ access to the benefits of learning martial arts and their potential:

“Teaching Karate has made such a profound impact on people individually far more than I have seen anywhere else. It is important to show why people should learn martial arts through these benefits. You also have to make it fun for the kids of course.”