NAMPA, Idaho — "We would hang out right there with all the gang members, we would hang out at this bridge right here and just wait for people, wait for anybody that wasn’t on our side," said Salvador Ramirez.
Twelve years ago Ramirez met Cosmo Zimik and both of their lives would change, Ramirez under the teachings of Master Cosmo would go on to win five belts including two Muay Thai championships fighting in Thailand while several of his friends either died or went to prison.
"You just look at the ceiling and all you see is the ceiling until you get someone who comes along and says why don’t you come outside with me," said Ramirez. "There is something higher you can reach, you might need a ladder, but you can get there and that’s when I met Cosmo."
Around this time Cosmo founded Empty Hand Combat and he's helped a countless number of kids through Kung Fu and Muay Thai, the parents of these kids were so thankful they organized an effort to tell Cosmo's story in a documentary.
Cosmo grew up in war-torn India, he became a black belt at the age of nine, when he was 17-years-old he was tortured and left for dead, but Cosmo survived that experience and several other contracts on his life to fight his way to Nampa.
"He has helped me grow in a lot of ways in my spirituality and learning how to defend myself," said Ruthie Cross a black belt who has grown into an instructor position at Empty Hand Combat. "I never really believed in myself I had no confidence, but he really brings that out in you."
To raise money for the documentary the Life of a Dojo Master Cosmo's students sought out pledges to perform a katathon, this is where they practice a form 100 times to perfect it.
"This is just an idea that popped into our heads we are trying to find something to raise money so were like maybe we should do a katathon," said Jenny Barajas. “I’m actually really excited, I’ve been preparing for this making sure I don’t fall in front of the camera or anything and just being prepared for this documentary."
But Cosmo hopes this documentary will showcase how people can make a difference in our community by sharing their passion and their time.
“We want you to go adopt a kid for five years or ten years I’ve known Ramirez for 12 years," said Cosmo. “It’s really powerful when you hear a story like Ramirez he thinks I’m his hero, but actually he’s my hero."
The students will continue fundraising and if you are interested in helping out click here.