By Post Staff
For over 50 years Sifu Bill and Mary Owens have owned and operated Cascos Martial Arts Academy in East Oakland.
They have specialized in teaching self-defense, cultural awareness, educational values, and self-confidence to students of all ages. But the COVID-19 pandemic has nearly brought down the dojo located at 7415 MacArthur Blvd.
The Owens hoped that students would return after the shutdown and they did, but not in the numbers they had before. Having prided himself for never turning away a student who could not pay, last summer Bill Owens found himself far behind on his mortgage.
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley helped them secure a small grant to try to recover from the pandemic, but they have been served with a foreclosure notice anyway.
Miley has again responded by making a $5,000 donation to the Private Industry Council (PIC), which will, in turn, provide aid to the dojo. The Oakland Post is planning to match Miley’s contribution.
Post Publisher Paul Cobb said he will help Miley and PIC Executive Director Ray Lankford raise the funds to prevent the dojo from closing.
“We must fight for constructive programs to save our youth in the same manner that the community rallied to raise more than $80,000 to prevent foreclosure of the North Oakland Baptist Church’s properties,” Cobb said.
The Cascos Martial Art Academy has been recognized as being an integral part of Oakland’s history and has received hundreds of trophies and awards for being one of the longest-running martial arts schools in California.
In addition to traditional martial arts training, they also teach OFA, which is short for Ofanics.
OFA is a unique, evolutionary martial art form taught nowhere else in the world, as it was created and developed over many years at Cascos Martial Arts Academy.
The techniques taught and used within the exercises and drills fuse the beautiful art of Chinese Kung Fu with African American culture, where each self-defense or fighting stroke becomes a rhythmic musical delivery.
On June 25, 2021, Congresswoman Barbara Lee of Oakland wrote a letter acknowledging the immensely positive impact that Cascos Martial Art Academy has had on the community.
Bill and Mary have also received commendations from members of the California State Assembly for exemplary teaching and support for the youth in the community. Having served more than 6,000 students, the couple’s impact is not just local but worldwide.
The Owens’ are asking the community to help them preserve this legacy by inviting the public to attend and participate in the free, self-defense program called “Black Girls Missing,” which is designed for young girls and women of all ages. This program builds self-confidence, self-appreciation, self-discipline, and awareness.
The first class and kick-off of the “Black Girls Missing Program” will be held Sat. Nov. 11, from 7-9 p.m. at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle at 410 14 St. in Oakland CA. It’s a workshop and a party. Wear something comfortable.
The post Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, PIC Lead Effort to Save East Oakland Martial Arts School first appeared on Post News Group. This article originally appeared in Post News Group.