Spirited Richmond small forward Jake King is renowned for being a tough character.
King, however, is no match for many of the young people living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
As part of the ‘Changing the Score’ project, partnered with RMIT, Bluestone Edge and IBISS, the nine Richmond players on tour in Rio visited Luta Pela Paz, a local boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) studio to participate in programs with disadvantaged youth.
The activity isn’t just about exercise and fitness, and certainly not about teaching the participants to be violent. It providesthem with opportunities to develop important values and disciplines needed to survive in the dangerous areas of Rio.
Click here to view more videos from the players’ trip to Rio.
“The culture and the way they got taught wasn’t all that different to how we learnt back at home. It was a lot to do with (learning about) leadership and respect, and knowing that just because they were learning to do their MMA and their boxing,it didn’t mean they were going to take that out onto the street,” King said.
For King, who grew up in the rough areas of Heidelberg in Melbourne’s outer north-west, the values of hard work, determination and discipline are key pillars to the person and the leader he’s become.
“When I was younger, the sports in regards to MMA, boxing and football showed me leadership and responsibilities, and took me down a path that I actually needed to go down to be the person I am today,” he said.
“It’s places like Luta Pela Paz that gives these kids a brighter future and gives them a lot of hope to know there are people out there that care about them and are willing to give them a go.”
Click on the player above to watch Jake King’s video diary in Rio.