Grapplers launch ‘Project Soft Landing’ to aid Honduran group

The group hopes to raise at least $5,000 for the club to support the Little Giants for several years.

Vashon Grappling Arts, the Honduran Judo Federation, and Dollamur Sport Surfaces are teaming up to provide approximately 600 square feet of judo mats for Pequeños Grandes (Little Giants), a judo youth club in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The youth club trains in the San Jose del Pedregal, an economically-disadvantaged neighborhood, where coach Cinithia Canales Carabajal coaches the Little Giants in a donated church space.

But that didn’t stop the group in November, when the team placed first in the national competition, defeating more privileged clubs which train at better-equipped facilities.

“These 50 or so [Little Giants] judo students have been training on concrete floors and outside in public parks,” said Bobby Dodd, of Vashon Grappling Arts. “I know from experience that taking a fall on concrete or ground is often injurious. An improved surface will allow kids to train safely and progress to higher levels of competition, even the Olympics.”

With Project Soft Landing, Vashon Grappling hopes to raise at least $5,000 for the club — an amount they say could support the Little Giants for several years, providing them with judo uniforms, travel for competitions, and cash to support the club’s food pantry.

“A dollar goes a long way in Honduras,” said Sean Lang, a judo black belt at the grappling club. “It is a good investment. I hope islanders will help the cause.”

And Dollamur Martial Arts, a California-based manufacturer and international distributor of sports surfaces that currently represents USA Wrestling and USA Judo, is also considering a significant contribution of mats, said club members.

Vashon Grappling Arts and the UMO School of Physical Arts will offer its second session of an Introduction to Judo & Jiu Jitsu, at Open Space Space for Arts & Community. The winter session begins on Jan. 2. Sean Lang and Bobby Dodd are the lead instructors. Interested students can register at or contact

To make a donation to Project Soft Landing, contact Warren Maierhofer at