Stamford Martial Arts Studio Plans 5k For Stamford Hospital, EMS

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(Left to right) are Ryan Matherne, Laura Frattaroli, Sarah Malhotra and Manny Esmeraldo of The Dojo in Stamford. The karate facility will host a 5k run/walk on Sept. 14 to benefit Stamford EMS and Stamford Hospital.
(Left to right) are Ryan Matherne, Laura Frattaroli, Sarah Malhotra and Manny Esmeraldo of The Dojo in Stamford. The karate facility will host a 5k run/walk on Sept. 14 to benefit Stamford EMS and Stamford Hospital. Photo Credit: Contributed
Awards and trophies were distributed at last year's Dojo Dash.
Awards and trophies were distributed at last year's Dojo Dash. Photo Credit: Contributed
The Dojo in Stamford will host a 5k on Sept. 14.
The Dojo in Stamford will host a 5k on Sept. 14. Photo Credit: Contributed
The Dojo in Stamford is a karate and kickboxing studio.
The Dojo in Stamford is a karate and kickboxing studio. Photo Credit: Contributed
Martial arts students at The Dojo in Stamford.
Martial arts students at The Dojo in Stamford. Photo Credit: Contributed
Instructors at The Dojo in Stamford work with some students.
Instructors at The Dojo in Stamford work with some students. Photo Credit: Contributed
Students receive instruction at The Dojo in Stamford.
Students receive instruction at The Dojo in Stamford. Photo Credit: Contributed
Students at The Dojo focus on their martial arts training.
Students at The Dojo focus on their martial arts training. Photo Credit: Contributed
The Dojo in Stamford is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The Dojo in Stamford is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Photo Credit: Contributed
Martial arts students at The Dojo listen to an instructor.
Martial arts students at The Dojo listen to an instructor. Photo Credit: Contributed

STAMFORD, Conn. -- For the third year in a row, Stamford based karate studio, The Dojo, will be holding its annual “Dojo Dash,'' a 5K run/walk.

The race started when Manny Esmeraldo, The Dojo’s Owner/Sensei, read an article about a product called LifeStraw. When one of these personal filtration systems is purchased, it gives clean water to a child in a third world country for a year. He thought it would be great to raise money to purchase a large quantity of this product and send them to children Haiti.

So together with his staff, they organized their first event. Last year, they raised over $11,000 for Wounded Warriors. They had over 150 people attend and it was a huge success.

Esmeraldo, who has been operating his studio in Stamford for the past 20 years, lives in Monroe with his wife Dawn and two sons, Manny Jr. and Mateo. He will be opening his second studio in Westport on Sept. 2.

With the amount of work entailed in opening another location, Esmeraldo felt he needed to skip the event this year. However, his staff, Ryan Matherne, Laura Frattaroli and Sarah Malhotra, offered their assistance in order to make the race happen. Beverly Haynie also assisted in helping to pull details for the race together.

“This year, with the entire opening of the second location  I was kind of like, all right, this is a lot, we’re not going to do it this year, but then my staff, who is totally awesome, said sir, could we handle some of the work to do Dojo Dash this year, and I was like, yes," Esmeraldo said.

This year’s event will be for the Stamford EMS and Stamford Hospital. The reason for this is because the school’s program director, Frattaroli, had a heart issue last year. She had no idea she had anything wrong with her, it was very unexpected. She was hospitalized at Stamford Hospital and needed to have surgery.

Thomas Nero, who is head of cardiology at Stamford Hospital has a student at The Dojo, so Esmeraldo set up an event with Nero and trained everyone in CPR. They also got an AED (automated external defibrillator) device for the school.

“Laura was physically working really, really hard not knowing that she has this heart issue condition going on. So it all kind of punched me in the gut because I was like, oh my God, if something happened to her, it would have been horrible.” Esmeraldo said.

The premise of the race this year, is to raise awareness of heart disease and the importance of getting physicals. This year’s event is being sponsored by Stamford Hospital, Stamford EMS, BPM DJ’s, Road ID, Stamford Bike & Run, Mish Mosh Market & Acme Sign Company.

“Last year when we did it we had to have a policeman there and we had to pay him and he donated it all back to the Dojo Dash. How rock and roll is that?” Esmeraldo said.

Students, parents, grandparents, have attended these events in the past. Anyone can sign up. It’s being held at Westhill High School on Sunday, Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon and costs $40 per person.  Festivities start at 9:30. There is 400 meter run for kids at 10 a.m. followed shortly thereafter by the 5k. Call the studio for more information at 203-322-2433.

Robyn Blosio Bova is a Stamford native and a Realtor for Higgins Group.

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