701 United is a faith-based fitness and martial arts club located in the 93701 zip code. We are committed to the leadership and spiritual development of teenage youth in the Lowell and the Jefferson neighborhoods. We are a non-profit program (501c3) under Youth For Christ with all proceeds going back into the program so as to make the program self-sustainable, while also empowering youth to take ownership of their gym life. Volunteer martial arts instructors teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, and a variety of exercises to members. Workout sessions are done in groups in order to develop strong relationships between youth. Every workout is followed by a short spiritual conversation and a challenge.
Goals, Vision, Mission
701 United started in the carport of Ivan Paz in the summer of 2012. Within a six month period, twenty-five youth became a part of the club. In December of that year, twelve youth made a commitment of faith followed by eight others in August. The physical and spiritual development of these youth has been unbelievable. In 2014, 701 United became an official ministry under Youth For Christ. Since it's opening on January 25, 2014, 701 United has created jobs for inner-city youth and internship opporturnities for college students.
Our goal is to cultivate healthy lifestyles among youth by confronting issues like obesity, drug use, and bullying in the community.
Our vision is that a new generation of young leaders from our neighborhoods would seize their community, take ownership of it, and transform it.
Our mission is to cultivate community, faith, and leadership in downtown Fresno through fitness and spiritual formation.
Why Martial Arts & Urban Youth?
Gangs have established violence’s role in our community as the main way to resolve conflict. Violence used to deal with conflict is generally rooted in fear and is both unregulated and unfair. Dishonorable methods of fighting, such as using weapons or multiple people against one (“jumping”), have become too common in our streets and neighborhoods. 701 United seeks to redefine this role of violence by introducing a new image of honor and respect regarding physical combat. With the current high demand and attraction to mixed martial arts, especially among urban youth, trainers at 701 United use active lessons and bible studies to instill the value for regulated and fair competitive sparring (combat) in our students.
In April of 2013, members of 701 United broke up several fights in their neighborhood because they saw the fights as unfair. Other residents from the community began to follow the example set by these students, helping to transform the culturally accepted rules of conflict. Although this was a great step in the right direction, 701 United teaches that violence is never an acceptable method for resolving conflict. This idea is based in the teachings and example that Jesus gave throughout his life. We believe in the idea of “fierceness of humility”—a concept that is completely foreign to the culture present in our neighborhoods. Because this is so foreign to our youth, it will take time to understand the value in humility. For now, the parameters and boundaries set around fighting seem to be an effective method of reducing the violent patterns existing in the culture we live in.
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What do the numbers '701' stand for?
Inner-city youth understand the pride that comes with urban territory, and so there is a lot of purpose and meaning behind the name of 701 United. In our name, we express the pride we have in our neighborhood. Many people living in our context express this same pride in distorted ways because there are no healthy facilitators of expression. Pride and love for the neighborhood seem to be expressed through intimidation and destruction. 701 United is strategically located in the 93701 area code in order to capitalize on the value for “turf” and neighborhood pride. 701 United challenges youth to develop healthy forms of community by engaging in a long process of physical and spiritual development that emphasizes unity. The additional community service projects are designed to develop a sense of ownership among the youth for their relationships and their neighborhood.