COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (KDVR) — Heavy Hands Heavy Hearts Foundation held a Muay Thai and kickboxing event Saturday night in an effort to curve youth gun violence.

Putting the gloves up and guns down was the initiative Saturday night and every day. The host gym, the Heavy Hearts Heavy Hands Center located in Aurora offers training, alongside mentoring.

Lumumba Sayers, Heavy Hearts Heavy Hands Center founder and executive director, said he tries to facilitate conversations among youth and even more so, he gets them in the ring.

“I help them express to each other how they feel about what happened and how they got to the situation and then I help them come up with their own solutions to solve their own problems by the time we’re done nobody wants to box,” Sayers said. “Nobody wants to fight. They just didn’t have the opportunity to communicate with each other in order to figure out what was going on.”

The fights at the event were legitimate, and sanctioned by the International Sports Karate Association.

Sayers’ son, Lumumba Sayers Jr., was one of those fighters.

“It’s changed my life really,” Sayers Jr. said. “It’s exciting to me because I have built a lot of knowledge and skill this past year.”

“The guys that are going to be getting into the ring tonight are guys that have come and trained either at my gym, or at other gyms, who come from a rough background who are now ready to get in here to display the skills that they’ve learned and disciplined from the mixed martial arts,” Sayers said.

These skills turn into something positive for the community and stop the stigma around violence. Which is the exact goal of their gym and foundation.

“It takes dedication. It takes hard work. We take that same hard work and dedication and apply it to everyday life to show everyone like hey there’s another way you can take that same anger and channel that into something positive.”