Kids learn about bullying through martial arts class in Madison County

Published: Oct. 13, 2017 at 10:03 PM EDT
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October is National Bullying Prevention Month.

Recent national

show 28% of U.S. students grades 6-12 have experienced bullying with 30% admitting to bullying themselves.

At Elite Martial Arts and Fitness, leaders hope they are helping fight those statistics.

"Most of our students who come in the door are here for self esteem, confidence, those kinds of things," said Elite Martial Arts and Fitness CEO, Will Schneider.

On Friday, the group held an anti-bullying rally at their location in Richmond.

"This is just a natural outreach for us - something that for a lot of karate guys, they may not want to admit, but they've been bullied at one time as well and that's why a lot of karate guys got into martial arts," Schneider said.

Kids participated in several exercises and also heard from former Miss Kentucky United States Katie Himes. Himes said she too was a victim of bullying.

"I struggled with it pretty bad in eighth grade around the middle school area, so I just had a huge heart for kids who were going through something similar to what I went through," Himes said.

For parents like Stefanie Wilson Manes, she said these conversations are important. She has two young boys who have been taking classes at Elite for about one year now.

"They are starting to get to the age where they'll come home and say, somebody laughed at me or somebody picked on me," Wilson Manes said. "They also do the after school program here at Elite so they are learning ways to handle that, [which] are non-violent."

Elite Martial Arts and Fitness has locations in both Richmond and Berea. For information on their after school program and lessons,