Bully prevention is something many schools are stressing across America, but some students are getting experience outside of the classroom. Elyse Mickalonis visited a Southern Tier Mixed Martial Arts school that has a special program stopping bullying without violence.
VESTAL, N.Y. -- “I think the coolest is grappling, wrestling and headlocks,” said Zach Lidell, a Whitney Point resident.
All techniques students expect to learn when they sign up for Mixed Martial Arts training, but coaches at Power of One MMA say there’s more kids need to know.
“Whether they’re being texted or it is online, they can’t get away from it anymore. The schools do an amazing job teaching bullying prevention, but really it’s a community-wide effort,” said Dylan Smith, Power of One MMA Youth and PRIDE Program Director.
Lidell added, “What you learn here is more than they teach at school, they’ll say don’t bully others. Here they’ll get into it and tell you a lot about it.”
PRIDE program students learn from MMA coaches who go through special training to teach bullying prevention.
“All our instructors in our PRIDE and youth programs are Olweus Bullying Prevention certified, we use all the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and Rules,” said Smith.
Instructors say by learning empowerment and confidence students here know how to better handle a bullying situation.
“I grew up doing the martial arts and self confidence was key, knowing that I can do something like this I have the confidence to speak up and do something about it,” said Smith.
Coaches say despite learning how to throw punches and kicks, none of their students have ever been involved in physical fights with bullies.
"We’ve never had it happen, because they know if something happens, ‘I know how to back away from the situation,’” said Smith. “They’re not kicking and punching, they’re walking away and going to tell a teacher."
Using martial arts philosophy to give students the tools they need to make a difference.
Students are tested on bullying prevention rules and must understand it to advance in rank.
For more information on the PRIDE program, head to www.powerofonemma.com.