Martial Arts gym working to combat bullying

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ELKHART, Ind.-- After the recent, devastating death of 12-year-old Rio Allred, a Northside Middle School student who took her own life due to bullying, many community members are standing up and speaking out about bullying being swept under the rug at schools.

Steve's Gym/ Elkhart Martial Arts is joining in towards what they say, is needed change.

Brittany Mosier who's a black-belt and manager at Steve's Gym says several of the students who attend classes are actually there because of the bullying they experience while at school. In fact, she says it's the most common reason why parents sign their kids up for martial arts lessons.

At Steve’s Gym, not only are kids learning how to defend themselves in everyday life, and to stand up to bullies in worst case scenarios, but they work to boost their confidence.

Mosier says that she was bullied back when she was in grade-school, and it wasn't until she gained self-confidence when the bullying stopped. She hopes the same can happen for her students, too.

“We have a lot of kids that come in saying their parents or them, sometimes the kids don’t really talk about it, but they mentioned that they were bullied in school, their looking for kind of outlet or way to defend themselves and they come to us. It’s not always, parent’s think it’s a physical defense and of course we teach that, but a lot of it is more of the inner confidence that you build,” Steve’s Gym/ Elkhart Martial Arts Manager Brittany Mosier said. “Bullies, they look for more of a weaker target, they look for someone they can pick on. And the more confidence that you have in yourself, the more easier it is and of course if there’s a physical altercation we teach you really easy de-escalation techniques for that.”

A lot of students at Steve’s Gym, actually knew Rio, and as they grieve the loss of their fellow classmate and friend, things have been somber in class.

“People are sad. A lot of our kids are sad. A lot of them know about the bullying that she experienced as well as the bullying that they are experiencing. So, it’s been…we’ve had several students ask us some questions about it for sure,” Mosier said. “We want kids to feel safe here. We want them to be able to come to us and talk to us about their problems.”

Due to Rio’s passing, Steve’s Gym knew they needed to step in even more to help make a difference against bullying. With permission from Allred’s parents, Steve’s Gym is hosting an Anti-Bullying Workshop in honor of the 12-year-old.

It’s a free workshop, where students of any age can attend to learn how to be better protected in and out of school, know how to react and stand up to brutal bullies and be prepared in case they come face-to-face with one.

“We hope to have a lot of kids here to just, it’s just going to be some basics! It’s only going to be about an hour and a half to two hours, just teaching them what to do if you’re experiencing bullying, how to not be a bully and let them know they are safe here to come to us,” Mosier said. “You never really end up as a millionaire as a martial arts instructor but you make such a difference in people’s lives and *that makes you rich. That’s why all of our instructors are here, to make a difference in people’s lives.”

The free Anti-Bullying Workshop takes place on Saturday, April 2 at Steve’s Gym on West Bristol Street starting at 10 am.

To register, you can click here, or visit Steve’s Gym/ Elkhart Martial Art’s Facebook page.


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