SEMINOLE, Fla. -- During a Jim Graden’s Martial Arts class in Seminole, there's a lot to be learned. But in between the chops, there's a message bigger than any kick, you'll see on this mat.
“Recently, I've had these two kids bullying me and it's not pleasant,” says Tyler Sparacino, a student in the class.
Sparacino is one of the more than three million kids bullied in school every year.
“It hurts kids feelings. It makes them feel really bad for who they are,” says Sparacino.
And that's why he's here in this class. This class is focused on anti-bullying, teaching kids like Tyler how to fight back.
“Bullying is all around,” says Jim Graden, instructor.
Graden says his class teaches students confidence.
“It's a martial arts class that incorporates anti-bullying instruction in curriculum. There's no quick fix. It takes time to give a child confidence,” says Graden.
Graden says his class chops out every stage of bullying from those who experience it verbally and physically.
“You would be surprised how many parents come to me with really bad stories. Middle school is the most common. One parent told me that their kid was standing there with lunch and gets punched in the stomach,” says Graden.
Graden's program is part of a nationwide movement with martial arts programs across the country to educate, inform and help eradicate bullying.
“It boosted my confidence and I started having more friends and it made it a lot easier for me not to be bullied,” says Colin Jalen, student.
Jalen says he was mentally bullied in just the 2nd grade. He's been taking this class now for the past several years.
“It showed me I can be confident and not be sad about who I am,” says Jalen.
So with that, every kick and every chop and jab, the message these kids learn is bigger than any move done on this mat.
For more information on Jim Graden’s class, CLICK HERE.