SALISBURY, Md. - With school bullying a major concern for families across the country, one martial arts studio in Salisbury is trying to arm kids with ways to defend themselves, without hurting others.
It may look like a typical martial arts class, but it's actually part of an anti-bullying course at the Southside Jiu Jitsu Club in Salisbury. After noticing a rise in school bullying, Miles Moffit, owner of the studio, wanted to find a way to take on the issue.
'I thought 'Well, why not put together a bully program use the same Jiu Jitsu I've been teaching my kids for sport competition, but emphasize more on bully type situations'," says Moffit.
The idea originally grew from a problem Moffit's own daughter was having. He says "we moved across town to a different school, she started having problems right away with some of the kids."
So, he introduced her Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a form of martial arts that focuses on grappling and wrestling type techniques, not kicking and punching.
A few years later, he opened the program up to other children, and this year, the studio has been offering free lessons one day a week, teaching anti-bullying techniques.
Allan Bailey, who has four children in the program says he appreciates how his children are not only learning self defense, but also self control, saying "American MMA has a negative reputation, but Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, they keep all the ego out of it, they keep all the pride out of it."
Despite the recent popularity in often violent mixed martial arts, the class isn't a free pass to learn to start fights. Miles Moffit stresses, "I make it quite clear to the children that you don't want to fight. You're going to try to talk your way out of a fight, but sometimes a fight is unavoidable, so if you're going to fight, you don't want to hurt your attacker, and you don't want to get injured either, and I think that Jiu Jitsu is a safer way to deter bullies."
September 28th is the last free anti-bully class scheduled. It takes place from 1-2 PM at Southside Jiu Jitsu Club at 622 South Salisbury Blvd.
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