GOLETA, Calif. - A local mixed-martial arts gym is taking on the bullying epidemic with a specialized class for kids called the Bully Prevention Program.
The program is aimed at kids ages 4 to 12 and is offered at Paragon in Goleta and Santa Barbara.
Coach John Sandoval teaches the students Jiu Jitsu, a martial art that focuses on self-defense from the ground.
"We give them tools to be comfortable in all of these uncomfortable situations," Sandoval said.
Sandoval does not teach the kids to strike, but rather get in a safe position to protect themselves.
The number one goal is to build confidence, so kids are not a target.
"The self-confidence they gain here with John, that's huge," said parent Brad Gosney. "I think that's something actually that a kid who is a bully doesn't want to mess with a kid with confidence."
The class is offered on Fridays and Saturdays.
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