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Karate instructor helps kids deal with bullying

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. A local martial arts class is helping students gain confidence through self-defense training and character building.

News Channel 3 spoke with a mother who found closure for her daughter who was a victim of bullying.

“I never thought my daughter would go through that its..what do you tell somebody…you always think somebody else’s but when they bully your own daughter it’s like ugh..what do you do…where do you go. you know,” says Maria Montez.

Maria held back her emotions as she says that her daughter was a victim of relentless bullying.

“I want her to know how to protect herself because we are females, and we do go through a lot in life,” says Montez about what she hopes her daughter will gain from the martial arts class.

Maria’s daughter is not alone. According to, 49% of children in grades 4 through 12 have reported being bullied.

“She’s not afraid before she was afraid and of course bullying going on everywhere she did have a couple of little girls bullying her but now she doesn’t have to worry about that,” says Montez.

Karate instructor, Joe Lavigne started an anti-bullying group to help kids who have been bullied. Before class, he focuses on building character values.

“I don’t just teach them to defend themselves. I try to teach them to be a better person and try to avoid you know altercations and what to watch out for. Be aware of their surroundings,” says Lavigne.

Sometimes violence is the route taken. The deadly school fight at Moreno Valley Middle School resulted in a 13-year old boy who died from his injuries after he was punched by another student. This among other reasons is what pushes Joe to teach.

“I want the kids to just be able to go to school and learn and have a good time and not worry about defending themselves,” says Lavigne.

His classes run Monday- Friday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m for ages 4 and up and 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. for adults.

Desert Hot Springs Mixed Martial Arts:

12380 Palm Drive
Desert Hot Springs, California 92240

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KESQ News Team


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