Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Kids learn martial arts to counter bullying

CARROLLWOOD

When martial arts instructor Estefania Maldonado showed students at Tampa Day School how to deal with bullies, she was showing them skills she used when she was younger, too. • Everyone has dealt with a bully at some point, said Maldonado, 20. Martial arts gave her the confidence and discipline to hold her head high. "It very much helped me to not let it get to me," she said. • Maldonado, a second-degree black belt, is one of the instructors at the new PRO Martial Arts in Carrollwood. She and fellow instructor Shiv Benimadhu gave a presentation to students at Tampa Day School earlier this month about how to deal with bullies as part of the studio's ARMOR program, which teaches bullying and predator prevention.

The martial arts studio opened Oct. 26. In offers regular martial arts classes, in addition to the ARMOR program.

The program started with the first PRO Martial Arts studio in Philadelphia.

"They really just saw a very big need," said Shawn Becklund, program director at the Carrollwood studio. "It just seems to be more prevalent than ever."

The 30-minute classes teach students how to identify bullies and other predators, including cyber bullies. Students learn how to be confident, trust their instincts, seek help and use martial arts defensive skills as a last resort.

Carrollwood franchise owner Dawn Cavaliere and Becklund are reaching out to schools and other organizations to provide the ARMOR program to children outside of the studio. When Cavaliere decided to make a career change, she looked for opportunities that would allow her to give back to the community.

"I've been in corporate America my whole life and I decided I wanted to do something different," she said. "I like education, I like children."

Tampa Day School students will receive the program as an after-school club once a week.

"The antibullying component makes it a unique program," said head of school Lois Delaney. Tampa Day School is a private school for K-8 students with mild to moderate learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD and anxiety. Many of the students come from other schools having been bullied, and need help building their confidence.

"It's often what we have to do when the kids come to us," Delaney said.

Cavaliere sees opportunities for the program to help both children and adults in the community with disabilities.

"It's a miserable thing to go to school every day or walk around every day worrying about the bully you keep running into that badgers you on a daily basis," Becklund said. The program is about "making them feel empowered so they can go through the day and be confident."

Maldonado and Benimadhu talked to the Tampa Day students about what to do if a bully bothers them. Try to defuse the situation with words, they said. Tell the bully you don't want to be bothered, try to walk away or go to an adult for help. They showed the students a few basics about how to get away if somebody is grabbing them by the wrist, or trying to choke them without hurting the person bullying them.

"Even though that person is hurting you, he's still a fellow classmate," Benimadhu said.

In all their tips, confidence was key.

"Everyone here has the capability to be strong and smart and be what you want to be," he said.

Keeley Sheehan can be reached at ksheehan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3321.

.FAST FACTS

PRO Martial Arts is at 10027 N Dale Mabry Highway. The studio is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information, call (813) 252-3955.

Kids learn martial arts to counter bullying 11/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Locale Market changes yet again, rebranding the restaurant as FarmTable Cucina

    Food & Dining

    When Locale Market opened in Sundial St. Pete in Dec. 2014, it was the most-hyped, most-anticipated gourmet market/food hall/culinary playground Tampa Bay had ever seen. Since then, celebrity chef-owner Michael Mina has done what every entrepreneur does in the face of challenges: tinker.

    Chef Michael Mina and chef Jeffrey Hileman work in the kitchen at Farmtable Kitchen in 2016. EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times
  2. Look for Tampa Bay filmmaker Joe Davison on 'Stranger Things'

    Human Interest

    For a year, Joe Davison kept a secret he wanted to tell so badly he feared it would burst from his mouth like an alien baby from John Hurt's chest.

    Joe Davison, at home in his dining room in Seminole, decked out for Halloween with “Stranger Things” decor, will appear in Season 2 of “Stranger Things.”
  3. Brooksville council begins study of law enforcement options

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — The City Council has jumped headlong into a discussion about the future of the Brooksville Police Department — specifically whether to maintain it as is or change the way law enforcement service is provided in an effort to relieve the city's budget woes.

    Brooksville Mayor Robert Battista suggested that the City Council agree to promise residents that neither the city police nor fire departments would be disbanded without a voter referendum.
  4. U.S. home construction tumbles 4.7 percent in September

    Working Life

    WASHINGTON — Construction of new homes fell 4.7 percent in September, the biggest decline in six months, reflecting weakness in both single-family activity and apartment building.

    Construction of new homes fell 4.7 percent in September, the biggest decline in six months, reflecting weakness in both single-family activity and apartment building.  [Associated Press file photo]

  5. Show us your post-Irma brush piles

    Hurricanes

    Admit it. You're starting to get used to those Hurricane Irma brush piles, aren't you? They're part of the Florida landscape now, just like a stray palm frond in your yard, or the lizards scurrying across the sidewalk.

    A large pile of brush that came from a tree knocked down during Hurricane Irma stands along a St. Petersburg street. [RON BRACKETT | Times]