Updated: Thursday, 10 Mar 2011, 9:17 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 10 Mar 2011, 7:24 AM EST
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Some families are taking a rather aggressive approach to prevent bullying by teaching kids how to defend themselves. And for one family the training started early, but not early enough.
Seven-year-old Tashani Motley used to hate to go to school. The reason: a bully.
"She always used to take my lunch," Tashani explained to WAVY.com.
Tashani's mom Michelle Motley said, "She doesn't speak loud. Her self esteem was very low."
Tashani said the bully was always mean to her and it made her very upset and mad.
Part of the answer for Michelle Motley was giving her daughter the tools to defend herself. She enrolled her daughter in a self defense class.
"After she's went through talking with the parent or going to the teacher and, if a child keeps persisting to mess with her then she can still handle it on her own," Michelle explained.
One of Tashani's instructors at the Ringside Gym in Virginia Beach is someone who's been there.
"Because I'm small a lot of people would try to mess with me," said Tashani's instructor, Kyle Brown.
Brown learned to handle the problem on his own. He said, "I never started anything, but I finished it."
Brown is a national kick boxing champion and a mixed martial arts fighter.
"Today, a lot of bullies...they keep going and they don't know when to stop. I mean, they shouldn't have started in the first place. So, if somebody puts there hands on you, if there's nobody to tell, if you can't run anywhere, then, you need to finish, then you need to protect yourself."
When asked if the class is helping Tashani, Michelle said, "Well, now she doesn't get her lunch taken from her anymore, so (laughs) it has helped." Michelle says taking the classes has bumped her self confidence up from a one to a ten.
Child advocates reiterate, fighting back against a bully should only be a last resort. Instructors at Ringside Gym teach children how to avoid confrontation and seek help, but when that's not an option -- you have no other choice but to defend yourself.
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