Long Beach martial arts studio teaching youth how to find inner strength

Published: Jul. 3, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT
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LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - Bullying is a massive problem facing America’s youth and it’s seemingly only gotten worse, as new technology gives bullies new opportunities to harass their victims.

The lessons taught in the class in Long Beach by martial arts instructor John Miller can be life-changing. Parents enrolled their children in these self-defense drills hoping the kids learn will learn tools to properly defend themselves.

“We’ve got some students that have been bullied on different levels,” said Miller. “So severe that it’s caused problems at home. I’ve seen it time and time again and I thought it was time to do something about it.”

Miller sees a disturbing trend in many of the classes he teaches.

A growing number of students are like 10-year-old Curtis Phinisee, who is now learning martial arts to defend himself against bullies.

“When I was bullied I just put it on me saying everybody was better than me,” said Phinisee.

Unfortunately, one day Phinisee felt like he had no other option and tried to do the unthinkable.

“I grabbed a knife and my brother grabbed me before I could stab myself,” said Phinisee.

The suicide attempt was a wake-up call for the 10-year-old’s mother. Britteny Phinisee turned to a martial arts class to help her son rebuild his life.

“We immediately signed him up and I see his confidence begin to slowly build back up,” said Phinisee.

According to recent data, research indicated 20% of today’s teens have been bullied. That’s why Miller and other martial arts instructors spend much of their class time teaching physical self-defense techniques.

They also work with students on how to mentally defend themselves against bullies.

“Report it to an authority, teacher, a police officer who ever first walk away from the person,” said Miller. “It doesn’t matter what they say to you as long as they are not touching you.”

John Miller’s goal is to combine unconditional love with martial arts’ core values. If he’s successful, the mind, body, and spirit Miller teaches will help Curtis and so many other children find the inner strength to live healthy, bully-free lives.

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