â€œGet over here!â€
So goes the famous battle cry of Mortal Kombat character Scorpion.
For Nov. 16, martial artist Chris Casamassaâ€“who portrayed the yellow-clad wraith in the 1995 film adaptationâ€“will be urging kids to get over to Believe Martial Arts in Chipley for a free anti-bullying seminar.
The workshop begins at 6 p.m. Interested families can RSVP at 850-676-4476.
Casamassa is on a mission to help a million kids become confident and â€œbully-proofâ€ by 2025. So far, heâ€™s getting closer to that numbers with the nationwide workshops.Â
â€œThereâ€™s always a group of kids getting bullied,â€ he said. â€œI teach them what to do and say and what not to say. I empower them with the tools they need to survive and thrive.â€
Jason Smith, owner of Believe Martial Arts (802 Main Street), said the workshop is open to all age groups.
He encourages families, educators, and community members to attend. Smith met Casamassa a year ago at a business training event.
â€œWe understand that bullying is a prevalent concern and our goal is to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to effectively combat it,â€ Smith said. â€œThe workshop will feature expert speakers, interactive demonstrations, and practical strategies to prevent and address bullying. We believe that by coming together, we can create a safer and more supportive environment for everyone.â€
Casamassa said bullies themselves happen to be in the audience during the seminars and he reaches out to them to teach them they can change for the better.
â€œIt devastates people,â€ Casamassa said of bullyingâ€™s impact. â€œIt leads to suicide. It leads to depression.â€
Casamassa, who holds a black belt, was even bullied himself as a kid but had the confidence to push back given his skills. Bullying happens to everyone, he said.
As a lifelong martial artist, Casamassa said he wanted to do something that would impact the broader communityâ€“hence the anti-bullying seminars. He holds the workshops not just in dojos but public schools and recreation centersâ€“really, any venue willing to host the event.
The lessons learned from martial arts go beyond the physical and can be mental, such as being a pathway to kids getting better grades in school, Casamassa said.
â€œMartial arts, taught properly, teaches focus and discipline and instills respect,â€ he said.