"This is a huge, huge part of my life. It's boosted my self-confidence, my fitness--the martial arts really is a lifestyle, and it's something that you get in the groove and you just can't stop. I love it here," says Aleksandra Knepper, a Black Belt in Karate.
Kick Masters Karate studio just kicked off a bullying prevention program with Allegany County Public Schools and radio. The studio says karate is more than just physical; it trains confident leaders.
"I honestly can say that you could pick a karate child out of a group of ten children: if there's one, you could probably figure it out, especially if they're a karate student from this school," says Nadine Beechie, a local high school teacher.
Parents say they've seen positive changes in their karate kids, especially when it comes to showing respect.
"Any time he's talking to an adult, whether it be in a grocery store or a bank or whatever, it's always, 'yes ma'am, no ma'am,' 'thank you ma'am, no sir,' and things like that. Unfortunately, I don't think they're taught as much as they should be these days, that's why a place like this is so great for kids," says Tony Cimaglia, a broadcaster with Allegany Radio Corporation.
Bullying has spread beyond school walls, so educators are looking for new ways strengthen students.
"In today's day and age where we have 24/7 social media and everything else it's almost impossible to escape. So events like this, that really give kids strategies, and then approach it not just from a school angle but a community-wide angle, are just fantastic. The turn-out is phenomenal," says Ben Brauer, an employee with Allegany County Public Schools.
Kids practiced self-defense while parents spoke with community leaders, taking a big step towards stomping out bullying.