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'You don't ever have to hurt the bully, but the bully will not be able to hurt you'

Gracie Bully Proof classes focus on empowering kids to stand up to bullies by using jujitsu. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Bullying is one of the biggest problems students face across the country.

15-year-old Celia McCallen says she remembers getting dirty looks in school.

"I was kind of an outcast when I was younger," she said. "I just wasn't part of the main cliques and stuff, and it made me feel helpless. I just didn't belong anywhere."

Five years ago she walked into McKenzie Martial Arts and realized that defending yourself doesn't necessarily mean violence.

"You don't have to be abusive; you don't have to punch them just to prove a point," McCallen added, "you can use your words because your words are much more powerful then punches."

She signed up for Gracie Bully Proof classes, which focus on empowering kids to stand up to bullies by using jujitsu.

Adam Roberts, owner and head instructor at McKenzie Martial Arts, says jujitsu is "a control strategy so you don't ever have to hurt the bully, but the bully will not be able to hurt you."

Jujitsu uses leverage, locks and holds that can neutralize a bigger, stronger opponent.

Roberts explains: "When you learn a real self-defense system like Gracie jujitsu, you are more likely to use your words because, if it does become physical we can defend ourselves, so it's not a false confidence. It's avoiding the fight at all costs."

For McCallen, the program has lifted her confidence. She's now a junior instructor and has a message for others who feel rejected.

"Keep on going," she says. "Don't worry about what people think about you because it doesn't matter."

For more information about the Bully Proof classes or to enroll your child, visit mckenziemartialarts.com.

The first week of camp started July 16. Another session is scheduled to begin August 6.

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