CRESTVIEW — Although Nataly Green hasn't dealt with bullying in her first weeks of kindergarten at Walker Elementary School, her parents wanted her to be prepared.
"In case she is (bullied), we hope she can defend herself," said Nathan Green, Nataly's father.
Nathan and his wife, Laura, brought their 5-year-old daughter to the free "Stop the Bully" self-defense training on Saturday at Gordon Martial Arts after learning about it from their daughter's school.
Nataly said she enjoyed learning more about bullying tactics and how to protect herself.
"It's really serious when a bully comes up to you and tries to be mean," she said.
However, Nataly is confident that she can handle such a situation.
"I will be prepared, definitely," she said.
Greg Bledsoe, who instructed children with other staffers’ assistance, said self-defense basics include one key lesson.
"The first thing we tell them is to avoid ... any confrontations,” he said.
Before matters get out of hand, children should inform a parent or teacher, and use self-defense as a last resort, Bledsoe said.
Mary Way, impressed by the free session, registered her 5-year-old son, John, for martial arts lessons.
"We are going to teach him a proper way of how to handle (bullying)," she said.
Way is confident that martial arts can prevent children from bullying.
"I think it will make the kids more aware of what they can do to protect themselves," Way said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.