Martial arts master, stuntman and anti-bullying advocate Chris Cassamassa, founder of Kick N Fit Kids, comes to Chilliwack Sept. 7 for a free community anti-bullying event, hosted by Chilliwack Chito Ryu Karate.

Event targets bullying as students head back to school

Carol Todd, Chris Cassamassa share inspiration and insights

As students head back to school, fall sports and other activities, bullying may weigh down the thoughts of too many.

A local business aims to give children and youth the skills and self-confidence to stand strong.

Chilliwack Chito Ryu Karate is hosting a free anti-bullying event for youth, parents and community members Saturday, Sept. 8 at the University of the Fraser Valley’s Gathering Place.

Speakers include Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd, who took her own life at 15 after ongoing cyberbullying, and martial arts master Chris Cassamassa, a stuntman known for his movie roles in Batman and Mortal Kombat, and as an anti-bullying advocate.

Getting under way at 4 p.m., the event is free, with donations encouraged for the Amanda Todd Legacy Fund and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

“We know bullying is a concern for the kids and their families and wanted to offer something to help raise awareness in the community,” says Brigitte MacKenzie, from Chilliwack’s Chito Ryu Karate, sponsors of the event.

Prevention and awareness

Founded by Carol Todd, the non-profit Amanda Todd Legacy focuses on raising awareness of bullying, cyber abuse and internet safety, and promoting resources and education that encourage mental wellness and healthy living.

Among Carol’s messages to parents: Don’t be afraid to ask about and look at children’s social media use, and look for opportunities to get kids busy in activities with family, community and sports they enjoy, Brigitte says.

It’s a message echoed by Cassamassa, a 9th-degree black belt, author of Bully Proof Fitness and founder of the Kick N Fit Kids program.

Kick N Fit has been well-received at Chito Ryu Karate, where seven- to 13-year-olds have a blast with the specialized workout combining martial arts and Bully Buster moves with (HIIT) High Intensity Interval Training.

The program takes a well-rounded approach to kids’ health, focusing on both fitness and self-confidence, explains Chilliwack Sensei and Master Teacher Fred MacKenzie, proud to be one of the few schools in Canada licensed to offer Kick N Fit Kids. “It’s really about encouraging children’s physical health, while also supporting their mental health through increased self-confidence.”

Nutritionist Sharon Fast is also part of the Chito Ryu team, further enriching the transformative youth wellness program.

The philosophy complements that of Chito Ryu Karate, one of the oldest styles of karate practiced in Canada. A welcoming program adaptable to all experience levels, the traditional Japanese martial art is based on peace, perseverance and hard work, with a focus on good manners, self-discipline, physical fitness and self-defence. Students’ self-confidence grows with every advancement earned.

New sessions of Kick N Fit Kids, along with Chito Ryu’s other programs, begin Sept. 4. Learn more at chilliwackchitoryu.com, follow them on Facebook, or sign up to try a free class.

Learn more at the Amanda Todd Legacy at amandatoddlegacy.org. For details about the UFV Anti-Bullying event, call 604-824-7517.

***

Chito Ryu Karate offers programs for the whole family, from the Little Dragons pre-skills program for three to five-year-olds, to Karate Kidds and Kick N Fit Kids for school-age children and Junior Karate for 11 to 13-year-olds. Adult classes welcome those age 14 and older, while at Karatecize, taught by Jane Sandve and black belt Sempai Lane, adults can have fun getting fit, with a little self-defence.

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Chilliwack Chito Ryu Karate welcomes families to the start of its fall sessions.

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