World Extreme Cagefighting taking on bullying

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PHOENIX -- World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) is a sport that draws fans from all over the world. While mixed martial arts is the name of this game, two WEC members are hoping to show Valley students that when it comes to bullying, words are a lot stronger than you might think.

The students at Harold W. Smith Elementary School learned basic self-defense techniques with the help of World Extreme Cagefighting founder Reed Harris and WEC lightweight champion and Glendale resident Ben Henderson.
“I think we've all been a victim of bullying as younger people and sometimes as adults,” Reed said.

“Sadly, I think it's somewhat expected,” Henderson said. “People realize there's a lot of bullying being done.”

But self-defense techniques aren't the only weapons Harris and Henderson want kids to learn when it comes to dealing with bullies.

“Really, the key is staying out of the situation and not getting yourself in a position when you’re going to defend yourself,” Reed said. “Walking away and not giving the bully the chance to say what he wants to say and that's the kind of thing we're trying to teach the kids.”

According to recent statistics, one in four kids is bullied and some of that occurs on the playground every seven minutes.

“These kids are pre-computer and now we're seeing it in the computers as well and it's an issue for us,” Reed said.

So whether they're teaching self-defense techniques or showing kids how to deal with their problems with words, the WEC is committed to helping communities tackle bullying.

“It's about self-defense, putting yourself in a good position, good situation to not be bullied and know the right thing to say,” Henderson said. “How do you act and how to stay calm.”

That's something 7-year-old Alex Galicia plans to follow.

“I would just do the techniques, run away and tell my mom,” the second-grader said.

Henderson will defend his world title at the WEC event on Dec. 16 at Arena. For more information, go to Jobing or WEC.