Suffolk karate academy trains students to defeat bullying and win national titles

SUFFOLK, Va. - Some of karate's rising starts reside in Hampton Roads. When you walk in "The Dojo" karate studio in Suffolk, you'll immediately see gold medals and trophies line the walls.

Students and the sensei at "The Dojo" karate studio in Suffolk.

"I never woke up and said "Hey, you're going to be a national champion one day," said 14-year old Teress Dobie. She did wake up one morning as a national champion.

Last June, Dobie won gold in two categories at the AAU national championship. Her sister Alaina Spears, just eight years old, also placed.

Being victims of bullying led some kids inside the doors of "The Dojo", and they kept coming back. TreShaun Whittaker, a 12-year old student, also made noise at the national championships last summer and plans to win all gold medals this time around.

He told News 3 that the initial reason he got into karate was because he too, was a victim of bullying. "My first class when I did karate, it was like I didn't want to do it, and I broke down crying, " said Whittaker. "The more times I kept doing it, it kept bringing the best of me out."

The studio is planning on a championship run in April and June, and a potential trip to Japan after being invited to learn and perform. Donations to the studio can be made on Paypal.