People Taking Action: Va. Beach man teaches free karate classes to combat bullying

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Every Tuesday and Thursday, these students learn the art of karate at the Rosemont Boys and Girls Club in Virginia Beach.

The focus is self-defense.

“Bullying is a big thing at my school. If there’s bullying and they try to fight you, you can defend yourself,"  said Kyra Moore.

Sadly, Kyra isn’t the only one taking this course because of bullying.

Eduardo is only seven years old and he has experienced bullying.

“Someone kept hitting me and pushing me around," he said.

“When Eduardo came in here, as you can see,  he was very soft spoken, but through his hard work and dedication, I’ve seen him progressively get better," said  Christopher Washington Sr.

Chris Washington has been teaching karate twice a week for 15 years at the Boys and Girls Club in addition to his full time job as a teacher with Portsmouth City Schools.  He teaches the martial arts classes for free.

“We find that when people do karate - when children do karate - it boosts their self-esteem, it boosts their self-confidence and it gives them something to do if they find themselves in a difficult situation," he said.

And this is a family affair. Son Chris Jr., a Virginia Beach Police officer, teaches with his dad.

“The confidence I had through my teenage years into adulthood - I wanna pass that on to the students so that they don’t feel afraid," said Chris Jr.

“It's helpful to know that I have people believe in me and know what I can do," said student Samuel Quarry.

The Washington father-son team love what they do. The don't want praise, accolades or money, but we couldn’t let their years of dedication to helping these students go unnoticed.

“We’re here to give you a People Taking Action award for being such an awesome karate teacher to these folks here," said News 3's Beverly Kidd.

And the whole class broke out in applause.

“We do this together, so we’ll share this together," said Chris Sr. to his son.

We also gave the Washington men a $300 gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

Congrats to the Washington men and their dedication to the art of karate and to the kids of Hampton Roads!