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Leprechaun Days carries anti-bullying message

USA Karate & Platinum Yoga hosts an anti-bully Leprechaun Days event to engage families. Co-owner Steve Seme (left) is with students Joey Rich, 13 (left), Kacie Olson, 7 and Trey Larsen, 7, (front) who has fun learning alongside his father Jeff Larsen on the right. Kara Hildreth / Contributor

ROSEMOUNT — Learning bully prevention paired with martial arts can teach youngsters how to be safe, strong and build brave hearts.

USA Karate & Platinum Yoga invite youth and families to participate in a bully prevention seminar at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, at 14879 S. Robert Trail.

The Rosemount Leprechaun Days are July 20-29. This event called Let's Break the Bully will offer free curriculum and interactive demonstrations. These will include how to break boards in a fun, safe, interactive way.

The public can come learn how to prevent bullying by implementing martial arts principles with black-belt confidence, according to Steven Seme, co-owner and head instructor. Co-owner David Younglove is also an instructor at the studio.

"The board-breaking sounds exciting and dangerous, but it is fairly easy to do with the right attitude, and it allows youth to feel a sense of achievement to inspire them to feel they can do more. We always say. 'Might for right.' or using karate for the right reasons — to defend themselves and others," Seme said.

Karate as a martial arts training can benefit for boys and girls 5 years and older. Adults also can come to learn this form of physical fitness and self-defense.

"Adults will find they get good physical fitness, cardio, core strength, balance, coordination and all those physical aspects, but it is also a great activity you can do with your children," Seme said, adding how this is unlike youth activities where parents drop off children.

"It is a great stress relief but it is a fun activity. I restarted after my children started at karate and I had been out of it for some time," he added. That is when Seme decided to get back into the martial arts and he opened a studio about four years ago.

"The physical aspects are what people think of — breaking, chopping and punching and kicking, but our program really focuses on character development," Seme said.

The program guides youth to become aware and take responsibilities for their own actions in life.

"It teaches them how to be self-disciplined and in control and it teaches them how to be respectful and how to be a better listener," Seme said.

Jeff Larsen said he likes the father-son bonding time with his 7-year-old son Trey.

"I bring him here because he really enjoys it and he works really hard and has a lot of dedication — he climbs the rope back there," Larsen said.

Trey said he likes doing the fun wheel kicks and having fun on the rope climb, a physical feat he has mastered as he can swiftly move up and down the tall rope with ease and speed.

Martial arts curriculum can foster young people's abilities to become more focused on school and academics, Seme said.

Joey Rich, 13, said he has enjoyed learning all the martial arts skills and how they have helped him become more self-confident and shown him how to become a better student.

"It helps build up my confidence and talking to people," Rich said.

"We encourage through our programs that students not only have to display behaviors in the school, but they have to display them outside the school and at home. We are looking for students to display that black-belt attitude here and during all parts of their life," Seme said.

The interactive seminar will teach youth about proven bully prevention methods. "We are not only talking about the physical but how to learn how to become more self-confident and use their voices to help themselves and others and to become a brave heart," Seme said.

"The brave hearts are the ones who have the courage to stand up for others — we are teaching them how to stand up for themselves, their friends and even those who are not their friends."

To reserve a spot, call 651-423-3435. Participants should come dressed in comfy clothing and expect to be active.

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