Former MMA star visits Behchoko to stop bullying

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A semi-retired mixed martial arts fighter will lead an anti-bullying program in Behchoko this week.

Martin Kampmann, who fought in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as recently as August 2013, will deliver presentations at two schools as part of a program called “Be A Buddy Not A Bully”.

The sessions, which are being put on by the Kamikaze Punishment Foundation based out of Edmonton, will teach children how bullying can affect people and how kids should deal with bullies appropriately.

Kampmann and other presenters will speak to students from Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School and Chief Jimmy Bruneau on Thursday and Friday respectively.

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“We took all aspects of mixed martial arts and converted them into a children and youth program where each day we do a different discipline,” said Brad Foster, president of the Kamikaze Punishment Foundation.

“One day will be jiu jitsu, then wrestling, then taekwondo, then judo and then kickboxing. It’s all no contact but it will teach them a variety of mixed martial arts.

“We also teach the students how to be a buddy and not a bully and make the decision mentally where they see bullying happen and instead of becoming a bully together as a group, they actually help each other become a buddy as a group.

Foster says Kampmann was a natural choice for the program because of his connection to the sport.

Kampmann, of Denmark, began fighting professionally in 2003. The 33-year-old then fought in the UFC as a middleweight and welterweight between 2006 and 2013.

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He went 11-6 in that time before taking a “hiatus” from the sport in January 2014.

“You can take 1,000 hockey players who play recreational hockey and have them say how much the game has changed their life,” said Foster.

“But you won’t really understand the impact until you get someone from the highest level.

“[Kampmann] was in Denmark, a nobody in school, who then decided to chase his dreams and now he’s actually managed to reach heights even he didn’t think he could through the sport itself.

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“We want these kids to reach for the stars and show them they can become anything and not to let anyone take their spirits down with bullying.”

The anti-bullying seminars at Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School will be held on Thursday between 11:00am and 2:30pm and again at night between 7:00pm and 9:00pm.

On Friday, they’ll take place at Chief Jimmy Bruneau School between 10:00am and 4:00pm.

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