67ºF

Magna Vista High School teacher fighting to help raise awareness about bullying

Robert Asbury will compete in MMA fight Oct. 20

HENRY COUNTY, Va. – A Henry County high school teacher is fighting against bullying -- literally.

"It's been 19 years since I fought," Robert Asbury said.

Asbury, 47, is preparing to step into the octagon later this month.

"I'm fighting on October 20 at Martinsville Middle School to try to bring some sort of awareness to bullying in schools," Asbury said.

According to www.stopbullying.gov, a government program to educate people about bullying, 28 percent of U.S. students in grades 6-12 experienced bullying.

Surveys show that close to 30 percent of young people admit to bullying others.

"One thing that I truly believe is that martial arts, it empowers people. It gives them more confidence, it also gives you a team to build confidence around," Asbury said.

That belief helped motivate Asbury to start fighting again.

"I'm a combat veteran and I have a little bit of PTSD. Not a whole lot like some other soldiers, but I was kind of depressed and was moping around a lot, and I kind of asked myself what's missing in my life," Asbury said.

His trainer, Jomo Lucas, said bullying prevention is a big part of his program and he's seen a lot of positive changes in the people he works with.

"Martial arts and boxing is just a great way of coming in and teaching you how to handle those emotions and how to deal with situations. I often tell my kids that train here, 'I can show you how to walk away from a fight better than I can show you how to fight,'" Lucas said.​

That's not stopping Asbury, though, from fighting on.

For more information about the program, contact Lucas at rockbottomathletics.2010@gmail.com or visit Rock Bottom Athletics' Facebook page.

For tickets to the Oct. 20 fight, visit www.danvillemma.com or visit Xtreme Martial Arts at 2430 Greensboro Rd. in Martinsville.