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Our great friends over at has been covering ways to prevent bullying in our community.

As Houston-area school districts tackle the issue of bullies in schools, a growing number of parents have turned to new tactics to protect their children.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Marcos Cerqueira, of the Heights Jiu-Jitsu Club, said the number of parents that approach him because their children had been picked on in school has grown in recent years.

“Every day, more and more, I get e-mails from families [telling me], ‘I would like to sign up my kid for a class because I want him to learn how to defend himself,’” Cerqueira, said.

Cerqueira, who teaches children the martial art in the Houston Heights and near Meyerland, said his students learn how to strengthen their minds so they don’t have to use their hands.

“They don’t learn how to fight,” he said. “They learn how to protect themselves. So, when you learn that, you’re going to build your self confidence. You’re going to have more respect for yourself … and people are going to notice that.”

The efforts to reach young children have grown in recent weeks as bullying has become a part of the national conversation.

The Houston ISD, for example, has taken a proactive approach by holding rallies at its campuses.

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