Self-defense 'bully proof' class helps 7th grade victim fight back
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KABB) - In December 2017, Star Belmonte, a San Antonio 7th grader, began training in jiu-jitsu in a self-defense program called "bully proof."
Belmonte, 12, is a victim of a severe case of bullying, but also a survivor. She has been assaulted, harassed and even had her hair cut off by classmates.
"A girl slapped me two times and pushed me in the stomach and her friends were recording and they posted it on social media. I feel like I'm not safe there anymore," Belmonte said.
Belmonte has been training in jiu-jitsu for about three months now. She says it's been life-saving.
"It's brought up my self esteem a lot. I don't feel like everyone hates me anymore," said Belmonte.
The training empowers students mentally and physically to face their bullies.
The David's Legacy Foundation sponsored Belmonte to train at the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. She has now continued her training at South Side Fight Club.
The foundation was created in honor of David Molak, an Alamo Heights teen who took his own life after being cyber-bullied.
Belmonte now proudly wears a t-shirt in his honor.
"Even though it's just a shirt, I feel protected in it," she said.
During her Wednesday class, she shared Molak's story and asked others to take a pledge to stop cyberbullying.
She has now become an advocate for David's Legacy Foundation and has vowed to stand up for victims of bullying like herself and Molak.
"And I know why God put me on earth...to shine...he put me on earth to make a difference in the world," said Belmonte.