MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Many kids have been stuck at home due to COVID-19 without an outlet to make friends, express their frustrations, or work up a sweat. So Premier Martial Arts in Morrisville wanted to do something about it.

The studio first began offering classes online until officially opening their doors to the public once Gov. Roy Cooper eased restrictions on gyms.

“It was a big relief. People are ready to get active, get fit, so we’re really happy the restrictions are lifted, and we can help the kids make improvements and improve their lives,” Sensei Ryan Cunningham says.

According to L1ght, an organization that monitors online harassment, there has been a 70 percent increase in cyberbullying between children since the pandemic began.

The classes help teach kids how to respect themselves, each other, and how to handle bullying both in person and online.

In between their workouts, the kids have an opportunity to talk freely about events that have happened since last class and discuss how to properly diffuse a situation and maintain their composure when in a stressful situation.

Cunningham says martial arts is not only good for physical health, but mental health too.

“When we're throwing a punch, we're really teaching focus, and we're doing kiai’s, we’re really teaching the kids how to speak out, how to be confident, so that they can go out into the world and feel really good about themselves,” Cunningham says.

To learn more about Premier Martial Arts, visit their website