Becoming a hero and not a bully or victim

Ray Amanat gives presentation at Cindy Powell's Black Belt Karate in Hannibal

Some area martial arts students had a chance to learn about how to be a hero in the face of bullying and violence.

Ray Amanat , a black belt in karate, talked about his own experiences growing up Wednesday evening at Cindy Powell's Black Belt Karate in Hannibal.

He turned to the martial arts, which gave him self-esteem and confidence to overcome his problems and fears.

Amanat started Heroes in Action , non-profit organization that allows him to empower people of all ages on how not to become victims of bullying and violence.

He said a school's definition of bullying is often times different than a parents' definition.

"I don't want to focus on the word bully," Amanat said. "I'd rather focus on the word hero. What does it mean for me to be a hero in my community to help the community grow so that people want to start businesses and raise families."

Amanat encouraged students to walk with confidence rather than avoiding eye contact and acting shy.

There will be another presentation on bullying in America's Hometown Thursday night.

Dr. Peter Langman authored the book, "Why Kids Kill: Inside the Minds of School Shooters."

He is scheduled to speak about tips to prevent school violence at Hannibal LaGrange University at 7 p.m.