When eight-year-old Sydni Stocks suffered immense bullying, the Lewiston, Idaho resident decided to do something about it. Karate became Stocks’ outlet for gaining her confidence back. It was also the inspiration behind an anti-bullying campaign the now 14-year-old launched to show other kids how to build self-confidence.
“When she was little, she was this sweet little kid,” Sydni’s mother, Sandi Stocks told The Lewiston Tribune. “But by being so sweet, what it said was ‘pick on me’ right on her forehead. When that would happen, I don’t think she had the gumption to stand up and say ‘this isn’t OK,’ and she definitely does now.”
Now, Sydni empowers others and encourages them to stand up for what they believe in.
Stocks’ stance, “If they don’t feel something is right, just to speak out against it because that’s the only way you are ever going to get a change.”
Though karate was the catalyst for this change in Stocks, she’s dabbled in other martial arts, too, everything from mixed martial arts to Jujitsu.
“In 2018 I brought home a silver medal for the World Karate Federation(WKF) World Championship and in 2019 I got double bronze one it katsa and one in kumate,” she told Lewiston’s CBS affiliate newstation KLEW.
Karate Kicking an Anti-bullying Campaign Into Motion
More than the medals, Stocks credits karate with helping her reach other personal goals.
“Overall, I’m a much more confident person,” Stocks told The Lewiston Tribune. “I can speak my mind. I’m not as shy as I used to be, and I can defend myself. I don’t have to worry about someone harming me in any way, because I know I can handle myself. It’s also made me more independent.”
Stocks hopes to help kids see value in themselves through her anti-bullying campaign.
“I’ve done a couple of school-type seminars where I’ve gone in and talked to kids about just my experiences and how to build self-confidence,” she told the KLEW.
Martial Arts America owner Frank Arnett told KLEW kids really look up to Stocks. “She’s one of our instructors here at the Dojo, as well. The kids just love her. I mean, they come in. They hug her. They just can’t wait to see her. she’s a great inspiration to all of them.”
Outside of her campaign, Stocks takes karate very seriously. She’s enrolled at the Idaho Virtual Academy, an online school that’ll let her travel for her sport and not miss a beat in classes. Her future plans include attending college and opening her own karate facility someday.
For now, Stocks is thinking about the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where karate will be part of the competition for the first time.