Hip Hop Chess Federation/BullyProof

Hip Hop Chess Federation/BullyProof Logo

Basic Information

Address: 1651 Longwood Drive, Norfolk Virginia 23508
Phone Number: 757 575-4424

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Hip Hop Chess Federation/BullyProof
Hip Hop Chess Federation/BullyProof
Hip Hop Chess Federation/BullyProof
Hip Hop Chess Federation/BullyProof

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Additional Information

Focus: Chess, music & martial arts to prevent bullying and create unity.

Norfolk Police Department Crime Prevention Unit

Director: Lisa Suhay
Schools Served: Norfolk Public Schools (Maury High School) and Lambert's Point Community Center
School District: Norfolk Public Schools
Schedule: Varies by school and location
Ages: 5-12 and 13-18
Capacity: up to 125 per session
Membership/Pricing: FREE

Police and community mentors come to the school or commmunity center once a week for 2 hrs. to reach and play chess in a very relazed environment with loud music, laughter and Gracie BullyProof jiu-jitsu sessions interspersed in the weekly mix.


Founded by award wining Lecturer and Author, Adisa Banjoko, the HHCF is dedicated to providing an inclusive setting for individuals to interact, play and develop life strategy skills with people they perceive as mentors.
"Despite the school system's best efforts and intentions, and the efforts of overworked parents, the past generations have suffered from lack of suitable education and essential resources required for a successful life," states co-founder Adisa Banjoko. "We recognize that chess, martial arts and hip-hop unify people from multiple cultural, religious and social backgrounds. These black and white squares do not care what color you are or if you are rich or poor. The only thing they ask is that you come with your strategy, your patience and your skills..."
In Norfolk Lisa Suhay has taken HHCF to a new level working with local law enforcement to bridge cultural and social gaps. There is also an ongoing partnership with Gracie Academy, Torrance, Ca. via Norfolk Karate Academy whereby volunteer instructors run short Street Safe courses to help take the fear factor out of school.

Program Highlights:

Licensed instructors from the Gracie Academy and Norfolk Karate Academy work with the kids, rolling on the mats, laughing and teaching strategies for avoiding and handling conflict. Chess tournaments and regular play help increase standardized test scores and increase critical thinking.

Support Services:

Many o four mentor volunteers are from the social service field and as they get to know children though play they find they are more able to connect and help provide solutions and life strategies.


Chess and Gracie BullyProof anti-bullying games and lessons. Multi-player (4 person chess) and Sierawan chess are also taught and played.

Field Trip Destinations: None fo far.
Program Information:

The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star

By Lia Russell

The Virginian-Pilot

When Navy Senior Chief Brad Taylor realized his sons, Bradley and Zachary, were being bullied in their private Norfolk school, he enrolled them in a martial arts program.

The results were almost immediate.

Their confidence level rose, and it positively affected every part of their lives, Taylor said.

The bullying stopped right away, Bradley Taylor, 15, said. It was empowering.

Soon, Taylor and his wife, Jennifer, joined the boys in their karate and jiujitsu classes. That was four years ago.

Now, all four family members have advanced martial arts skills, including black belts in karate.
This summer, through the Norfolk Karate Academy, the family is volunteering to teach "Gracie Bullyproof," a confidence-building program .

The 10-week program, held at Lamberts Point Community Center, boosts self-esteem, increases awareness, and - as a last resort - teaches nonviolent self-defense techniques against bullies.

The program was created by the Gracie family - a prominent sporting family from Brazil.

Last week, 40 children, ages 5 to 12, gathered at the community center to "bully-proof" themselves.

The self-defense class is held in conjunction with "Hip Hop Chess," sponsored by the Norfolk Police Department.

"Chess and jiujitsu go together because jiujitsu is all about figuring out how the other guy thinks and knowing how to make all the right moves," said volunteer Lisa Suhay, as she introduced the program to the children. "Chess is about how to make the right moves, and life is about how to make the right moves."

After an introduction to chess by Virginia Amateur Chess champion Ernie Schlich, the youngsters played against each other while listening to hip-hop music. Some were paired with officers from the Norfolk Police Department.

After an hour of chess, the children moved into an adjacent room, removed their shoes and warmed up for their introduction to jiujitsu by moving across the floor mats like crabs, snakes, gorillas and frogs. ##

Slogan: Every Pawn is a Baby Queen.