Going to school should be an exciting time – new teachers, new clothes, new school gear and new friends. But for a child who is the victim of a bully, the excitement of a new school year is filled more with anxiety than anticipation.
As a martial arts instructor, I’m often asked by parents about the best ways to help their children to deal with bullies. While there are many approaches to the problem, I think one of the best ways is to instill self-confidence in your children with martial arts education.
For the same reasons you role-play to anticipate tough questions during a job interview, role-playing a few scenarios involving bullies with children can teach them how to respond to a stressful confrontation. Martial arts is not much different. When practicing martial arts, we are basically role-playing various self-defence scenarios. When practiced enough, the student can recall and instinctively respond when they find themselves in a dangerous situation. At home, you can simply role-play some bullying scenarios to help your child practice for any confrontation. When he/she finds themselves dealing with bullies, they will have more self-confidence since they are better prepared to handle it.
At the Ontario Self Defence Centre and Whitby Martial Arts Academy we teach correct body language and communication skills. Kung Fu and martial arts stances exude confidence. In traditional martial arts training, the posture of the ready stance is body straight, eyes focused and feet firmly on the ground. Also, instructing children to breathe properly (calm breath equals calm composure) and speak in a confident tone to help deter any immediate threat from bullies. Any action taken on the part of your child should not be done in a manner that might be perceived as trying to challenge the bully. Standing one’s ground with a confident composure, despite the actual feeling of genuine fear, should be learned, and practiced. Children should also learn how to communicate and create rapport with others. Using words to defuse a situation can help prevent it from becoming physical. Learning how to become competent physically can give someone the confidence to defuse situations with their words. This is the paradigm of correct self-defence training.
Consider enrolling your child in a martial arts program. The training at most self-defence academies does not promote the use of violence, however, having that knowledge will help your child feel more self-assured. Violence is not something most people would advocate for their child, but is it important for your child to learn how to deal with violence. If your child does need to defend themselves, their practice will provide a level of safety by allowing them to perform the moves instinctively when threatened. Besides learning self-defence skills, and understanding when it would be appropriate to use them, your child will take away life skills and leadership lessons that will enhance confidence throughout their life. Martial Arts is in fact a way of life and of being, nothing compares to level of self-empowerment and self-reliance obtained through a professional martial arts curriculum.
Bullying should never be taken lightly. We’ve made great progress in the awareness of bullying. Bullying policies have been implemented by schools, the workplace and the government. However, we still need to, as a community, prepare and educate our children on how to deal with this serious issue. I believe, only through education can we truly make a difference. Beyond the school yard bully, we have other issues in this world. There is no script to the conflict or critical moments one will face in their lives and safety training, self-confidence and survival skills should be trained by each and every human being.
With apologies for my direct approach, I find it hard to believe that basic educational skills are mandatory. Learning to swim is the norm and playing sports or the development of other hobbies is widespread. However, self-protection training and survival skills and dealing with bullies is not widespread, social skills and the need to be self-reliant. Self-respect should be as important as all other mainstream educational requirements. From the home, to school, to the workplace and amongst the host of predators in the world, correct martial arts training and self-defence skills taught to the new generation and our existing teens and adults, will help empower them and help keep them safe. Bullies can change a child’s life forever! Growing up without self-esteem and confidence will severely affect your life. Your career, your relationships and everything you do is affected. This is why I am so passionate about martial arts and self-defence training.
Enrolling a child into a martial arts academy is one of the best actions a parent can take to prevent their child becoming a victim of bullying.
Why? Because martial arts can help children on both sides of the bullying equation.
Benefits of martial arts are: Self-Confidence. Self-Discipline. Respect for Self and Others. Self-Control. Leadership. Stress Relief. Self-Defence. Martial arts helps both the children who are being bullied, and the children who are bullying others.
For Bullies: Bullies often enjoy status and power because others fear them. They also command a lot of attention for their behaviour. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by building up these children’s confidence in other areas, so that they won’t need to resort to bullying for attention or approval.
For Kids Who Are Targeted by Bullies: Bullies pick victims that they think will be easy targets. What makes an easy target? A child who seems weak, unsure of themselves, or easily scared. Martial arts helps stop bullying by building up children’s confidence so that they are able to project an aura of strength and ensure that they are not perceived as easy targets.
How Promoting Discipline Can Prevent Bullying
For Bullies: One of the factors that contributes to bullying behavior is an inconsistent approach to discipline at home. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by providing children with a clear cut and consistent structure of discipline that helps them learn what type of behavior is acceptable and what is not.
For Kids Who Are Targeted by Bullies: Victims of bullying can sometimes make things worse for themselves by acting in ways that make it easy for others to pick-on or threaten them. Martial arts helps stop bullying by teaching these children the discipline to manage their own behaviour in such a way that it does not in any way provoke or trigger a bully.
How Increasing Respect Can Stop Bullying
For Bullies: Bullies have a strong need to be in control and exert their dominance over others. That’s one of the reasons why they bully others. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by showing these children that everyone deserves respect, and that no one deserves to be mistreated. A martial arts academy promotes respect for self and others.
For Kids Who Are Targeted by Bullies: Being bullied can often shatter a child’s self-esteem and lead to a low self-image and low of self-worth. Martial arts helps stop bullying by showing these children that if they want others to respect them, they first must learn to respect themselves.
How Self-Control Can Prevent Bullying
For Bullies: Children who bully others can be impulsive, hot-headed, and dominant. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by helping these kids become more aware of their own thoughts and emotions, and training them to control negative impulses that could lead to bullying behaviours
For Kids Who Are Targeted by Bullies: Victims of bullying are often not aware of what kind of behaviour triggers a bully to lash out. Martial arts helps stop bullying by empowering these children. They learn to control their own behaviour in such a way that will stop a negative situation from spiraling into conflict or violence. This is by learning about using correct body language and words as well as the ability to make better decisions.
How Developing Leadership Skills Can Stop Bullying
For Bullies: Studies have shown that bullies lack empathy. They have also found that bullies can be more likely to develop anti-social personality disorder. This is a condition that causes people to ignore the rights and feelings of those around them. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by developing the capacity for empathy in these children.
For Kids Who Are Targeted by Bullies: Bullies often target kids who are less popular. So if your child has few friends, this social isolation could put them at higher risk of being bullied. Martial arts helps stop bullying by training these children to be more sociable and helping them make friends more easily.
How Relieving Stress Can Prevent Bullying
For Bullies: Bullies lack the ability to self-regulate emotions. Often, they simply don’t have a way to control their anger and frustration, which may result in severe overreactions to small provocations. Martial arts helps prevent bullying by giving them an outlet to blow off some steam. This makes it much less likely for them to take their frustration out on other kids.
For Kids Who Are Targeted by Bullies: One of the effects of bullying is that bullied kids often report symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, and stomach-aches. These kids are far more likely than others to report feeling physically sick. This is because they deal with such high levels of stress that it wears down their immune system. Martial arts helps stop bullying by providing a way for these children to relieve stress through vigorous physical exercise.
For Bullies: Children who bully others are often driven by the desire for power. They discover how effective it can be to use their power in an aggressive way to control and subdue others. Martial arts training can help prevent bullying by constantly emphasising the importance of using martial arts for self-defence only, never for offense. They also realise how dangerous and life-changing their behavior can become.
For Kids Who Are Targeted by Bullies: As we mentioned above, bullies pick victims that they think will be easy targets. Martial arts help stop bullying by teaching children how to defend themselves. Once they are armed with this knowledge, they will naturally project a much more confident image and thus, not come across as an easy target for bullies.
If you or your child are interested in enrolling in martial arts classes, the Whitby Martial Arts Academy has the classes and teachers to help your child succeed. We will do our best to help you achieve your martial arts goals. Come on down to the Ontario Self Defence Centre. Whether it’s Safety. Self-protection. Confidence. Martial Arts Training. Kung Fu. Fitness. Health. Speed or Strength we got you covered. We offer classes for Men, Women and Children.
Take advantage of our 14 day free trial. See how self-protection training and martial arts can change your life. Serving the Durham Region. Whitby. Ajax. Oshawa. Pickering. Brooklin.