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How Martial Arts Can Bully-proof Your Child: Bully Be Gone

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Kombat Arts hosts Bully Be Gone, a FREE anti-bullying seminar Saturday in Mississauga. To learn more about how martial arts can play an integral role in bully-proofing your children, let's hear from our Kru Joey de Los Reyes. Now more than ever, bullies are a concern for parents. Not only can bullies be lurking in the schoolyards and playgrounds, but now bullies can reach your children from anywhere, via the internet. There's no way to completely insulate a child from this behaviour, at least not any way that would be helpful, healthy or beneficial. More important than trying to completely shield your kids from such people and events is to actively participate in bully-proofing them. There are many ways that kids can fend off bullies. If you want to know the best way to react to bullying, it's important first to understand the bully's point of view. Bullies lash out for many reasons. They may see somebody as weak or "different" and decide to pick on them. A bully may pick on somebody whom he or she just doesn't like, or even fears or is jealous of. Bullies can also just be overly aggressive, playing off their larger size or their schoolyard reputation. One strategy to bully-proof your child is to alert them that they should never start a fight -- but they shouldn't go running at the first sign of one, either. That would only further indicate to a bully that the person they chose to harass is a weak, easy and perhaps even fun target. Rather, your child needs to learn confidence and self-defence if it comes to that point. This is where the martial arts come into play. A key concept of training in martial arts is to only use what you learn for self-defence. This means that in teaching a child these techniques, they don't become more dangerous -- rather, they learn to protect themselves. If a situation arises where they need to use what they have learned, they will be well prepared to handle it. Additionally, knowing they have that training will boost their confidence and the image they have of themselves. This will make them appear as a threat that bullies do not want to chance. This increased self-assuredness can also help your child diffuse many other situations as well as garner support and respect. The great thing about martial arts is that it's really not about size or strength. It's about skill, speed, timing, momentum and intelligence. With adequate martial arts training, even the smallest kid in class will be able to stick up for him- or herself and earn the respect of others. The fact is, you can't completely bully-proof a child. Even as adults we come across bullies in our places of business and in our day-to-day lives. The best solution is to have your child be prepared. Training in the martial arts teaches the physical skills to defend oneself, as well as the mental skills needed to avoid confrontation and diffuse tough situations. It's the best form of bully-proofing you could ever give to your child. For children, we recommend our Mini Dragons class and for teens we have a lot of recommendations: boxing, Teen Muay Thai, wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu, jun fan jeet kune do and mixed martial arts. Help prevent bullying! Come out and try a FREE week of training at the Kombat Arts and be sure to attend Bully Be Gone, our free bully awareness seminar this Saturday, September 22, 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Special guest UFC fighterAlistair Overeem will be in attendance.

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