How Martial Arts Can Help With Bullying
There is no parent or a parent-to-be who hasn’t feared peer violence on both sides of the scale, whether their kids become bullies or start being bullied. By definition, bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior (making threats, attacking someone, spreading rumors etc.) is often repeated. Bullying is more common than people might think; some statistics say that it happens to 28% of students between 12 and 18 years and that most of them don’t report it. Some youth even drop out of school because of it.
Many anti-bullying campaigns have been started across North America. The idea is for communities to unite and raise awareness on bullying prevention. Some indicators show that martial arts programs, regardless of what combat practice, can be one of the best ways of fighting bullying.
Simply put, a martial arts skill set builds confidence and self-respect. Confident children don’t get bullied because bullies tend to pick on easy targets. Martial arts also teach children verbal assertiveness for deterring bullies and non-violent self defense techniques that will neutralize the attacker. Even the very fact that a child is armed with knowledge of a martial art, decreases his or her chances of being bullied.
In martial arts classes children are taught conflict prevention skills. The techniques they learn must not be abused, and that is rehearsed in courses. Three of the most effective martial arts strategies used against bullying are: identifying unwanted behavior, avoiding being a target and stopping the specified behavior. If a child stands up to his attacker and tells him to stop pestering him, in 90% of the situations the bully will draw back. If this fails and the words don’t work, the child will know ways of self defense, and he won’t be afraid of reporting his attacker to the authorities. This way the child is prepared in any case, but the most important thing they will learn, is to deal with conflict before physically confronting their attacker.
Some say that a bully can also take the class and use the adopted techniques against his „victims“. But the knowledge of martial arts is beneficial for all – bullies don’t see themselves as such. If they embrace the positive values of martial arts, this will most likely lead to discipline, respect for others and a better understanding of difference between right and wrong.
There are certain stereotypes about martial arts being violent and dangerous, but that is far from truth. Not only are these disciplines a great way of reaching physical strength, they are also a way to learn how to approach hostility and nonviolently deal with conflicts. Parents want their kids to be safe, but also to gain good values in life and training in one of the martial arts is a really good way of achieving these goals. If they embrace these skills at a young age, they will be able to cope with intimidating situations or people once they grow up.
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