“Bullies Beware! Warrior Soldiers are filling the Anti Bully ranks! Like Jedi Knights, this new breed of warrior soldier is going to change the course of history. Their bonds are deep and they live a warriors creed. Words like acceptance, honor, loyalty, friendship, and commitment are the ingredients to their strength. In today’s world, it’s no longer acceptable to ignore the signs that something is wrong. Martial Arts is a vehicle to building confidence in young children and adults. It’s never too late to build up your courage. We’re already born with it. Sometimes you have to find it. This article is about the benefits that the Martial arts community can provide to the Anti Bully movement.
Developing the skills a child needs to navigate their emotional development is a huge effort. It requires constant correction and re adjustment by parents and teachers who have one common goal in mind. Part of emotional development is learning how to control. Control comes in many different forms and some are appropriate and some are inappropriate. Because the emotional development for control is so universal, it’s been overlooked as a stage that children have to grow out of. The problem with this antiquated thought process is that when a behavior goes unchecked by adults, a child may continue with that behavior and as they grow older, this behavior becomes distracting and destructive.
By exposing your child to martial arts at a young age, they become aware of their control and power in a safe and peaceful environment. So long as instructors teach appropriate behavioral and emotional principles on a consistent basis, the progression of a child from one belt level to another or from a beginners group to higher level groups, can develop a controlled, disciplined, confident and courageous leader. This is the ultimate goal of Martial Arts against Bullying. By developing a legion of leaders at a young age, we can curb the disease called bullying at the seed! Parents and teachers who are trained to identify and correct poor behavior patterns in bullies, is also a major ingredient in this solution.
Let’s discuss the role of Martial arts, the parent and the teacher in the behavioral development of children in today’s schools.
Since I am a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I feel I can speak about the importance of organized martial arts in a child’s developmental process. Children, at a young age are learning how to communicate both verbally and non verbally. As they begin to discover how to communicate, they also begin to develop emotional forms of control or lack of control. Bullying is often a bi product of this new behavior. This is a great age to introduce a child to some form of martial arts. This is around age 4 to 5 yrs. This is where the seeds are planted and where the structure of a child’s behavior is the most fragile.
Over the past 20 years, and much in part due to a lack of any formalized instruction, both teachers and parents have been trapped in a system of tolerance. Tolerance of emotional and physical abuse that was only corrected by punishment that didn’t address the root of the problem, just the action. It’s almost a case of not wanting to get involved. Why would a teacher want to or even have the time to address the underlying causes of bullying, when there is no organized class instruction that requires them to.
In order for a child to understand enough of what is happening to him to actually identify the problem and assess a certain action to take, somebody would have to teach them. And that doesn’t guarantee that when faced with a bully situation, they would show courage. Basically, most kids are left to solve this problem themselves with parents and teachers acting as referees. Martial arts teaches systems that the child knows and understands well enough to apply what they practice in real life. Understanding requires some form of knowledge but also experience. Most children aren’t aware of what they’re capable of and that is an obstacle to self-expression and appropriate use of control.
To discover more about one self and learn different measures of control both physical and emotional, Martial arts is an excellent forum. Young children in Martial Arts are taught at an age where their emotional compasses are all over the board. Martial Arts instruction is as important if not more important than classes in school, for the socialization of young children. In the martial arts environment, a child is taught more about the codes of honor and because it’s an old art of war from many different countries, there’s a sense of respect given to the professor or instructor. Because there’s a sense of mystery in the techniques it gains the full attention of its students. It’s a love of learning that helps develop that belief that equality is a part of life and treating others like you would wish to be treated becomes a way of life.
These are the young soldiers that can be developed and molded. Young kids who aren’t violent in nature, but who appreciate and enjoy the art of something that is more meaningful to them for whatever reason it is. Bullies are usually the loud ones with something to prove. Kids who participate in some form of martial arts whether it’s Karate, Kickboxing, Boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, or Mixed Martial Arts, have no reasons to abuse others. They understand the consequences of their actions because, whether they realize it or not, they have an emotional and spiritual connection with who they are.
In conclusion, I read a lot of literature regarding how to handle bullying and I’m surprised to see that we just expect our innocent and peaceful children to respond to stressful and fearful situations in adult like ways. Some of us adults cannot say we would respond correctly if a bully was to push us around. I believe in more education at the school level. I believe parents should be required to attend bully classes offered by public schools where the students and kids participate. We send our children to public schools because we’re fortunate enough to live in America and public school is free. The problem is that changes are hard and slow in our nations school district and adding additional class study to an already stretched budget stands as an obstacle to future education that could literally change the outcome of many student’s personal lives.
Martial Arts would be a great fit in public schools. Replace physical education with a couple martial arts programs. We have a very similar situation with sex ed in Nevada. For some reason, it’s considered taboo and as a result the problems that occur because of lack of education far outweighs the consequences of not having it at all. If one student’s life is changed or saved from students being required to attend anti bully classes and martial arts classes in school, we would have far less incidences of bullying. Now I understand the limitations inherent with any anti bully movement. Some parents are bullies themselves, or don’t want their kids to learn martial arts. Some parents aren’t comfortable with the idea of their child hitting or being hit in a controlled environment. What they fail to realize is that safety exists in martial arts and danger exists when nothing is done. While I agree Martial Arts won’t solve the whole problem, I do believe its an out of the box idea whose time has come. Bullying is bigger than ever and like with any corporation who stagnates or begins to fail, changes are required and sometimes extreme measures are necessary to alter the course. Martial artists as well as properly trained parents and teachers can impact the actions of children as well as redefine how they behave towards others, and the futures of our grandchildren won’t be faced with another huge problem that only festers because of lack of general concern!