As a parent, or as a child, you have probably been concerned at some point in your life with the issue of bullying. It should come as no surprise then that according to recent statistics in Canada, as much as 64% of children have been bullied at school, and 12% have been bullied on a regular basis (at least once a week).
Bullying is defined as “the use of force or coercion to abuse (emotionally, verbally or physically) or intimidate others”. It is most prevalent in schools, but can also be present in other social settings, such as the workplace, event amongst adults.
If you look into it, there is a lot of information out there about how to prevent and react to bullying, and the anti-bullying movement has taken important proportions in recent years thanks to government programs, celebrity endorsements, books and online resources.
But the most important thing to understand about bullying…
is that it is caused by low self-esteem, both on the part of the bully, and of the child that is a victim of bullying. A child that is not confident in his own social status, intelligence, or sense of worth will pick on another child that is perceived as being physically or emotionally weaker, in an attempt to seek pier recognition and approval.
Since the main cause of bullying is lack of confidence, martial arts are therefore an excellent anti-bullying remedy, both for bullies as well as victims.
Here are a few ways martial arts practice can help prevent bullying:
One of the core values of martial arts is to teach practitioners the importance of respect, towards authority (at home, at school, and in the dojo), towards other students (elders as well as beginners), and especially towards themselves.
Self-esteem & confidence
Self-esteem comes from the realisation that you can reach a worthwhile goal you have set for yourself, with effort. So martial arts is not about telling your child he is better than he is, it is about assessing his present level, showing him what he needs to do to improve, and getting him excited about making the effort required. Once he starts reaching his goals he will start building solid confidence in himself.
Health and fitness
Martial arts are an ancient science which aims to fully develop every aspect of a human being. Naturally health and fitness are a big part of personal development. And as a stronger, healthier and more confident person, your child will be much less likely to get bullied in school.
Although we teach our students to prevent or walk away from confrontation whenever possible, it is still important that your child knows how to react to physical threat. Nothing stops a bully quite as efficiently as an appropriate, controlled reaction to physical abuse.
With greater strength and self-defense ability must come a healthy dose of self-control. Children learn control in the martial arts through supervised practice of techniques, and specific teachings in which they learn to understand, and master their emotions to remain calm and act intelligently.
Fun and social activity
Lastly, having a positive, fun, social environment for your child to develop will do wonders for his self-esteem, and we are there to make sure every child learns how to interact efficiently, respectfully and happily with his peers.
So no matter your child’s experience so far on the playground, martial arts can give him the tools to become a responsible, caring, confident, positive influence in society.
Hope you enjoyed this article, as it is part of our dedication to improve the lives of children through the teachings of traditional martial arts.