Bullying is a serious problem being faced in schools today. More than one in four students report being the victims of bullying. Sadly, the pain of being bullied does not end when the aggressive act concludes. The psychological effects can be long-lasting.
Parents want to help protect their children, but they usually can’t be in school with them. Martial arts training is something that parents can provide that WILL follow the child there.
Martial arts skills are not meant to encourage your child to exhibit violent behavior. Rather, they are meant to build your child’s confidence. When a person is confident in him or herself, this confidence is conveyed to potential bullies. A bully wants to pick on an easy target. Someone who carries themselves assuredly is much less likely to be the object of taunting and aggressive behavior.
Further, when someone has been trained to defend themselves, it frees them from having to prove that ability to others. A martial artist knows that they have the tools to deal with aggressors, and is therefore not as panicked. Maintaining a calm demeanor in an altercation makes it less likely to deteriorate into physical violence.
Disciplines such as karate teach students to fulfill their potentials. The process of being a student requires growing physically through training. It also involves increasing self-motivation by requiring work at home to practice different combinations of moves. When a child sees that they can do more push-ups than they ever thought possible, new levels of self-belief become possible.
Also during training, students reach the level of participating in sparring matches. During these matches, combat experience is gained with the benefit of protective guards. This removes the fear of the unknown when it comes to situations where someone is trying to hit you. After that experience, a child is more able to get over the fear of what a bully is capable of doing.
Several dojos offer training in breaking boards with the bare fist. While it sounds incredible, it is actually a feat which school-aged children can achieve. It is representative of the breaking through of barriers possible to someone who feels empowered. When a child can do something seemingly impossible to a board, it is not a great leap of the imagination that other obstacles in life can be overcome.
Further, training oftentimes involves working in pairs and groups. The camaraderie which grows between partners at the dojo has the added benefit of fostering social skills. Lasting friendships that form there can lead children to discover new social skills with which to resolve tense problems in situations like school.
A bully wants to feel powerful by making someone else feel less powerful. At heart, bullies don’t feel secure in themselves. With character-building experiences practicing kicks and punches with other kids, your child stands a good chance of being in a state of better emotional maturity than the aggressor, which is an advantage in defusing the situation.
Having a hobby such as a karate is another way for a child to define her or his identity. It is another mirror in which they can learn to see their potential. The image they grow to see is of someone who is not a victim. They forge an aspect of themselves that can look at a developing conflict without succumbing to fear and helpless feelings.
Another benefit of time spent in the dojo is improved over-all physical health, which contributes to added mental health. Regular exercise can increase mood. This can help your child to form more social bonds in the school setting, which could help prevent him or her as being seen as a target by the potential bully. Also, a better mood can help with one conflict resolution method taught in karate, which is humor.
Mastering the techniques of self-defense teaches the student that they are capable of undertaking a long term endeavor and reaping the rewards from it. This mindset can be helpful when considering a relationship with a bully. Just because your child may have been victimized by this person in the past doesn’t mean your child is that same victimizable person now that they were then.
Your child has to face the school day throughout the years in order to get the educational foundation to build a productive life. Along the way, it is an unfortunate reality that an encounter (or encounters) with a bully are not an unlikely situation to have to deal with. For this reason, training is a good option to instill the values of self-reliance.
The mind that knows it can accomplish a difficult task, such as becoming skilled in martial arts, will be more likely to face resolving difficult tasks in the future. The next time your child is confronted by that bully, the dynamic will have changed. Your child knows her or his power now.