Is your child being bullied? Are your complaints falling on deaf ears to teachers, administrators, and other parents?
Consider enrolling them in a martial art. Despite what you might have seen in movies, you won’t be throwing them into a violent free-for-all. Martial arts are ancient and respected traditions that emphasize things like discipline, perseverance, and inner peace, and they can be just what your child needs to overcome the pain and stigma of bullying.
Here are just a few benefits of learning a martial art.
Self-defense is the most obvious reason for a child to take up a martial art. If you’re worried about their safety at school, you can teach them how to defend themselves against physical attacks and assaults.
As for the martial art that’s best for young practitioners, it depends on both the child and the art.
- Karate is a fighting style that literally means “empty hand.” It’s a good anti-bullying measure because it doesn’t require any weapons to be effective; your child can defend themselves in classrooms, lunchrooms, hallways, playgrounds and anywhere else that they get cornered. It’s a martial art that can be utilized anywhere and anytime.
- Aikido is popular with women and children because of its focus on self-defense. Instead of aggressive punches and kicks, practitioners are taught how to use their opponent’s own force against them. For example, if the other person throws a punch, the aikido student can evade and redirect the punch’s momentum and turn it back on them. This allows small targets to take down big bullies.
- Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling art with a lot of holds and throws. Since many fights wind up on the ground, it can be a practical martial art for children who are frequent targets of harassment. It can also be used as a foundation for wrestling if your child is athletic.
These are just a few martial art styles that can help your child with bullying. There are many, many more, so don’t be afraid to poke around and do some research. The right style is out there. You just have to figure out which one suits your child’s unique needs and temperament.
You’ve probably heard the old adage that the best fighters are the ones who can avoid fighting in the first place. This is true, but it’s about more than just turning the other cheek. It involves having the skill and the discipline to handle confrontation in a non-violent way.
Here are a few martial art styles that emphasize things like peace, harmony, and control:
- Wing chun is a martial art that focuses on spiritual development just as much as physical strength. Its principles include honesty, simplicity, fairness, calmness and the minimum use of brute force.
- Krav maga is a hardcore martial art that’s used by armies and police forces worldwide. However, it can be taught to kids in age-appropriate classes, and the seriousness of its attacks is often emphasized to teach restraint and discipline.
- Tai chi is commonly practiced alongside things like yoga, but it’s a genuine martial art that teaches defensive techniques through breathing, meditation, and controlled motion. It emphasizes the balance between the inner and outer self.
These arts can teach your kids how to cope with the emotional aspects of being bullied. They’re also great for resolving issues, de-escalating conflicts and handling difficult situations with grace.
Learning a martial art is a skill. Just like painting, playing sports or mastering an instrument, it’s the kind of thing that will steadily boost your child’s confidence as they apply themselves to a goal.
Any martial art can help with the self-esteem issues brought on by bullies, but here are a few that are particularly useful:
- Tae kwon do is a martial art that you’ve probably seen before. It has all of those colorful belts that denote skill level, and it involves lots of sparring competitions where kids can test themselves against opponents. It’s a great martial art if you want to give your child a structured activity where they can achieve things through practice, competition, and hard work.
- Mixed martial arts is another tough martial art that needs to be taught in age-appropriate classes, but if you want your child to build a foundation of discipline and confidence, this is one of the best fighting styles for the job. MMA is a real adult skill that they can start early.
- Muay Thai is called “the art of eight limbs” because it utilizes hands, feet, elbows, knees and many other parts of the body. It’s ideal for fighting because it can be adapted to many different situations, and it will give your child peace of mind to know that they can defend themselves no matter what.
Again, this is just a small sample of martial art styles to consider. Any of them can help with building your child’s self-esteem. It’s a natural side effect of getting good at something.
A martial artist will enjoy self-actualization no matter what style they practice. It just comes with the territory of learning a new skill, working hard, gaining confidence and realizing your full potential.
It isn’t a cure-all, of course. Learning a martial art isn’t a band-aid for bullying. For example, some kids are jerks who will force a fight no matter how zen your child is, so there’s only so much that their principles of peace and harmony can do. That’s why you teach them martial arts and not feng shui.
All things considered, however, mastering a martial art is an excellent way to combat bullies. It will give your child the physical skills to defend themselves from attack, and it will teach them how to use positive emotional tools to handle conflict or cope with violence.
Consider enrolling your child in a martial art class. They don’t have to let the bullies win.