Standing Strong: How Martial Arts Training Prepares Children to Respond To Bullying
Bullying is major issue that can cause many negative consequences for children including anxiety, depression, sadness, anger, changes in eating and sleep patterns, and decreased interest in things he or she used to enjoy. A child that is bullied may lose interest in socializing, struggle with homework and/or classwork, or lash out at other students or teachers. As a parent or guardian, one of the best ways to help your child against bullying is by enrolling them in a martial arts program.
World Class Tae Kwon Do can teach your child practical skills that will make a positive impact in all areas of their life. Our trained instructors are prepared to help your child develop physically, mentally, and socially to combat bullying and peer pressure. There are many reasons why you should allow your child to check out one of our classes. Here is a list of benefits that martial arts training provides.
Teach The Power of Posture and Body Language
The reality is that even at very young ages, children “size up” their peers. Specifically, bullies have a habit of seeking out those children who are shy or more withdrawn. They do this by noticing how other children stand, speak and even sound. In Taekwondo we teach three specific habits that are valuable in a bullying situation
Martial arts students train the habit of maintaining good posture with their head held high, shoulders back, and eyes looking forward alertly. Contrast this with a child who is shuffling their feet, walking listlessly wth their head down and shoulders stooped, and it is easy to sense whom the bully would pick on first.
#2 The Voice is the First line of self defense:
In watching any martial arts class, you will see students being asked to verbally respond to instructions loud and clear both individually and as part of a group. In addition, students also use a loud “kihap” (energy yell) at the same time as they execute their kicks and punches. This leads children to be comfortable calling attention to themselves and speaking up for themselves, both useful techniques in a bullying scenario. When a bully first starts to pick on someone an emotional charged response of “ I said No!” or “ “Leave me alone!” lets the bully know that they have not picked an easy target, and that the situation may soon be noticed by adults.
This often causes the bully to think twice about picking on that same child again.
#3 The confidence to walk away:
A child that studies the martial arts develops confidence by facing and overcoming obstacles. These challenges include performing in front of a group, learning challenging techniques, and even breaking a board with a Tae Kwon Do kick. Over time, students develop a positive self image and learn that they are strong and capable. As a result, they are less likely to be “baited” into a fight just to prove themselves, or to be influenced by peer pressure. Tae Kwon Do develops leadership and the confidence to not be affected by childish insults or name calling.
What about using martial arts for a physical response to a bully?
Of course Tae Kwon Do students learn a variety of blocks, kicks, and punches that can be utilized for self defense. However, it is important to note that in cases of verbal bullying or peer pressure, that responding with physical force is inappropriate and would teach children the wrong way to respond to conflict. In addition, many schools have a “zero tolerance” policy towards violence in their schools, and will reprimand and possibly even suspend a student who strikes another student, regardless of who started the situation. While there are no easy answers, it is the view of most professional martial arts instructors that martial arts techniques should be used only when true physical harm is imminent and there are no other alternatives. Still, parents who enroll their children in Tae Kwon Do can take confidence that they have increased their child’s ability to protect themselves over the long term. Simply, they are so many positive benefits of growing up while learning martial arts.
Unfortunately, bullying is a reality of our current society. Even the most loving parent can’t always be by your child’s side or control every environment that they enter. However, through communication, support and encouragement with a staff of professional martial arts teachers, you can arm your child with the tools to overcome the majority of bullying scenarios that they will encounter while growing up.
Want to see how much Tae Kwon Do will benefit your child? It’s easy to get started with our no obligation trial program that includes a 1-on-1 intro lesson.