The beginning of the school year is a time that should be exciting. It’s when kids will get new clothes, school supplies, meet their teachers, and see friends they might not have seen most of the summer. Unfortunately, for many kids in the nation, it is also a time of fear. The summer break from bullying is over and now it’s time to return to where it doesn’t feel safe.
Many parents wonder what they can do to help their children not be a victim of bullying. With martial arts, it is possible to give you children tools to protect themselves from bullies that don’t involve throwing punches.
- Bullies tend to look for victims that they perceive as weaker than them and better able to be overpowered. One of the first ways that martial arts helps kids against bullying is that it gives them strength and confidence. The kids carry themselves with that confidence, which makes them less of a target.
- Martial arts teaches kids body language which can be a useful tool in avoiding conflict. They learn how to look assertive while not being aggressive. They also learn how to read the body language of others. In martial arts, you must be able to read body language to figure out how to best stop an opponent’s attack. These techniques can be applied to bullying as well. By being able to read body language to tell when things are escalating, they can better work to de-escalate.
- Studying martial arts can teach children how to respond during a bullying situation. Martial arts doesn’t teach children how to fight as much as it teaches them when not to. They learn when to punch and when to hold. In a situation with a bully, the child has a chance to use their words and confidence to de-escalate the situation before it gets violent.
- Martial arts training involves a bit of role playing, where the students practice different self-defense moves against an opponent. This opens up the chance for the child to use those role playing skills for preparing themselves for situations with a bully. They will feel more prepared for coping with the situation. This can also be used to teach them the techniques they need to know to calm situation down.
- One of the most important things is that it teaches children how to cope in real world situations. It teaches problem solving skills that can be applied to these situations, as well as teaching them respect in social situations. They learn accountability on the mat, and that translates over to real life.
If they aren’t able to avoid the situation, make sure your child knows to walk away from it and find an authority figure. Advocate for your child’s safety and make sure they have a safe place to go at school if something should happen. You may not be able to avoid all situations, but you can drastically reduce the chance and give your child a (nonviolent) fighting chance.