Friday, April 1, 2011

Is Martial Arts The Best Bullying Prevention Training for Children?

Bullying Prevention - The Case for Martial Arts

Over the past 25+ years of teaching martial arts and our self defense security strategies to over 10,000 people I believe martial arts can be a fantastic solution for successfully and peacefully addressing bullying.

In my view martial arts can, depending on how it is taught, have a profound impact on reducing bullying behavior by treating the core of the issue - the individual and his or her relationship with those around them.  

1. Martial Arts encourages investment in ones self which builds self esteem and confidence.  This can often remove a child from the victim selection profile.
2. Builds emotional intelligence and social skills based on polite courtesy and good manners. This can help them make better decisions, resolve and cope with conflict.
3. Encourages empathy and self control (some of us teach anger management)
4. Creates a noble culture in avoiding violence and creating peace.  This preserves an individuals dignity.
5. Inspires taking action and the courage to defend and speak up for others (the bystander)
6. Builds leadership skills to influence others in a positive manner
7. Provides a positive outlet for energy
8. Has a track record for reducing stress 
9. Teaches defensive options that include a range of force choices (without training the options are escape or extreme violence that can often be excessive for lack of other options) 
10. Training provides options that not having training denies.

Another benefit to having a child in a martial arts school is that they have another advocate.  I've had numerous children come to me to tell me about a bullying problem when they did not feel comfortable sharing that with their parents.  

In a good martial arts school we each have the opportunity to make positive friendships and develop an encouraging peer group supportive of our development and goals.  Furthermore, we have an opportunity to learn more about ourselves, facing fears, insecurities and limiting beliefs in a safe-haven designed for our success.  

However, as with anything, martial arts has its anomalies and some instructors are bullies themselves - no different than the rest of society.  That is why it is important to find a good school with the right instructors and curriculum.  I would also argue for traditional martial arts with clearly defined philosophy, tenets and life skills curriculum.  Many modern schools emphasize socially acceptable fighting, vanity, self promotion and a culture steeped in tribal dominance.  So when I advocate martial arts instruction for bullying prevention, I clearly support schools emphasizing personal development with an empowerment (rather than fear or dominance) based culture.

Feel free to contact me or my team for seminars, corporate speaking, school assemblies, presentations, training or consultation.  


John Nottingham
USA Martial Arts Phoenix AZ USA
Arizona Bullying Prevention Initiative
The Bullying Prevention Project
Telephone: 602-896-8721
email: info@usa-martialarts.com
Arizona Bullying Prevention Project | Facebook


USA Martial Arts

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