Saturday, March 3, 2012

Confidence Beats Bullying in Phoenix Arizona

Children Learn To Say NO to Bullying and Back It Up With Confidence

Did you know that one of the most powerful tools a child can have to combat bullying is confidence?  We have seen it time and again over the past twenty plus years of teaching bullying prevention and martial arts to children.

Confidence provides a foundation for social skills.  Social skills lead to experience.  Experience in social settings leads to social intelligence.  Social intelligence means that children learn problems solving techniques and how to avoid situations that might lead to bullying, unhealthy peer pressure and bad choices.

At USA Martial Arts & Kickboxing Phoenix, we use a unique blend of Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts in our Karate Kids program to instill character, confidence and safety skills.  Our drills borrow from Krav Maga (Israeli Defense Forces hand to hand combat), Jeet Kune Do, and scenario based training so that children have true confidence in applying the self defense lessons they learn.

Confidence changes the way in which a child carries himself or herself.  They walk taller, make better eye contact, respond to dangerous situations more calmly and are far more likely to access help when needed.

Just demonstrating confidence helps a child avoid the victim profile.  Victims of crime and bullying are often selected based on perceived vulnerability.  As I am always reinforcing in my students,

If you look like a victim, act like a victim, carry yourself like a victim, you are likely to become a victim.  However, If you act like a champion, train like a champion, associate with champions and do what champions do, you are most likely going to become...?  Right, a champion.

This doesn't mean that children will live trouble free lives.  However, we know that people who bully and prey on others tend to test their targets to see how they react.  If a targeted child demonstrates strength, that child is usually passed over for continued harassment, attack or bullying.

Self Defense Maxim: "Bad guys don't have alternative plans, they have alternative targets."

Confidence also makes a child more likely to get help, tell and create problems for an attacker or someone behaving as a bully.  One of the best tools I have ever seen for developing a childs confidence is a good martial arts program.

  • A good martial arts program will address the full spectrum of self defense including:
  • How to avoid being selected as a bullying or crime target
  • Knowledge and warning signs of how criminals operate (or bullying behavior starts)
  • How to avoid trouble spots, set ups and recognize trouble behavior and situations
  • Actionable steps to divert a pathway to crime or bullying
  • Verbal Judo skills to thwart bullying or ward off an attack
  • Physical intervention options to peacefully resolve attacks without excessive force
  • The important elements of aftercare and protecting your body, mind and emotional health
  • The importance of speaking up for others and how to offer bullying first aid by being a friend, inclusive and showing empathy

Bullying is a general term that can have a full spectrum of different ramifications.  Bullying can range from social exclusion, dirty looks, teasing, rumors to a full on attack such as pulling hair, shoving, tackling, kicking or other hitting.  A good martial arts program will teach a child how to properly categorize and respond to varying degrees of bad behavior and what to do about it.

But just knowing what to do isn't enough.  Children need to know deep down inside that they have sure, ever present self defense and bullying prevention capabilities in order to project true inner strength.   We believe that confidence comes from competence.  You can only fake it so much.  Nothing can replace that genuine inner-strength that comes from high self esteem and confidence.

Competence comes from practice and testing skills under stress.  If you can handle yourself against our instructor attackers (affectionately called The Bullying Goon Squad) then you have more confidence.  

Consider a good martial arts school with a bullying prevention program today.  Ask them if they are affiliated with Dr. Terrence Webster Doyle's Bully Busters, Izzy Kalman's Bullies to Buddies, KidPower/FullPower, Verbal Judo or the International Bullying Prevention Initiative.  These are some of the more respected and proven programs available.  If your child's martial arts school is not using these programs, it might be a good idea to suggest it.

For more information contact:
Arizona Bullying Prevention Initiative The Phoenix Bully Proof Project FACEBOOK
Bully Proof Arizona BLOG
Bullying Prevention Initiative International FACEBOOK
Bullying Prevention World BLOG

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