How Can Martial Arts Help Victims of Bullies?

How Can Martial Arts Help Victims of Bullies?

In secondary school I was faced with a bully. Physically, he and his group of loyal henchmen didn’t do much, but they taunted me and scared me to the point I would seek new routes on my walk to and from school. I was terrified of running into my bully, not so much the others as they mostly acted on his orders, but to me the very sight of him made me feel weak.

I was embarrassed to talk to my parents, and when I finally did they responded with the expected parental indignation. How was it that their son was being tormented by some lousy kid? My mum immediately approached the parents who lived down the street. And in the meantime, my dad wanted me to fight back. I was a flute player.

The flute, it turns out, wasn’t exactly the kind of instrument that puts you in with the cool kids, and didn’t help me come off as tough. But it did mean I was carrying a weapon every time I went to school. My music stand. My dad thought I should simply take a swing at my bully’s face with the heavy metal stand to teach him not to mess with me – the flute player and bully-killer extraordinaire. Suffice to say I never hit anyone with a music stand. And that’s probably for the best. My mum’s talk with the parents, however, had a lasting impact. I was never bullied again.

Many parents see their children’s standing their ground as part of their transformation into manhood or womanhood. It’s the idea that valiantly standing up to your foes will lead you to overcome other obstacles later in life. And although there is no one answer suits all when it comes to bullies, there is a long-term solution with lasting benefits that go beyond playground bragging rights: start your child up at martial arts school.

Most eastern fight styles have a lot more to do with self-defence and control than attack and aggression. Fight lessons in any style, from karate to judo, won’t just teach a child to defend themselves physically, but will give them the self-control and confidence so that they won’t care about playground taunts anymore. In martial arts class, children will be rewarded for hard work and progress with clear markers of achievement; in the playground, their bullies will have been disarmed.

Of course bullying shouldn’t be a parent’s only reason for enrolling their child into a martial arts school. A martial arts class is a positive social environment outside of school; training can help improve stamina, flexibility, concentration and even academic performance. The benefits of martial arts training are numerous, those taunts will fall on deaf ears, and you’ll save yourself a perfectly good music stand.

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