This page is going to prevent you from being bullied, help you understand bullying and if you are being bullied – give you the tools to stop it immediately.
From such a young age, Martial Arts had taught me that I could overcome bullying by having a strong self image and attitude. Martial Arts provided the framework to recover from terrible bullying, both physically and emotionally. Fortunately, due to the mentoring I received and the community I was surrounded by, the experiences of bullying I had shaped me into a confident young man. Without this support network and excellent mentoring, It’s very likely that I would have become more of a victim with far less confidence, less happiness and have been set up to have less opportunity in life.
Learning to deal with bullying is vital, it can make or break a child’s character and as parents I believe we must prepare for this. I tell my students every week that courage earns confidence… but where do we find courage?
I believe courage is fostered from a strong community that develops mindset, resilience and has a foundation of emotional support.
Bullying is something so many of us go through and I believe it has tremendous power (like any challenge or negative situation) to make or break us. We can emerge stronger than ever before with thicker skin, resilience and a concept of self worth, or we can emerge beaten and broken psychological,with a destroyed self esteem and problems with developing trust which can affect our relationships in future life, the decisions we make and can result in an unfulfilled life.
Although there are some excellent campaigns to prevent bullying from occurring or stop it from continuing now days, it’s still a largely debated topic that is hard to solve on a national scale. Bullying is likely to happen to each of us as adults or children, and it’s imperative that we ensure our child is part of a community that bulletproofs them from being a victim of bullying but also prevents them from becoming a bully themselves.
So, how can a club or organisation deal with instances of bullying, prevent it from happening and bulletproof children from being bullied?
To stop bullying we need to understand bullying and we need to know why it occurs and where it comes from.
Unfortunately, bullying occurs naturally in all of our communities, it’s been going on for thousands of years, what’s interesting is that bullying is remarkably simple. In almost all cases, bullying is “dominance behaviour”, and this behaviour typically results because one more more aspects are missing.
Typically a Bully is lacking attention at home and they react by lashing out at others for attention. Bullying can often be a learnt behaviour at home, where parents handle conflict poorly, show aggressive behaviour or are angry.
A study by “Stomp Out Bullying” showed that bullies don’t need a reason to hurt others. When asked, some replied:
Because it makes me feel stronger, smarter, or better than the person I’m bullying
Because I’m bullied at home
Because it’s what you do if you want to hang out with the right crowd
Because I see others doing it
Because I’m jealous of the other person
Because it’s one of the best ways to keep others from bullying me
Look closely at the above reasons as to why a bully would have displayed their behaviour. The majority of the problems above occur from a negative peer group or lack of confidence. By being outwardly positive to your peers you raise up your peer group and develop their confidence. You also improve the peer group in general so the members feel more positive attention.
1) Discovering what’s missing and filling in the gaps, replacing the negative with positive and ensuring this is reinforced regularly. Modifying the learned behaviour built up from being part of a negative community.
2) Surrounding the bully in a positive community where they feel welcome, at home and free to be creative and happy … without fear of being bullied themselves. As we know bullying often stems from fear, eliminating this fear has a strong impact on preventing bullying in itself.
We have spotted bully’s in the past and transformed them into the biggest advocates for anti-bullying as they begin to learn about the result of their actions. Instead, their evident power of influence can be used for good and can be geared towards building up their friends.
How our students become bulletproof to bullying:
We have shared why a bully engages in aggressive or bullying behaviour and how we deal with bullies.
Focusing on Confidence:
As we place such a huge focus on developing confidence in our classes our students become far less of a victim. This includes the way they speak, how they see themselves, their posture and body language, the decisions they make and their pride. We teach our students to become leaders so that they are not afraid to speak out and have a strong public voice. By developing these skills, bullies are far less likely to see our students as an easy target or a victim.
We hold regular talks with our students where we encourage them to share their experiences with regards to bullying. This is only possible in a friendly and supportive community and it does a few very important things. When someone is brave enough to share their experiences, they subconsciously give others in the group the courage to share their experiences as well. By sharing our experiences of being bullied, we become more aware of how why it occurs, how it occurs and how to spot it so that we can prevent it. We also find students develop a lot of strength from the support they find in our communities, specifically from our bully chats.
We make a point of teaching our students that their individuality and uniqueness is a strength. By understanding that our little quirks as well as the things we like and don’t like make up our personality and form who we are, we develop a stronger inner voice. We teach our students to respect each others individuality as they should respect their own.
Understanding bullies: We teach our students to try to understand bullying. With the information we have shared above, we talk to our students about how a bully maybe going through a similar thing themselves. This understanding of bullies gives our students a chance to forgive those who have bullied them.
There are 6 simple steps that we must teach our students and children to overcome bullying, so here they are:
So many students don’t report getting bullied and it’s often because they blame themselves. We need to bring up the subject of bullying by making it very clear that no one deserves to be bullied no matter how flawed or imperfect they may feel.
Educate children on why bullies bully. It’s almost always because it makes them feel good because they are missing something. Bullying shows a weakness in character, not a strength.
Changing the position of the bully from a threat to someone we should be feeling sorry for reduces the fear of being bullied and prevents us from reacting in an aggressive or upset way. If we respond negatively, a bully has gained the reaction they are after. This part is all about mindset.
Body language is everything. We must learn to stand, speak and walk with confidence with good eye contact and without appearing like a victim. This will really go a long way to deter almost all bullies.
Come up with quick and easy come backs that make you appear confident. Work with your child to brainstorm something they can say when they are being bullied that’s easy to remember, that isn’t hurtful. Simple phrases like Watch it… or “So what?”.
Practice role playing games with your children to prepare for these situations. Practice with your child being the bully, this may give you an insight into what they are going through and simultaneously teaching your child how not to behave.
At some point you may find the situation has gone on for too long and your child cannot overcome the situation without assistance. Teach your child the 5 W’s of reporting bullying, Who, What, When, Where and Witnesses. Unfortunately, it’s often the bullies word against the victims – as crazy as this sounds it’s important to have a written log of incidents with witnesses and a little note pad can really help.
Find something for your child outside of the community they are currently being bullied in, to support them and fill them with confidence, because when we get good at something and we progress, our confidence and self-esteem grows.
As I grew through martial arts as a child, going from belt to belt, growing in confidence, winning competitions and teaching other students, the power of the bullies’ words weakened. I began to listen to my own thoughts, and to my own opinions of myself more than anyone else’s.
The beauty of martial arts as a tool for overcoming bullying is the focus on confidence, developing a strong mind, handling confrontation effectively and keeping calm in stressful situations.
Using this system, which has been developed over time, has been fundamental to mentoring young students emerge from bullying stronger, more confident and with buckets of courage. I really hope, if your child is suffering from bullying, that you find value in the 6 Ps. If you do, I’d love to hear from you!
A word from our Founder:
“As a child I was massively bullied for 6 years. It shaped my life. The process of overcoming bullying gave me buckets of confidence as a young person along with an absolute intolerance of injustice that carries on in my adult life and is embedded in my character. I’m absolutely honoured to help mentor thousands of young students through these difficult times through our programme. I applied the 5 steps above with the help of my incredible parents, looking back we really did go through each and every step – and it worked. So, if your child is being bullied – go through each step and watch the bullying stop rapidly.”
– Instructor Seb, Founder and Head Instructor