Posts Tagged ‘Bullying’

Bullycide again! According to foxnews.com a 10-Year-Old North Carolina Girl Hangs Herself After Allegedly Being Bullied at School. I for one am sick of reading these stories. It makes me heartsick and sick to my stomach. As a simpleminded martial Arts teacher, I’d like to think that if every boy and girl would learn martial arts these situations could be avoided. Of course it’s more complex than that. There are so many factors. It is important for the child to be able to communicate with their parents; to able to tell them anything. If not, the parent will be surprised when something like this happens. Often the school staff can’t or won’t do anything or are unaware. It also amazes me that a 10-year old could have the wherewithal and determination to kill themselves. RIP, Jasmine McClain.

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According to a study done by AC360° in 77% of bullying incidents, no bystanders intervened to help. This reinforces my belief that the only one who can truly help a bullying victim is the victim.  If the incident takes place in an isolated area, parents can’t help, teachers, administrators and even police can’t help, at least not until after the fact.

Again the biased martial arts teacher is going say that studying martial arts can help potential victims help themselves. My oldest child, now 13, started karate at 4 and holds a 1st degree black belt in a traditional Japanese Martial Art, Kyokushin Kai Karate. He says he is not afraid of bullying, and in fact fought one off just yesterday.  It was satisfying to see that the king’s ransom I put into karate lessons over the year were worth it. Also it was satisfying because I personally taught him the krav maga technique that he used only a few weeks ago, and also because he exercised incredible restraint. The finish to move can literally pound the attacker into the ground, and the attacker certainly deserved at a least a little pounding. I have seen my son get stronger and stronger, and when he hits the pads or the heavy bag, (or me) he can hit pretty hard.

I believe so strongly in Self-Defense, that I named my company after it (instead of say the karate style I teach). I also mix Krav Maga techniques and drills into kid’s karate classes, because kid’s need self-defense & they need it now. They can get it from karate, but the traditional approach is in no hurry. I enjoy and believe in the traditional approach and the values that come with it, but I want kids to be prepared to defend themselves within weeks of joining, not years.

When I was a kid, I took Judo lessons, and I loved it. I was good at it. But Judo is more of a sport, and we did very little self-defense there. When we competed, there were weight classes. Judo doesn’t really contemplate fighting off a larger opponent in a self-defense situation. Consequently, when I tried to use it against a larger bully, I ended up flat on my back, pinned, with the bully taunting me and smacking my face. Krav Maga has a technique to escape from that position, and it’s the first style I learned that addresses that and many other attacks and positions.  If you want to bully proof your kid, Krav Maga is it.

Recent “Bullycides” are spurring lawmakers to write laws to prevent these tragedies from happening. As with all such well-meaning legislation, I wonder if it will be effective, or instead have adverse effects.  The web definition of  Bullycide is, “A suicide caused as the result of depression from bullying, especially children.”  Most of the stories I have read about involve teens and pre-teens, so ages ten to 18.  A percentage of these kids are gay, but certainly not all. Some of the cases I have read about go well beyond bullying into outright assault.  That’s why I wonder about new laws, there are already laws on the books against assault. Of course if these new laws really work to prevent bullying, then I am all for them. I’ll guess we’ll have to pass them to see what’s in them, and if they work.

So what’s the answer? Well it’s a complicated issue, so there is no easy answer.  As a martial arts instructor, I am of course biased in my opinion, but do believe self-defense training works. I was bullied as a kid, and I didn’t want my boys to go through that, so I started them both in Karate at age 4.  I posted yesterday about how my son got out of headlock in school.  At first I was a little disappointed that my son didn’t use more force in countering the move, but upon reflection, I think he used the appropriate amount, i.e. just enough, to end the conflict and walk away. I am proud because I taught this Krav Maga move to him only a few weeks ago.  When the other kid threw the headlock, my son thought, “Oh perfect, I know how to get out of this,” then he did. Hopefully this ends it, time will tell.

My 13 year old son, who is a black belt in Kyokushin Kai Karate, has been learning Krav Maga. He reported that today in school, some kids were messing around in the hallway. He tried to pass saying, “Excuse me,” and one of the kids put him in a headlock. Since we have been drilling the counter to the headlock, he got right out of it, but did not beat the kid up. Good to have some confirmation from time to time that this stuff works!

Here is a story of childhood bullying. It is a horrible story and there are many, many like it.  I too was bullied as a child. That’s why I started both of my kids in Karate at age 4.  Sometimes school administrators and teachers are helpful, sometimes not.  There are many instances, like the one in this story, where bullying becomes assault.  Everyone has the right to defend themselves.  Martial Arts is a great way to do that.  Often having the confidence that comes with knowing how to defend oneself makes the fight not necessary.  When I was a kid, my father told me that I needed to punch the bullies in the face and they would never do it again. I think my was father was right. Unfortunately, no one taught me how to do that.  Punching is a skill that is taught and learned,  just like swinging a baseball bat.