Content Warning: Mentions of bullying and violence.
Chances are, you or someone you know has been bullied before. The lucky few that haven't may have experienced the act on TV, in movies, or covered in a video game. While these artificial acts are based on true events, they may be overly fake, or worse, underplayed. Bullying is not a joke; it is a real event that can heavily influence a child negatively for many years of their lifetime.
According to stopbullying.gov, about one in five children ages 12–18 experience some form of bullying across the nation in a given year. While being physically larger than them was a common thought across this survey (40%), a whopping 56% of the group believed that their bully had the ability to influence other students' perception of them.
The truth is, bullying is not limited to broken bones and bruises; bullying is just as much mental as it is physical. No one wants it to happen, but it does anyway.
So how can we help influence the generations coming up?
Here at GSH, we don't focus on throwing punches. Conversely, we emphasize self-defense and ways to protect ourselves should we get in a dangerous situation. All of our students, no matter what age they are, know well that the first line of self-defense is our voice! A majority of violent incidents are directed at timid individuals who can't speak up for themselves, whether it's in school or the workplace. Instilling confidence in vocals helps lead to confidence in other aspects, such as high self-esteem and public speaking improvement.
After the vocals come the physical defense. This cycle, our students are practicing the break fall, a safer way to fall back-first onto the ground without breaking arms and concussions. Not only do we teach how to fall, but how to safely stand up and get away from the danger. Physical techniques such as kicks are only displayed as a last resort to distance from the bully. Again, no offensive behaviors. Our goal is not to harm the other person, but to protect ourselves.
At the end of the day, one martial arts school can't eradicate bullying off the face of the planet. The most we can do as instructors and role models is to demonstrate proper self-defense and display positive life skills. That way, people of all ages can learn to be better people, one way or another!
How do you help better the community?