Updated: Feb 22
Let me start by saying, martial arts training won’t bully proof your child. Yes, you read that correctly. In fact, self-defense training won’t bully proof your child either.
So what will bully proof your child then? The simple one phrase answer is empowerment-based self-defense training.
Now let me explain this further :)
Martial Arts for Kids
Let's start with martial arts for kids. Martial arts are "arts". Most of what you learn is artistic, like forms and jump spinning flying side kick. On the practical application side, most martial arts are great for disciple and flexibility. If you continue training for 4+ years, then you'll increase your speed and strength. After you get your first-degree black belt and have been training for 7+ years, you're ready to physically fight a bully. Depending on the art, you can kick your bully (like in taekwondo) or throw your bully onto the ground (like in hapkido, aikido, or judo) or keep the bully pinned onto the ground (like in jiujitsu). All this can be accomplished after almost a decade of training. Until then, you're no good against a bully. If you think this is way too long to learn a skill, you’re right. After these many years, your kid won’t even be in school anymore to deal with the bully! So how do you get faster training? That's where self-defense training comes into play.
Self-Defense for Kids
Learning self-defense techniques is faster and more effective. While martial arts have utmost 20% of self-defense training, a curriculum focused entirely on self-defense, like you'd expect, has 100% self-defense techniques, including drills and workouts. This is great! Except, according to American Psychology Association, most children who bully do so due to psychological or social reasons. Bullies are inherently evil; they are just in fact kids who need help themselves. Knowing this, the best way to escape from the onset of a bullying behavior is to deescalate the situation. De-escalation is highly preferred over physical altercation. That leads us to the biggest defect in the system that only teaches self-defense techniques - punch first, talk later.
Empowerment Self-Defense for Kids
An empowerment-based self-defense training, on the other hand, also incorporates psychological training. It's about understanding your self-worth, which helps keep a balanced perspective on bully behavior and encourages a disengagement and avoidance tactic. Understanding what to say and how to move away are crucial in discouraging bully behavior against your child. Bullies pick on kids who look small and easy, so self-confidence goes a long way. Verbal bullying doesn't work when the receiving party doesn't take it. Since most bullying is of the verbal form, or starts this way at least, feeling empowered can in most circumstances help you avoid bullying in school. In the rare scenario that the bully physically grabs or attacks your child, this system teaches self-defense techniques as well.
Defense Ninjas is an empowerment-based self-defense training system, which helps bully proof your child in these 3 ways:
Teaches Empowerment Techniques: self-confidence, conversation, de-escalation.
Teaches Self-Defense Techniques: against practical scenarios such as grabs and shoves.
Provides resources to self-train regularly.
Training both mind and body is the most effective way to help your child stay safe against bullies. So, let’s change our understanding of “self-defense training” to include both empowerment and self-defense techniques.