As we think about sending our children back to school in the Fall, a very real concern for many is the fear of your child being bullied. Enrolling your child in Judo or martial arts can help alleviate that fear. Judo and martial arts teach self-defense, self-confidence and discipline. We teach the skills they will need to protect themselves. However, knowing how to defend themselves is not the only thing judo teaches. It teaches your child self-discipline which is needed to diffuse a situation before it becomes violent and to use force only when it’s necessary for their safety.
Increasing confidence helps deter bullies because they generally will not target confident kids. These days more kids are targeted online than in playgrounds which changes the dynamics of bullying. It’s no longer just a fear of physical abuse. Cyberbullying causes a feeling of worthlessness by reading words that make them feel like they don’t belong. Judo gives students not only the physical but emotional strength to deal with bullying. Martial arts push students to their physical limit and gives them a sense of accomplishment which builds confidence. There are many studies that show that bullies prey on the weak. Bullies are less likely to continue victimizing children who fight back verbally. Showing weakness to a bully encourages them to keep harassing the child. Martial arts teach focus, discipline and the ability to confront the bully verbally, which often makes them back down.
Although cyber bullying is more common these days than physical bullying, it does still happen. Some bullies will physically threaten their victim, judo teaches how to defend yourself. The key word is defend, not attack, by focusing on subduing the bully without causing major damage. Judo specifically teaches throw and submissions that will intimidate and discourage the bully.
Martial arts will give your child the discipline to try to diffuse a situation before in becomes physical by teaching communication skills and body language. The student will exude more confidence which helps deter the bully. A confident stance and tone is very intimidating to the bully. Most judo clubs do not promote the use of violence, however, having that knowledge will help your child feel more self-assured. If your child does need to defend himself, his practice on the mat will provide a level of safety by allowing him to perform the moves instinctively when threatened. They will also learn when it is appropriate to use the skills they’ve learned.
Bullying affects everyone- from the person being bullied, to the person doing the crime and to those who silently witness such tactics. This activity is associated with a number of negative outcomes. It has a marked impact on substance abuse, suicide, and mental health. And that is why it is extremely important to ask children whether they are being bullied and do something about it. If they are being bullied, get them in judo or another martial arts class and if they’re not, be proactive and enroll them!