How Martial Arts Can Help to Bully-Proof Your Child
Martial Arts for Children Heading back to school should be a happy and exciting time for your child – new clothes, new friends to make, and new teachers to meet. Unfortunately for some children though, the enthusiasm and eagerness to start a new school year can cause more anxiety than excitement if they are the victim of a bully.
Parents often ask what are the best ways to help their children deal with bullying. As life-long martial arts practitioners, we at American Karate Academy have found that building up a student’s self-confidence is one of the best ways to help bully-proof your child. This is achieved through the consistent practice of moves, physical fitness, and belt ranking achievements which all help to build self-esteem and self-confidence to help your child face challenges head on and to “Never give up!”
Regardless of the tactics or style you choose for your child, the first thing you need to do is create a trusting line of communication to ensure that your child is sharing incidents with you when being bullied. This can be achieved by simply listening to what they have to say and asking questions to make sure that the entire situation is understood. Also, parents should share personal experiences they’ve had with bullying. This will help children realize that you have an understanding of how they feel. At this point, a parent and child can figure how to address the issue together. Here are some of the ways American Karate Academy helps students prepare for tense situations:
•Situational Preparedness (Role Playing)
For the same reason one might role-play to prepare for a job interview, role-playing is an integral piece in teaching students how to be prepared and anticipate a confrontation. The practice of martial arts incorporates role-playing of different self-defense scenarios, and when practiced enough become instinctive responses when one finds themselves in a confrontation. This mental and physical preparedness helps boost students’ confidence and self-esteem when having to deal with difficult situations.
•Body Language and Communication Skills
Whether you’re at attention or sparring, martial arts stances exude confidence. At American Karate Academy we teach our students proper breathing (calm breathing radiates calm composure) and to speak with confidence to help deter any immediate threats from a bully. This is something that is practiced on a regular basis, which not only helps kids to communicate effectively, but also aids in possibly defusing the situation from becoming physical.
•Consistent Practice and Sparring
As in any sport, athletes or students must begin to advance their training and exercise regimen. Once they’ve learned the basics and have a firm grasp of the movements when hitting the bag, we have to remember that bags don’t hit back. Regular sparring helps to reduce the nervous limitations of the mind forcing the body to adapt, improve, and train with heightened focus. The various benefits include: cardiovascular and muscular endurance, speed, balance, combinations, timing, reaction time and focus to name a few.
If your child should ever come to you with an issue of bullying, whether large or small, it should never be taken lightly. While we have made great strides in bringing national awareness to the matter – efforts to bully-proof schools and work – as parents and educators we need to prepare our children on how to deal with bullying on a personal level that can be achieved through education and self-defense training.