To tell a child that bullying is wrong makes no sense….
Bully is only a word and actions speak louder than words…
It’s also addressing the situation in the negative sense instead of just teaching them positive character traits.
So instead of telling children what not to do, how about we show them what to do and let them call it what they want….?
The children are told to treat others how they wish they would be treated at Mugendo Martial Arts Academy.
The children learn upon their first class about honing their new martial arts skills for the benefit of their health and not for using it on somebody else for sport or play.
I get this point across with a line from the Spiderman movies “With great power comes great responsibility”.
It makes them think about their actions and the repercussions of their actions and how they could affect another person as most of them have seen the Spiderman movie.
When it comes to self-defence intervention from a “Bully attack” we teach the children evasion techniques and strategies first to protect them.
We promote that they stay away from trouble and not try solving the problem with violence.
Our code of self-defence is that a trained child may only retaliate as a last resort should they be physically challenged by another person and that they should only use reasonable force if possible.
In our classes, we immediately address any signs of other children isolating each other socially which has never really happened because of the way we set the children up to succeed from their first lesson.
Allow me to explain how we do this…
We avoid potential social isolation or verbal bullying in class like “whispering “about another child in class etc by adopting a unique system of teaching martial arts.
We constantly switch our students to a new training partner every few minutes so that they don’t breed too much familiarity with each another.
“Familiarity breeds contempt”
We show everyone a slightly different variation of what we’d like them to practice.
We then ask them to talk to their new partner about what they were doing before being switched around; this means they are learning from each other instead of just replicating what we showed them.
This creates a sense of excitement within the room because who knows what your next training partner will teach you, it also promotes creativity in the children instead of restricting it on them.
Some students will even be looking around the room (when they can) to see what everyone else is up too which boosts their awareness, improves their peripheral and means that they’ll see a threat coming faster than if they were just with the same partner for the entire class.
By using this teaching method the children have no time to spend doing anything else but concentrating on the common goal of learning and being on an ultra high level of self-awareness and awareness of everyone else In the room.
An example of this is that I’ve often seen a child fall in class while performing a kick they’ve just learned and out of nowhere another child will run to his/her aid almost on autopilot in a rush of adrenaline because their training had them so tuned into everything around them.
When I ask why they ran over to help I get a reply of “I thought it was the right thing to do”
This is despite never being asked to do this act of kindness they just did it…
Martial arts give people a good sense of empathy, self-respect and respect for others but enough intelligence to know when another person is taking advantage of them whether in a physical or psychological sense.
Using our method of teaching all the children are commanding leadership roles without knowing they are because when they train with one another they must take charge at some stage to teach their next training partner what they’ve just learned from the last person.
Everyone in the room is a potential training partner in the eyes of my junior and senior students, they understand that to get more knowledge from their next training partner they must show respect to that person as everyone has something that they can learn from them.
It forces them to look past everything about the other person except what they can potentially learn from them.
It helps children also understand that everyone comes with their own strengths and weaknesses just like they do.
Everyone is different and has a lesson to teach you in my opinion; you also have something that they can learn from you so it makes sense being kind and patient with them so that they’ll be kind and patient with you.
The children learn not to bully from the way we conduct our classes and of course how to physically defend themselves should a “bully” come knocking at their door.
However they will not learn not to bully by being told with verbiage like; ” it’s wrong, don’t do it, it will hurt the other person’s feelings etc. it’s an outdated lazy method that doesn’t’ work, unfortunately.
The result of your child practising Mu-gen-do is acceptance of themselves and others with no judgement just a common goal of executing perfection in movement through perseverance and team work.
We hope when they grow up and go out into the world that they will keep this way about them so that they will be more tolerant with bigger personalities, more cooperative with their elders/siblings and kind to those who lack self-confidence or need lifting up for whatever reason.
This is a trait of a true martial artist!