“Just read an article about a girl being bullied in a local school and taking Jeet Kune Do (JKD) classes. Her father is now suing the school for the cost of the lessons”
This is a very interesting article on several levels, not least of all the school’s zero tolerance attitude to bullying but then taking a very liberal view of punishing the bully. I’ve had personal experience of this with my own children; I trust that we are all aspiring to bring our children up as responsible young people that are able and prepared to get the most out of life and to support their communities in a positive way.
Obviously, I believe that martial arts has the huge part to play in helping children and adults improve their self-confidence and self-respect. It helps them commit to perseverance and positively reach for their personal potential.
However, not all martial arts, nor even indeed martial art instructors can fulfil this promise including that of effective self-defence. Martial arts is a catch all phrase for many different arts. Some arts are sport focussed, such as sport kick boxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Boxing, Muay Thai, MMA (Mixed Martial Art) etc. have a very high level of attribute training and can produce superb fighters, as well as being fantastic for developing mind body and spirit, but these sport disciplines are dominated by young men and dedicated to winning sport competition as the primary goal.
I am fortunate to have friends and fellow martial artists who are world champions, elite athletes and dedicated martial artists in their own right across multiple martial art disciplines. They are some of the greatest people I have ever met and shared time with. Other martial arts, such as Kali, Silat, Kuntao and other weapons based arts seem to be more based in training for combat using weapons and strategies for multiple opponents that probably define these arts as more battlefield evolved, with the emphasis on attacks that are forbidden in most competitive combat sports because of their intention to create maximum damage to an opponent.
Then there is the instructor, his level in his art, the amount of time he has trained, with whom he has trained and his personal view and focus will all affect his classes, his teaching and the outcome a student can expect to get from training with him.
This can be very hard to evaluate for someone new to martial art training and not sure what their goal should be and not sure how or where to train to meet those goals.
When it comes to being a parent trying to make good choices for your children then, in my personal opinion, there are important considerations beyond the physical training. For example there are things such as life skills, positive character education and building self-respect. Then there are things such as self-esteem and developing a positive self-image to help make your child “bully proof”.
Research has shown that body language is a major influence on how bully’s/criminals pick their victims and poor body language can be an indicator of poor self-esteem etc. Being in an environment where personal endeavour and achievement are seen as good things, where you work with others but are rewarded for your own personal efforts are important elements in helping our children become “bully proof”.
Just feeling that you have a safe and secure place where you are held in high esteem can counter many of the negative effects of todays’ fast moving, social media focussed, 24/7 access world. (Yes, I know this has been posted on Facebook, but hopefully it has some value out there in the cyber world)
Being challenged,meeting the challenge, growing in strength and skill. Learning to see that because it’s not right today doesn’t mean it’s a failure. Almost any situation can be changed with work, commitment and the right support and training. We can be taught to develop the skills to meet challenges and obstacles and work through them and succeed, even when failing looks like the default option. That’s something I wish for my own children and every child, not to be given success but to have the ability to earn it through success strategies and personal potential.
There is another factor for me in the pursuit of defeating the bully – Adrenal stress training. This is someone’s ability to take their training and test it and apply in a stress situation. We operate a specific program for this type of training.
Too often I have seen the idea of bullying and violence ignored because it can’t happen or facing the challenge of dealing with it is more stressful than preparing and training to deal with it. I have seen first-hand; skilled martial artists collapse in a training scenario that stresses what can/may happen as a pre-cursor to a violent confrontation. This is like any skill and once exposed to a fluid stressful situation most people can learn to apply their training and develop a strategy to the situation. In the real world that might be all the difference we need to change a bad situation to a successful outcome.
In terms of bullying, I like to teach my students that we become stronger firstly to develop ourselves and to test our potential and that part of that development is helping others. Living a happy, peaceful and fulfilling life may not be easy but at least aspiring (and sometimes perspiring!)towards it has to be a positive thing!
BUT… until someone explains that bullying is a nasty, horrible thing to the bully, and they listen and then they change themselves, we have a duty of care to ourselves, our family, friends and our communities to counter bullying wherever we can.
Like most things I don’t presume to have all the answers but I am prepared to throw my hat in the ring to help where I can, I hate bullies but I would stress to anyone who is out there reading this, it is no good wishing for the bully to change, deal with what you can change – yourself, don’t try to diminish the bully, expand and grow yourself. If you are effected by bullying and we can help please get in touch, we have free resources such as articles and manuals that may help, even if you don’t want to train martial art and you think a fresh perspective may help please talk to us. At the very least we can offer a different perspective. All of our academies are JKD academies, self-protection is our goal, attribute training, combat sports and personal development are ways to support that goal.
Jeet Kune Do is a self-protection art, not a sport. It is safe and intelligent training, building mind body and spirit through Martial Art practise one step at a time….
As I’ve read before “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”… the end”