The best self defense is not to be there. Not to be there when someone attacks you. Not to be there when a bully is nearby. Why put yourself in the situation where you must defend yourself, when you can, not be there? Sounds obvious enough, right? Awareness of surroundings, where you are, who’s around is a great form of self defense. Dealing with a bully is no different; If you are aware of what’s around you, most of the time you can avoid a situation.
- Know where these bullies like to hang out. Don’t go there.
- Know where the teachers or adults are. Keep their locations in mind.
I had an 8 year old student go through bullying a few years back. To help reinforce some of the strategies that we learn at the dojo, his parents and I thought it would be beneficial for him to do private lessons with myself. During one of the lessons we did a great exercise that got him thinking about his surroundings:
We sat in the dojo, a wide hardwood floored room with mirrors covering one wall, “I want you to draw you school yard.” I told him.
The student lies on his stomach and maps out his school yard with a pen. He draws the school, the play ground and the soccer field.
“Where do the bullies hang out?” I asked next.
The kid studied the map for a second and drew a star in one area. He glanced back up at me.
“Now, where do the teachers walk around the most?” I asked next.
He drew a seconds star, this one smaller, on the map.
I pointed at the two stars. “Now, tell me what you see.”
He studied the map for a long time, tracing the schools walls with his fingers and hovering over each star. “The bad kids are far away from the teachers.” He eventually said.
“Great job! Now, where would be the safest place for you to play and hang out?”
The student smiled, “where a teacher can see me!”
I smiled back, “perfect, you don’t have to be standing right by a teacher, but as long as you are within eye sight and ear shot you’re good!”
This simple exercise teaches your children about knowing their surroundings and staying safe. Giving our children the tools to recognize the difference between safe and unsafe surroundings is key to fighting bullying. If your child learns to avoid the bully, he’s defending himself without having to do so physically. Awareness is not a skill isolated to your children, but can be used at any age and in any environment. Awareness is one of the most important lessons the martial arts has taught me. If you’re looking to take a step further and excel your child’s awareness, make sure to ask if the bully B.R.A.V.E. is at your school, or give me a call!
Carrie Percival – Brampton Manager – Third Degree Black Belt– Brampton Academy of Martial Arts