Jiu-jitsu is a great sport for kids because it helps them gain confidence, make friends, and is an excellent deterrent against bullying. According to stopbullying.gov, “[b]etween 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school” and according to a survey that was conducted, about 30 percent of students admitted to bullying others. October is Anti-Bullying Month, and this presents a great opportunity for jiu-jitsu academies to incorporate strategies that combat bullying into their kids’ classes to help educate their students on how to identify and prevent bullying at their school.
Here are a few ways you can help:
Define bullying, and show an example. A bully is defined as someone who uses superior strength or influence to intimidate other to get what they want. Have two instructors show the class an example of what a bully might say or do to try to impose their will on them because if a student is able to identify bullying the more likely they are to put a stop to it.
Try to get away. Stress that the first thing a child should do when they believe they’re being bullied is to remove themselves from the situation. Be sure to practice appropriate responses and present the kids with examples of ways to escape these situations.
Stand up to the bully. Stopbullying.gov suggests encouraging children to use humor to defuse the situation, or saying “stop” strongly and confidently. As an instructor, it is important to ensure to not only make these suggestions, but also have them work through these situations as if they were drilling a technique. If the students are presented with these situations in real life, they’re more likely to be able to handle themselves with confidence.
Encourage open communication with a trusted adult. Always encourage young people to talk with a trusted adult about someone who is bullying them. Encourage parents to spend time talking with their kids. Stress that jiu-jitsu is a great tool, but shouldn’t be the immediate response when dealing with bullies.
Defend yourself. If a child has exhausted every other preventative option they should be prepared to defend themselves using techniques they have learned in your jiu-jitsu class. Instructors should present common scenarios that could occur as well as how a child would defend themselves using jiu-jitsu. It is important to stress that the student should only be using their jiu-jitsu if all other options are exhausted. For example, your kids’ class instructor could pose as an assailant and have each student go through their steps from mitigating the situation to having to defend themselves using jiu-jitsu.
Jiu-jitsu gives children an outlet to channel their energy both physically and mentally. It is important that we, as instructors, give them a safe, stable, and trustworthy environment to be able to practice this amazing sport. If you’re a parent looking to get your child involved in jiu-jitsu, contact your local academy to find out more about the classes they offer.
For more information about how to prevent bullying click here.