Rules of Engagement

Parents, did you know that 165,000 kids miss school every day because of the fear of bullies? Did you also know that bullying causes depression and low self-esteem? Martial Arts training helps to protect your child from bullies.

Schools have a “zero-tolerance” for fighting. Who does this favor? The bully or the victim? While this policy does reduce the amount of physical fights that the school may encounter, what about the verbal bullying? Verbal harassment is more damaging and lasting than physical harassment. In our Jiu-Jitsu class we teach the three T-Steps:

Talk: Talk with the bully and ask them to stop. Asking uses our Tenet of Courtesy and is more likely to work than demanding the bully stop. Use a three part sentence (1) what the bully is saying (2) how it makes you feel (3) what is the desired outcome. Like this: “When you call me stupid it makes me feel bad and I wish that you would stop.” It is possible that the person who was verbally harassing was not aware of it and by using our Talk we can defuse the situation. If the bully ignores this request, we must continue to ask them for three days. It seems like a lot, but a solution is coming.

Tell: Make your parents and teacher aware of the situation after three days. Why wait the three days you might ask? It is possible, through another of our tenets of Perseverance, that the bully may stop and there was no need to trouble anyone about it. Should you have to tell the teacher, he or she will appreciate that you tried to handle it yourself. “Mrs. Hunt, I asked Bobby three days in a row to stop calling me names.” You might want to tell your parents right away to keep them informed. Some people might say you are a tattle-tail. Are you a tattle-tail if you call the fire department if you see a house burning or the police if you see someone breaking into your home? Telling is the only way to inform the right people of the situation.

Tackle: While your first thought is the physical act, it is not the first part of the T-Steps. Tackling mentally may solve the situation. Remember a bully feeds on fear of the victim. Once you tell them you are not afraid, they may leave you alone. Ask the bully, “Are you challenging me to a fight, because I am not afraid of you.” If the bully says no then a simple response like, “Then stop calling me stupid and wasting my time.” If the bully decides to get physical, then we can use our Jiu-Jitsu skills.

Jiu Jitsu ChesapeakeRegardless of how the fight starts, it is likely both parties will end up in the principal’s office. By following the three T-Steps it will be easier to explain what happened when the bully went from verbal to physical attacks. Explain how you tried to resolve the situation by “asking” the bully to stop. Explain how you informed the teacher of the situation. It is very possible that the teacher did talk with the bully. It might have reduced the amount or just made sure it wasn’t done in the classroom where the teacher can observe. Explain that you asked the bully if their intentions where to fight and that you had no intentions of injuring the bully but using your Jiu-Jitsu to protect yourself. If you followed the rules, you should not have any fear from your parents. You may be suspended from school due to the “zero-tolerance” rule on fighting, but let’s examine the end result. Do you think the bully will be more likely to verbally harass you in the future? Do you think that word got out and is around the school that you are not going to stand for this kind of behavior?

I had a junior TaeKwonDo Black Belt who was physically harassed in school. His dad was a Marine Corps Colonel. This Black Belt student was more afraid of what his dad would do to him for fighting in school than what the bully could do to him. He endured a lot of harassment and one day was pushed down and hit his head on the ground. His injury was a concussion and a night in the hospital. He never told his dad what was going on at school. His dad said he would have supported him using his TaeKwonDo if he had known.

Of course the school does not want a physical fight; however, if the parent says one thing and the school says another….who do you listen to? You listen to the parent. You go to school to get an education and not to be physically or mentally harassed. Most kids do not stand up for themselves because they lack the self-confidence to protect themselves. Our students are not aggressive but more assertive through their training. They do not just defend themselves but stand up for those who are being harassed physically and mentally. If your child is not training in a Martial Art, get them into one. It is just as much a part of their education as the school you send them to during the day. Physical scars will heal but the emotional ones will last a lifetime.

If you would like more information about the martial arts classes we teach at Virginia TaeKwonDo Academy, please give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.

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