Summer is coming to an end and we’re gearing up to send our kids back to school. We get busy buying school supplies, picking out new clothes, and prepping for busy mornings. There is a lot of excitement and hope for a great new year, but there is also a touch of fear. At some point every parent worries about how their child will do in school. Will they struggle? Will they make friends? Will they be bullied, or worse, BE a bully? Here at the ACTA we strive to make all of our students Bully-Proof. Obviously, Tae Kwon Do is about learning to defend yourself physically, but being bully-proof is about more than blocking a punch. Especially in today’s world of cyber-bullying. Below are the top three ways we help our students put an end to bully culture.
Confidence and Resilience
Bullies generally pick out kids they know they can beat, or at least get a rise out of. For years people have told victims of that if they can just ignore the bully they’ll leave them alone. That’s the idea behind the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. The problem is words DO hurt. Especially when social media is involved. The hurtful words can catch like wildfire.
Instead of telling kids to just ignore the bullies we work to build a child’s resilience. We show them that even if they get knocked down they can get back up. Through hard work and repetition we help them overcome obstacles and find their inner strength. Our instructors are invested in the success of our students, even if that success comes slowly. When they do figure out that difficult kick or finally pass a rank they’ve been stuck on they gain confidence. This confidence means that if our students are ever bullied they can say “This is hard, this hurts, but I can handle it. I can do hard things.” The resilience they learn in class helps them see the bully as just another obstacle to overcome.
Tae Kwon Do may technically be an individual sport, but anyone who’s done martial arts can tell you that at a good school it shouldn’t feel like it. The ACTA is tight knit community. Our students form bonds with each other that can last a lifetime. We’re all rooting for each other and helping one another reach our next goal. When a student has strong friendships that last year after year, it’s not such a big deal if one kid at school says or does mean things to them. They know they’ll always have a safe place with filled with people who are on their side. A strong, supportive community is essential to bully-proofing our kids.
One of the frustrating things about bully culture today is that responsibility always seems to fall to the victim. We focus on what victims can do to protect themselves or to be less of a target. While that is important, it’s not going fix the long term problem. At the ACTA we want to prevent kids from becoming bullies in the first place.
The reasons why one child chooses to pick on another is complex and variable. We may not have all the answers, but we think building compassion for others is a good place to start. One of the ACTA tenets is brotherhood among members. When our students put on their uniform it doesn’t seem to matter whether they’re a popular kid or a loner. It doesn’t matter what language they speak at home, how much money their parents make, or what school they go to. Everyone is working toward the same goals. We always expect our students to treat each other with respect no matter their differences. It amazes me to see students become friends who may have never even spoken to each other outside of Tae Kwon Do. When kids have compassion for one another they’re much less likely to bully each other.
By building confidence, community, and compassion the ACTA is dedicated to bully-proofing our students and putting an end to bully culture overall. If you’re interested in joining this mission or just want to your child to learn some of these skills head over to our programs page and see if there is a class for you.