Standing Up Against Bullies Through Martial Arts


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Bullying will always be an issue in school or in the community.  It has been a problem in most societies and will probably remain to be a dilemma unless the people involved do something to stop it.  Stopping here does not mean exacting aggression but teaching your children to stand up against bullying and fight back the proper way.

Part of the reason why bullies abound is because children lack the proper skills to tackle them.  When vulnerable kids are sized up by bullies, they immediately recreate a “movie” in their heads, imagining how the bully might hurt them if they try to fight back. This stems from the child’s fear, and this actually paralyzes them.  Bullies can sense this, and they gleefully take advantage of the situation.

This scenario is often overlooked by parents and teachers.  They teach the children to say “No” to bullies, but the “imagining” part still happens. This creates fear in the child, and instead of saying no, his resolve gives way.

You can change this with a more positive approach.  It is important that you teach your child to not only stand up against bullies, but to stand up against fear.  Imagine the outcome is alright, but encourage your child to imagine a different scenario.

For example, your child imagines the worst scenario possible if she said no to handing her allowance over to bullies.  Your kid might say “I’m afraid. They might hit me.”  Acknowledge this, but let your child see it the other way around.  Ask her: What if you knew a bit about martial arts?  If you knew how to defend yourself, would you still be afraid?  Suppose the bullies see that you’re a black belt in karate, would you think they would still try to hurt you?

These questions would then send a signal to your child that she can fight for her right and safety.  Knowing self-defense skills will make your child more confident in facing bullies in school, and she wouldn’t have to be afraid of whatever outcome she pictured.  Your child will then entertain these outcomes and even imagine possibilities with this new skill, hence giving her confidence instead of fear.

You should teach your child to be responsible as well.  Knowing martial arts doesn’t mean she could use this to get even with those who bullied her. This shouldn’t even be used to threaten the bullies back. Aside from teaching your child to put up her guard, part of the education is teaching her to use these defensive skills in the right context. Moreover, help your child predict outcomes positively.  This “time machine method” will encourage them to anticipate events and to play with options and choose wisely from these options. With a positive mindset, your child will no longer be a victim of bullying. Instead, she will exercise courage and confidence.

Bullying may not be resolved completely in a community, but through the collective effort of parents, schoolmasters, and children, they could easily win the fight against bullying and breed a culture of cooperation and kindness in society.



Your Neighborhood Martial Art’s Instructor, Renshi Adam McCauley, Go No Sen Karate, Blue Mt. Plaza, Welcher Ave, Peekskill, NY 10566 (914) 734-2461





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