After the tragic death of a 16 year old deaf boy who, due to bullying tragically took his own life I am revisiting my project on bullying. As a martial arts teacher I have often been contacted by parents whose child or in some cases children have been victims. What I have discovered on a personal level is that the average martial arts teacher has little or no training nor education in dealing with this issue. Parent entrust us with helping their children. Often times the only contribution we make is the teaching of some self defence technique or lip service to increased confidence or self esteem. Of course our instruction is well intended. However I put this to you. If you or your child were diagnosed with a life threatening illness would you be content to take the advice of a doctor who practiced a couple of hours per week and did not update and educate himself in the latest medical techniques ?
Now most of you reading this may never want to become martial arts teachers , though you can engage and help in your community. Your time and your input can make a vast difference in addressing this issue (bullying). Most of us have family, friends,some of us have children who may have or indeed may be suffering from bullying. Let us not also forget that adults too can suffer from the effects of bullying.
As martial artists lets try to put something positive into our local communities. We, most of us martial artists, or aspiring martial artists, turned to this path as a direct result of bullying. Perhaps we felt insecure, weak, powerless. For those of us lucky enough to have had instructors who made all the difference and for those of you who are looking for instructors to make the difference , I say this ; be the change you want to see in the world ( not my words, but definitely my sentiments).
I have a bully project group on this site. You can join here
Most of us don't address topics such as this. We tend to wait until the problem comes to our own door. Unless we make change happen it is I fear, only a matter of time until some of us are adversely affected by this insidious and life destroying epidemic.
I am intent on developing an ongoing project that will see workshops and seminars dedicate to dealing with this problem. Perhaps some of the instructors and black belts on this site would join me in this? I think that together we can make a really positive and long lasting difference.