Bully Proof Your Child with Muay Thai
It was third grade and I was running away from Richard, my bully. I cut through the portables hoping to lose him when I tripped and landed on a sharp rock. It cut into my knee and I let out a piercing scream--which let Richard know my whereabouts. He quickly ran over and starting kicking me in the ribs. I kept screaming and crying until a teacher stopped the beating.
I wound up in the school clinic, my knee cut and bloodied and my ribs bruised. Richard was expelled, of course; but his minions, Andre and Vernon, took over his post. I still have the scar on my knee to this day, and I wish I would run into Richard again--now that I am a retired professional fighter.
I can tell you the names of each of my bullies, and I had a new one each year until I started training in Muay Thai at the age of 13. Once I started training, the beatings magically stopped. I never had to actually use what I was learning.
Later in life I figured out why. Standing up to bullies is not about beating them up. It's not even about knowing how to beat them up. Overcoming bullies is about having the confidence to be able to say:
“I am not afraid of you!”
This confidence comes from your belief that what you just said is true. That you are not afraid, because you can back yourself up.
Imagine that you're eight years old and a big mean nasty boy twice your size is in your face, frothing at the mouth and waving his fist at you. Imagine that you have never seen this before. What will you do? I ran.. like Forrest Gump.
Later on in life, in high school, almost the same thing happened. But this time I didn't run. I tucked my chin into my chest, smiled the biggest smile I could and stared him straight in the eyes as I put my hands up. He laughed, and for the next four years, if I ever had a problem, he, and his friends, had my back.
I had been there before, and I knew I would suffer far worse from the torment, than from whatever punishment he could dish out that day. My confidence, not my prowess in Muay Thai, made the difference.
I am not alone in my dilemma, either. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, "29% of the students who responded to the(ir) survey had been involved in some aspect of bullying, either as a bully, as the target of bullying, or both." In addition, The American Justice Department says that "this month 1 out of every 4 kids will be abused by another youth."
Because of this, schools have enacted very strict policies to prevent this kind of physical bullying. It has been effective in lowering physical altercations, however, adults will not be around to prevent bullying ever single moment of the day. Kids are resourceful. Bullies have found another way to torment others. Verbally, bullies can threaten, name-call, and belittle. Without effective verbal self-defense techniques, children are still being bullied.
Muay Thai is one of the most effective ways to defend yourself. Prowess in Muay Thai is possible at a young age, and in today's environment children need to learn physical and verbal self-defense techniques together to comprehensively combat bullying.
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