Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bullies, Bullying and Feeling Like a Coward - The Wise Master Po Lesson from Kung Fu

Arizona Bully Prevention Project USA Martial Arts Teaches How to Deal with Bullies

PHOENIX — A 6th Degree Black Belt Master Instructor and the owner of a martial arts school, John Nottingham was himself the target of bullying when he was younger.   Suffering from allergies and asthma he saw himself as weak and lacked confidence as a child growing up in school.

During the month of March, his program, The Arizona Bullying Intervention Initiative - The Bully Prevention Project is providing Arizona children bullying prevention training free of charge at his Phoenix Martial Arts school.  The event is fully sponsored by Nottingham's Bodyguard security company and USA Martial Arts school.

"I know the pain of being picked on, the fear, the torment and the compounded effects.  I have empathy for those who are the target of bullying and can relate to children when they say they are being bullied," Nottingham said.  That is why confidence building life skills are such a major focus in his children's classes at USA Martial Arts Phoenix at Tatum and Greenway.  
Nottingham, who learned to overcome the bullying shares his strategies from his experience as a military, law enforcement and bodyguard trainer.  I believe we are the only firm combining VIP Security strategies for prevention, last resort intervention and escape.  

According to Nottingham, there are 5 steps he teaches to use when dealing with bullying behavior. He emphasized numerous times that physical force should be an absolute last resort and then only used defensively to escape.

Their method emphasizes an age old martial arts strategy from Samurai Musashi, "To win 100 victories in 100 hundred battles is not th greatest skill.  To win without fighting is the greatest skill."  The children learn that avoiding fighting is the greatest skill, to have self control and "the most powerful person can turn enemies into friends".  

In addition to problem solving, children in Nottingham's classes learn how to use Verbal Judo, speak up for themselves, and when to involve the help of others such as teachers and parents.  The core of Nottingham's curriculum is built on the ABC's of conflict avoidance which incorporates anger management and stress management techniques.

Instead of resorting to violence or becoming a passive victim, Nottingham said that they equip children with the skills to respond rather than simply react with role play and humor.

“We teach to deter, detect, diffuse and last defend.  You can diffuse and redirect the taunts of bullying,” Nottingham said. For instance, he added, just making a joke can diffuse bullying and earn respect. Bullying is about power", states Nottingham.

Nottingham said children who demonstrate bullying behavior seek targets based on perceived vulnerability.  The need to know that they can get away with it and that is why the misguided advice of "just walk away" usually leads to more victimization for children.

“Evidence shows that the more a child reacts emotionally or shrinks, the more the bullying behavior is encouraged,” Nottingham said. He and his staff of Black Belt instructors encourage role play situations where a child might be bullied and practice stress managing breathing to help calm nerves and prevent a child from crying or encouraging more bullying.

Another tactic for a child is to stay with a group of other kids or near a teacher or adult. Bullies are far more likely to target kids who are alone or unprotected.  Nottingham teaches children to avoid 'Hot Zones', or areas most likely to be targeted for bullying.

How does Nottingham know his ideas really work?  Not only did he learn to deal with bullying as a child, he has since trained thousands of children, teachers and parents his methods.  When he isn't teaching Police and Military, he is working in the community to share his peaceful methods of conflict avoidance and bullying prevention.

“What we teach is unique and we have seen the amazing results,” he said.

Children learn to avoid conflict and still keep their dignity.  They also learn the importance of standing up for others and not standing by passively when they see others being bullied.

Nottingham emphasized kids and parents have to be realistic and remember that while most bullying scenarios can be defused, sometimes the child is going to get struck, slapped, tripped or pushed no matter what the boy or girl does. He also stated that children do not need to be Jet Li or Chuck Norris in order to use some basic defensive martial arts techniques if force becomes necessary.  Children need to know that in certain rare situations that they have a right and responsibility to protect themselves and that nobody has a right to harm them.

“Research and our evidence clearly shows that that the majority of protecting yourself is having the confidence to know you can,” Nottingham said.  The good news is that we provide children, parents and teachers with hope from practical and proven skills.

To register for these free bully prevention classes contact USA Martial Arts Phoenix at the links below or call 602-896-8721 Phoenix Self Defense Martial Arts and Kickboxing Arizona Martial Arts Lessons for Men, Women, Children

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