Sunday, May 13, 2012

Stop Bullying With Verbal Judo Techniques - Bullying Comeback Lines for Kids!

This instructional video is from our friend Martial Arts Master Richard Lykes, 5th Degree Black Belt.  Master Lykes is an accomplished martial artists and respected teacher who is trained in VERBAL JUDO method of bullying prevention.

In this video he takes children through some practical techniques to use if confronted with a bullying situation.  Notice the use of peaceful, positive persuasion.

Thank you for the valuable service you provide your community Master Lykes!

Phoenix area training in bullying prevention:

Friday, May 4, 2012

What NOT to say to a bully to make him leave you alone

You've Been Lied To
There is a lot of misinformation and bad advice on handling a bully online and, even in school anti-bullying programs.  I'm sorry about that but it's why I started my BullyProofing programs.

Proven Methods Vs Guesswork and Denial
Here are some suggestions that may help you make a smarter and safer decision on your approach.  Nothing is guaranteed to work 100% of the time but these techniques have worked for thousands of others and now you can exercise more options.
Don't confuse knowledge for ability.  Some of the smartest people are terrified victims.  Just because you understand it doesn't mean you can do it.  You must practice until you have confidence in it.

NOTE: Each bullying situation is unique because of the personality, strengths and characteristics of the individuals involved.  Tough love advice does not help if the child targeted for bullying doesn't have the courage, confidence and ability to pull it off.  

Bullies Vs. Victims, Angels & Devils
Often times, the bullying is going both ways.  Bullying is a behavior cycle.  Assuming you, friend, your child or little brother is the angel can be a mistake.  This is a presumption of perfection and that one person is good and the other is evil.  Although that happens, it is rare and full of dangerous judgement that could lead to negative consequences. [I'm not saying blame the victim here.] Remember, it is when people perceive themselves as victims that they tend to lash out the most.  The goal is to avoid fighting, not encourage it.

The peaceful options are almost always found through approaching the issue with centered calm, objectivity, empathy and an effective plan based on accurate facts.

"Just stand up to him!"
This is incomplete advice because it assumes too much about the individual and the situation.  Standing up is not specific enough to help someone.  While the concept is usually right, how you actually do it is what determines the outcome.  Should you try to scare the one bullying?  Should you yell?  Should you threaten?  Should you give an ultimatum?  Usually the peaceful option is to show centered calm and inner-strength.  For most kids targeted with bullying, this is exactly what they haven't been doing.  It will probably take practice and some training to get to a level of confidence to do it right.

"Tell on the bully"
Telling on the bully is usually one of the worst ideas for a first step.  It can often be interpreted as bullying back to get the kid in trouble or bullying by proxy.  Being a bigger bully isn't right either.  Plus those with advanced social skills can sometimes manipulate teachers and retaliate.
If you want to escalate the situation, telling as a first option is a great way to do it.  Furthermore, you will have a lot of trouble having self-respect when you have to abdicate all your power to a teacher as a first option.  Sometimes it is important and necessary to get a teachers help but you should know when and where to do it.
The people who instruct you to tell on the bully first were probably bullied as kids.  Many still don't know why they were bullied or how to stop it without getting someone else to stop it for them.  That doesn't have to be your situation.  You can learn solutions that really work, keep you safe and preserve your dignity.
Another problem with telling on the bully is that it can earn you a reputation as a tattle tale.  This is a fast way to lose the respect and trust of your peers.  Nobody likes a rat.  If you have to tell, you should learn HOW to tell.  There is a difference between telling and tattling.
There is a right way and a wrong way to tell.  
Telling is not a wise first step in most situations because it has so many consequences.  There is a time to tell (when you must) but try the other steps first like Verbal Judo and making friends if you can.  Here are some more specific examples.

"Threaten to get the bully in trouble"
Threatening to get the bully in trouble or create some nasty consequence is another way to escalate an abusive situation.  People can really get upset when they feel trapped or threatened and act even more cruel. Empathy and options are a better way to get what you want as first steps rather than threatening.  That does't condone or make bullying right, it just shows that peace is more important to you than revenge and punishment.

Interviewing Bullies 
BULLY FACT: When interviewed, children who bully often report that they continued bullying because the other child tried to get them in trouble by telling on them or were mean to them. When see themselves as a victim, they want revenge.  This is how it can escalate.

"Punch Them in the Face One Time as Hard As You Can"
This is a really great way to get in a lot of trouble with your school.  Furthermore, it can be very dangerous if you aren't prepared for a physical fight.  It might even make other kids jump in to defend their friend and now your problems are compounded. People who tell you to punch a bully were probably people who use bully behavior to get what they want.  Fighting is not a wise solution to bullying and often ends up with you suffering more serious consequences, including physical harm.  Never mistake fighting with self defense.  Self defense is a last resort and when you have no other escape or options.  Fighting is a choice that comes with serious risks to you and the other person.

"Just walk away"
Most likely, you, your friend/sibling or child are being picked on because of this gem of advice.  It is very common to those who do not understand bullying dynamics.  Denial is not an effective safety or self defense strategy.  Just walking away can inadvertently give permission to the other person to keep picking on you day after day.  In effect, they are getting permission to pick on you.
It's not what you do, it is HOW you do it.  When you just walk away, some people interpret that as consent.  They may also interpret that as weakness and a good reason they need to toughen you up.  No, it isn't right and bullying is always wrong, but that is how some people think.
It is important that you make eye contact and acknowledge them with centered calm, a sense of humor or even agreement.  They key is to take them off their game and no matter what, avoid showing anger, vulnerability or an exaggerated reaction.

Whine and protest. "Stop it!" "You have no right to do that!" 
This is a great way to irritate and antagonize others.  Think of it as cheering on the bullying behavior.  I know that seems like the opposite, but some people really enjoy cranking people up emotionally.  It is a rewarding experience for them - like an experiment on a lab rat.  They like to see how far they can push and get away with it or make you do embarrassing things.
My recommendation is to keep your composure and preserve your dignity.  See it as a game and avoid whining, angry responses and emotional reactions that could be interpreted as weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  Remember, we are playing a game of perceptions here and we teach people how to treat us. Think of it like an interview and how you want to make an impression.  When you are tested with teasing, taunts, name calling, picking, poking... respond in unexpected ways with strength.  One of the greatest ways to show strength is to laugh (with, not at them) or show kindness.  Granted, it's not easy but it is very, very powerful.  You will likely need to build your confidence through practice and maybe even video your role playing until it looks strong and centered.

Evict The Victim Mindset
You can start feeling stronger by recognizing that others, just like you, have overcome bullying.  First you have to be willing to seek help with building your bully-busting skills.  The price is practice. Bullying behavior is part of life so learning how to deal with it successfully early is an important skill.  You should't do it alone so ask for help from people who are good at it.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.- Eleanor Roosevelt
Stop seeing yourself as a victim because that is what causes others to perceive you the same way.  Neither is there power in being a victim unless you want to live your life fishing, hoping, manipulating, begging for sympathy and never knowing your true potential and personal power.  Yes, some live entire lives that way but you don't have to live in fear and judgment.

You are unique and should be proud to be who you are.  Nobody on Earth is exactly like you.  You are far more powerful and valuable than you realize.  

If you really need help, I'll be your bully coach.  It's free and anonymous. You're worth fighting for. Wage peace my friend.

Bullying Solutions For Teens - Anti-Bullying Behavior Options

Students bully in five basic ways:

1. Physical aggression: spitting, tripping, pushing, shoving, etc.
2. Social alienation: gossiping, spreading rumors, excluding from the
3. Group, publicly humiliating, etc.
4. Verbal aggression: name calling, teasing, etc.
5. Intimidation: playing a dirty trick, public challenge to do something,etc.
6. Sexual bullying - commenting on body parts, calling gay etc.

Targets can try HA HA SO for dealing with bullies.
* Not every one works in every situation.

H Help. Seek help from peers and/or an adult. 
[NOTE: BPII/ABPP do not advocate telling as a first step because it has a tendency to escalate the bullying behavior.  You want to avoid a reputation as a tattle tale or show signs of vulnerability by what could be perceived as retaliation by getting them in trouble.  However, each situation is different and should be treated according to the individual's needs.  BPII/ABPP usually recommends trying to make friends first by a show of inner-strength, centered calm and kindness.]
A Assert yourself. Look the bully in the eye and tell them to stop. Keep it short.
"I don't like it when you do that, please stop."

H Humor. Respond with a remark to make the bully laugh.
A Avoid. Walk away, stay with others, not alone.

S Self-talk. Put on a tape in your own mind that says nice things to yourself so the bully doesn't get to you.
O Own it. Own the put-down (agree with it) to throw the bully off.

What not to do. Do NOT react emotionally. Don't show strong emotions in front of the bully which will excite the bully more.

*The HAHASO strategy was developed by the Bully Project and set forth in Bully-Proofing Your School, which can be obtained from Sopris West Publishing at

Meet John Nottingham, Security, Self Defense, Bullying Specialist, Speaker and Consultant

Meet John Nottingham
Director, Bullying Prevention Initiative International      Arizona Bullying Prevention Initiative The Phoenix BULLYPROOF Project  Speaker and Consultant
John Nottingham knows what it is like to be bullied.  Not only did he overcome it, he has taught thousands of men, women and children to resolve conflicts peacefully for over 26 years.  His  mission is to provide alternative solutions on the serious issue of bullying and self defense; and to educate about the importance of peace and character education programs.  The connection between bullying and other forms of violence, and the effects bullying has on children is significant.  John specializes in Verbal Judo, Bullying Prevention and Victim Proof Self Defense Training, and is available to speak at schools, church groups, and community events.


Alternative to Anti-Bullying Movement  
John founded the not for profits Bullying Prevention Initiative International as well as the local chapter of the Arizona Bullying Intervention Initiative - The Phoenix BullyProof Project to provide alternatives to the failed school wide anti-bullying programs.
John  has served as an adviser and contributor for the Break The Chain Foundation, a charity dedicated to raising awareness about child abuse.  He is also authoring a book on bullying - 5 Steps To Handle a Bully Like a Bodyguard - a practical guide to self defense with dignity.  He draws from his vast experience in advanced threat assessment and management, self defense, security, military intelligence and role as a martial arts peace educator.  His methods have served as advice for various community, school, and faith-based programs, special events and conferences. 

If you have opportunity for a speaker, event, or program/project manager, or would like
to get more information about fees and services – John can be contacted by email ~
 Facebook Bullying Prevention Initiative International
Facebook Arizona Bullying Prevention Project
Blog Bullying Prevention World

Take the Defeat The Label Pledge and Take a Stand Against Bullying

Take the Defeat The Label Pledge

Bullying makes everyone feel lonely, upset, and unimportant. As a student, I have the power to stop bullying in my school by standing against bullying with Defeat the Label.
  1. To SPEAK up when I see my friends or students being bullied. I will let my friends, my family and my teacher know bullying is wrong.
  2. To STAND up for my friends and other students who are being bullied, and not be a bystander.
  3. To DEFEAT THE LABEL by not calling names, spreading rumors or using mean or hurtful language in school or on the internet.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How To Have a Bully-Proof Mind and Heart So That No Bully Can Bug You!

So You're Being Bullied...

Being bullied stinks.  It just plain stinks.  But you don't have to keep on putting up with it.  I can show you a way to shield your mind and heart so that insults, taunts, teasing, rude comments just bounce off like you have super hero armor.

Check it out...

The secret to being able to shield your heart is to have empathy and compassion for others.  I know that's probably not exactly what you want to hear.  You might be thinking about taking Karate or lifting weights and getting revenge on your bullying enemy.  I used to feel the EXACT same way and think the same thing.  But fighting back for revenge will almost always make things worse.  It proves they got to you.

Here is a better way...

I will share with you this ancient wisdom...

If you really want to be mighty and powerful... love your enemy.  Yeah, I know that's not easy but it will get you what you want most of the time.  Show respect and help them keep their dignity.

If you have the courage to accept the challenge:

  • You will earn respect if you do it over time.  
  • More people will want to be your friend.
  • You will win the respect of parents, teachers and most importantly - yourself.
  • You will get better at it with practice.
  • You will be more popular and accepted.
  • You will be happier when you see results.
  • You will feel better about yourself.
  • You won't get in trouble for fighting or regret saying or doing something later.
  • You will learn how to really surprise people acting badly and change their attitude towards you.

You see, it is really, really hard for someone to bully you when you are being nice to them.  That doesn't mean being a push over or letting them be mean.  It means treating them like you would want to be treated if you were in their shoes.  Have you ever made a mistake?  Have you ever had a friend help you through a bad time even when you were being a jerk or a pest?  That's a real friend.

Now in the beginning it will probably get worse as you are being nice.  Why?  They will be confused.  But now you can expect it and remember your plan.  Stay the course and continue being the friend you would want to have if you were in his or her shoes.

Remember that it doesn't have to be your problem.  It is his or her problem.  Think of it as a gift you don't have to receive.

Keep in mind that these tips are for when someone is being rude, horrible, nagging, and a pest.  It is not for when you are being abused, injured or need help.  If you really need help it is important for you to know you are valuable and ask for the help you need.  But if you really take the challenge and FIGHT with KINDNESS you will discover one of the most powerful tools on the planet... to kill cruelty with kindness, fight with forgiveness and win friends, respect and a whole lot more.

Hope and help are available if you want it.  You're not alone.  You're worth fighting for.  


The Secret of Stopping a Bully Without Getting In Trouble for Fighting

Attention Kids:

Sick and Tired of Being Bullied?
Are you being teased, picked on, tormented, called names and bossed around?

If I could show you how to STOP A BULLY FAST and do it without getting in trouble for FIGHTING would you want me tell you about it?

Before you click away or get distracted, take just a moment to read on.  This isn't a trick or sales pitch.  I won't try to sell you anything and I promise not to waste your time.

Most bullying has a really simple solution.  Notice I said simple - not easy.  Take just a moment and watch this video...

You are good. You are worthy. You are valuable. There is not another human being on the face of this Earth that is like you.  You were put on this Earth for a special purpose that nobody is ever going to fulfil. That's how valuable you are. - Joy Berry, How to Handle a Back to School Bully
I hope you enjoyed that message of encouragement and hope with Ms. Berry.  She's right.  You are unique and valuable!

So here's the secret to stopping most bullying fast...

Inner strength.

You show inner strength when you can make friends of your enemies.
You show inner strength when you can ignore or turn insults into jokes everyone (including the person teasing you) can enjoy.
You show inner strength when you can stand up tall for yourself, look them in the eye and say, STOP!
You show inner strength when you choose not to get angry, upset or fight.
You show inner strength when you can ask for help when you need it.
You show inner strength when you stand up for others.

Watch a kid who was bullied and then showed inner-strength here

If you practice inner strength it will grow stronger.  It's like a muscle and the more you use and exercise it, the stronger it becomes.  Remember how valuable and unique that you are.  If you need help with these then ask your parent, school teacher or counselor for help.  You can have fun role playing it until you feel strong and ready.  

You can do it!

Hope and help are available if you want it.  You're not alone.  You're worth fighting for.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions About Bullies, Bullying and Bystanders to Bully Behavior

Frequently Asked Questions About Bullies and Bullying
By John D. Nottingham, PI, EPS, 6th Degree Black Belt, Bullying Prevention Specialist

What is Bullying?
A broad social term with varying definitions describing oppressive behavior over time.

Is Bullying Getting Worse?

Bullying has been called an epidemic by President Obama and in the media, yet the data to date is inconclusive. A 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Justice, for example, found that the number of children who reported being bullied fell from 22 percent in 2003 to 15 percent in 2008.
It is still unclear if bullying is getting worse due to several factors:
  • Changing definitions of bullying 
  • Changing perceptions on bullying 
  • Much of the research to date is questionable (Much of the data is from the group selling the most expensive programs to schools around the world.)
Recent research shows that one in three children are directly involved in bullying as a perpetrator, target, or both. And many of those who are not directly involved witness others being bullied on a regular basis. No child is immune—kids of every race, gender, grade and socio-economic sector are impacted.* source

A healthy skepticism is in order as with any reported statistics.  Consider the source and the preponderance of evidence combined with open minded common sense.  What we know is that the verdict is still out and more objective research is necessary to conclude anything more.

What are the Types of Bullying?
My short definition is oppression. This includes mental, physical and emotional imbalance of power and manipulation over time. It can be direct or indirect.

In our courses I teach about:

  • Verbal bullying – the most common form of bullying, can be insults, humiliating comment, name calling, taunting, harassing. 
  • Physical bullying-easiest to see from the outside, can be tripping, punching, shoving, pinching, kicking, tripping, hair pulling, pencil poking, hiding things, stealing. 
  • Social/relational bullying – hard to detect and often indirect, can be shunning and exclusion, done through body language like dismissive looks, mean and degrading notes, ignoring, spreading rumors 
  • Cyber-bullying/Internet Bullying/Media Bullying – newest form of bullying, using text messaging, email, chatrooms, Facebook, forums, message boards and other social media to send threatening and degrading messages, harass, or spread rumors. 
  • Video Bullying: selectively editing embarrassing video footage, message boards or other media. 
  • Manipulation: causing an individual to get in trouble through false accusations, testimony or other means to control, exact revenge and cause pain/embarrassment 
  • Some subcategories can include sexual bullying, racial bullying and gender bias bullying. 
Who Bullies?
Despite what you will often read and hear, research shows that just about everyone engages in bullying behavior. That is why I find the outcry with stop bullying, hating bullies and labeling can be so disingenuous. Nobody is perfect and we can all have bad days, bad moods and act inappropriately. It's not as black and white, good and evil as some would naively have you believe.

Bullying is a behavior is rooted in manipulation, wielding authority, intimidation, and manipulation. Wielding power yields high social rewards and status and also commands respect. Whether or not it is considered bullying is often based on one's perspective. I see parents bully their own children quite often when they lack other tools of leadership and influence. You can see bullying on our roads when we drive, in the workplace and even in homes. In order to deal with bullying we have to start by being honest about reality and our own role in it.

One of the more common myths in bullying is that it is done by children whom are considered outcasts or with low self esteem. The research shows that it is often the most popular adults and children who bully the most, often without recognizing it as bullying behavior. Those with high social intelligence are not only frequent bullyers, but equally good at rationalizing it as humor or other justifiable behavior.

Who Gets Bullied?
Nearly everyone gets bullied, however, it is often those with the least social intelligence, assertion competence and boundary setting skills that suffer it continually. Some develop these skills based on early experiences at pre-school or in the home while others have to learn it later. Some still do not have these skills even as adults.

It is very clear that those who stand up to bullying behavior usually experience the least of it.
Bullying requires a soft (unprotected) target, a permissive target in order to continue.

When we shift our thinking from always blaming others to having a stake in the process, we can begin to exercise more personal power and protective strategies. This is not to say that the target of bullying is to blame, nor that the person doing the bullying isn't responsible for their behavior. Bullying is wrong and the target is not to blame.

Where Does Bullying Take Place?
Bullying takes place where it is permitted and not seen. Most often this is in places of transition and out of sight of teachers, adults and authority figures who would object. The setting for abuse is where an abuser has privacy and control. Bullying takes place where it is not confronted or held to account.

This is why treating the social environment is critical and teaching others to become advocates, to speak up and take action is important.

What is the Frequency of Bullying?
Most data indicates that bullying today is most frequent at recess during school hours. Many researches are predicting that as children spend more time online and on various media such as cellphones that the reported incidents of bullying there will increase.

My position is that children are at risk where they spend the majority of their time.

Bullying frequency studies show varying results. Consider that the definitions and standards, survey samples are all factors in varying results. Some studies have much more broad definitions of bullying, therefore will have higher reported frequency of incidences.

There are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying:

  • The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.
  • The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that, nationwide, 28% of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.

Are School-wide Anti-Bullying Programs Effective?
Dr. David Smith, PhD, of the University of Ottawa, conducted a meta analysis of all available research studies regarding the effectiveness of whole-school anti-bully programs. His results, published in the School Psychology Review (2004 issue) are clear: 

  • 14% of victim outcome reports showed a minor positive benefit 
  • 86% of victim outcome reports were negligible or negative 
  • 100% of self-reporting bully outcome reports demonstrated negligible / negative effects

In 2007, another meta analysis out of Texas A&M  International University reviewed school-based bully prevention and intervention programs and came to the conclusion that overall, they showed “little discernable effect.”
Vreeman and Carroll published a review of 26 school-based anti-bully programs in 2007 issue of the Achieves of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Only 3 could point to consistent reduction in bullying.Dr. Wendy Craigauthor, researcher, speaker and professor of psychology at the prestigious Queen’s University in Canada, reports in her study that in 15% of schools with comprehensive anti-bullying problems actually experienced the problems get worse.*  *source 

Where is all the Misinformation and Guesswork Coming From?
The majority of the misinformation emanates from individuals without protective nor peace education training. You can see a lot of misinformation being passed around.  Once it reaches a certain level of popularity it starts becoming accepted as fact, when it is nothing of the sort.  

Sometimes individuals will piece together personal experiences, facts and information together from various sources. Unfortunately, many of them are seeking confirmatory evidence to support an existing belief or an agenda.  What is missing is the objectivity, data and effective testing methods.  It gets especially messy when you factor in political and personal agendas.  A bit of healthy skepticism is in order or we risk repeating the failed scare movements such as Stranger Danger or D.A.R..E. (over 200 billion dollars spent).

Other sources of bullying research promote data from small samples, and even different countries.  Much of the popular information provided to date is provided by the group selling the most expensive anti-bullying programs to schools.

During teacher training I sometimes ask for volunteers to participate in a role-playing experiment. Ironically, many of the so-called bullying experts and teachers cannot stop me from bullying them. Many escalate or abdicate to indirect bullying.
Many of the prevailing groups involved in bullying movement I would argue are not experts in the area in which they are espousing. You cannot give away a skill you do not posses.  

In my view, getting to a solution starts by being honest and defining our desired outcome and shared values.