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If you have watched the ‘80s film ‘The Karate Kid’ or its 2010 remake, there are many life lessons to be learned, key among them about firmly facing down bullies. The film charts the story of a teenager who learns to fight bullies with the help of karate. Karate and other forms of martial art can, as the film portrays, help a kid build confidence and stay prepared to handle bullies. Contrary to popular perception, learning a form of martial arts does not make a kid combative; instead practicing karate helps a kid feel strong and safe.
Role play to hone self-defense skills
Among other things, karate can teach children to anticipate trouble. Much of karate training is devoted to applying techniques in practical self-defense situations. Wwhen a kid practices karate, he or she learns to respond to aggression or a scenario of bullying in an instinctive manner. Children often develop the self-confidence to confront, deter, or subdue aggression because of the dozens or hundreds of previous times they practiced in a safe, supervised, role- playing environment.
Karate stances and positions also help instill confidence in a child in terms of body language. If a child’s body language or posture is poor, he or she is especially vulnerable to being bullied or victimized. When a person of any age has high self-esteem and self-confidence, it sends a visual message that deters bullies or would-be assailants. Aggressors typically choose a vulnerable person to threaten or force into conflict and submission. Mankind shares with animals a primal instinct to sense fear. Kids must be taught to behave fearlessly and exude confidence in their actions. Karate accomplishes these goals effortlessly, and the rewards of a safer, more secure child is self-evident.
Boost communication skills
Karate not only helps a all practitioners physically, it also helps in other skills such as communication and interpersonal skills. Karate teaches children how to build a rapport and communicate calmly, thoughtfully, and clearly. Kids learn to defuse and de-escalate bullying situations with humor, or firm tone and volume when needed. Karate helps build mental fortitude, teaching children how to stay focused and composed for longer time periods. It helps develop a body posture that is straight, eyes and mind focused, and feet on solid ground – until the moment those feet are required to not be in self-defense! Karate also helps children learn breathing techniques that aid as coping skills and improve relaxation, stretching, and proficiency in the execution of many martial arts moves.
Many karate schools conduct special anti-bullying programs that focus on self-defense and body language. Bullying is a serious problem in American schools, the source of many crimes of passion and suicides. A 2013 study of 200,000 children between third and 12th grades indicated 39 percent were bullied regularly. The number has only increased as technology has proliferated in the mainstream. In the face of such a serious problem, learning a form of martial arts such as karate will surely help in a multitude of ways.