Nine Ways to Combat Bullying - ATA Leadership NOW

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Through my Taekwondo training I've learned how to defend myself, but as a Leadership student, I also received advanced lessons with traditional weapons. I never imagined that using something as simple as a Bo Staff could be so empowering! Although I hope I never have to defend myself against an attacker, I now have the confidence and ability to do so.
–Christina Morales, Brown Belt, 18 years old

Nine Ways to Combat Bullying:
Bullying Prevention in Action

Two Arizona kids dealt with bullying head-on, and emerged more confident than ever.

By Sarah Asp Olson / Illustrations by Pietari Posti
ATA World | Winter 2010

Collin
Chandler, Ariz.

When 9-year-old Collin was having problems with another student at school, his mom decided to seek out help from his ATA family. "By attending the Bullying Prevention Program, Collin and I learned short, simple techniques that helped with this school issue," his mom says. "Collin learned how to avoid the 'hot spots' on the playground, how to speak up for himself and how to be confident in himself. Furthermore, he learned that, since bullies are not usually brave, having confidence in himself can help prevent bullying." Collin's newfound bravery also helped him stand up for his friends and other students who were being bullied. "When he notices that his friends are being picked on, Collin will try to help his friends," his mom says. "He knows that standing up for his friends boosts this confidence and will help stop bullying with others, not just himself."

Aaron
Chandler, Ariz.

When Aaron, age 11, began acting upset and distracted, even asking to stay home from school, his mom knew something was wrong. "A boy with whom he had been friends for the first few months of school was starting to turn against him," she says. "He was using not only verbal bullying, but was physically hurting my son." They tried everything—speaking with the other boy's parents, asking teachers and administration to intervene, and seeking mediation between the boys. When those avenues failed, Aaron sought out his ATA instructors for help. "We finally told Aaron to use the skills he used in karate class to defend himself, but only if the other boy physically hurt him," his mom says. "We stressed, as in ATA class, that karate is never to be used unless you are being attacked or you are in a situation where you need to defend yourself." Aaron rehearsed in his mind how he'd use his Taekwondo moves if he was threatened. The next time he was attacked, Aaron executed the move he'd learned in class and was able to defend himself against his attacker. The boy hasn't physically threatened him since.

"[The Bullying Prevention Program] gave me confidence that I could do something about the bullying," says Aaron. "[And it taught me] to not let others get you upset. I know the skills I need to defend myself."