You can’t get online these days without hearing about the current “epidemic” of bullying that our kids face at school, on the playground and online. The National Bullying Prevention Center has an alarming number of stats, including that one out of every five students reported being bullied –that’s 20%!
What can a mom do to prevent bullies from getting the best of your kid?
This post is NOT sponsored, I simply checked into a new gym and tried a free class!
Teach Your kids to Stand Up to a Bully
Not all the stats are terrible. Data also shows when classmates stand up to a bully, it defuses the situation quickly.
Teach your kid to be a good friend and stand up for others. If they see someone getting picked on, they should literally stand by that person and give them support. Most of the time bullies are looking for an easy target, and if they don’t get the reaction they’re looking for, they’ll move on.
Facing a Bully takes Confidence
It’s easy for an adult to say, hey, just ignore that bully! But it takes confidence to stand up to–or even walk away–from a mean kid. And that’s where we’re gonna take this conversation out of the box.
If you’re really worried that your kid is being picked on, or you want to make sure that they have the tools to prevent a bully from getting the best of them…it’s time for a little martial arts.
Is Martial Arts Good for my Kid?
It’s a very practical way to bully proof your kid. Learning any sort of martial art will give a kid confidence, discipline and a healthy dose of fitness. You can sign your kid up for all kinds of classes like Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo or Tae Kwon Do.
If you’re not interested something this…dramatic…I’ve got a suggestion for you.
Krav Maga goes a step further and trains kids how to defend themselves away from the safety of the studio mat–they not only learn how to dodge a bully’s fist, but what they can do if an adult tries to grab them.
It’s not an ancient martial art. It’s not even a sport.
Krav Maga is a very practical method of self defense, minus all the fancy flourishes and choreographed poses you might find at another other martial art studios. It teaches situational awareness, self-esteem…and a bit of eye-gouging.
See, Krav Maga–which is Hebrew for Contact Combat–only dates back to World War II. It was literally developed to kick Nazi butt. It’s founder is Imi Lichtenfeld, a Jewish boxer and gymnast who grew up in a harsh world where anti-Semitic street gangs were a very real concern. Lichtenfeld served in the Israeli military during the war and trained elite fighting units in his unique methods of hand-to-hand combat.
When he retired from service, he adapted Krav Maga to fit the needs of civilians.
Sample a Class
It’s very important try a studio/gym/dojo first to make sure it’s a good fit for your kid. You want to make sure the lessons are appropriate for your child’s ability, if the instructors are friendly and you feel like it’s a place that welcomes you.
I wanted to see what Krav Maga for myself, so I signed Mitch up for a class at Xtreme Krav Maga Midtown. They offer a free trial class, so if you want to see if it’s a good fit, give them a call and see when you drop by.
Mitch is a total non-athlete with the soul of an artist…and he’s never taken a martial arts class of any sort.
So why on Earth would you want your kid to learn a combat style used by the insanely tough Israeli military?
The first thing I noticed at Xtreme Krav Maga was the lack of uniforms. Students are encouraged to wear sweat pants or shorts and can opt for a logo t-shirt, but that’s it.
Krav Maga does rank students by belt color…but I’ve never seen anyone wearing one.
Start Krav Maga as Young as 5
The youth classes are for kids 5 to 12. When Mitch’s instructor wanted to prove that any kid could get away from any adult, she showed the youngest child how to go all limp noodle so she’d be difficult to pick up. The instructor also emphasised the power of voice–kids were instructed to yell with every move to be loud, powerful and maybe just a bit scary.
Get Fit, Have Fun
The classes started with warm up exercises then went right into learning strikes. Because Krav Maga is for self-defense–not fancy sparring–the strikes were easy to learn and practical. The kids took turns holding a pad for their partner to strike so no one gets hurt.
Isn’t this a little…violent?
Krav Maga was made for soldiers, and yes, it’s still used to train military and law enforcement. But it’s first and foremost a self-defense technique. The instructors stress defense, verbalization and how to set boundaries. They learn how to use their common sense, when to run and when to fight.
Fighting often stems from insecurities and a desire to “prove” their toughness, as well as being an outlet for aggression. With the confidence we instill in our students, the physical challenges we provide, and a controlled and healthy means of stress reduction our students do not feel the need to engage in physical confrontations. In fact, parents tell us that students who have had problems with fighting in the past, within a short time of joining Kids Krav Maga, no longer participate in confrontations.
Want to give Krav Maga a try? Besides their youth classes, they also have fitness classes and self-defense classes for all adults or for women only. They’re located at 2908 Market Street in Mid Town St. Louis (next door to Harris Stowe and SLU’s campus). Give them a call at 636-323-9170. They also have a sister gym in Fenton at Gravois Bluffs.