08 May How To Bullyproof Your Kids With Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Preventing bullying and violence by teaching your child a martial art might seem contradictory, but Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood’s Bullyproof program is about so much more than learning to fight.
In fact, it would be fair to say that it has a lot more to do with not fighting at all.
“Our goal is to instil in your child unshakable confidence so they can overcome bullies without violence,” explains Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood’s head instructor, Robbie Singh.
“Rule one of our five rules of engagement is ‘avoid the fight at all costs’.”
To that end, the Gracie Bullyproof program teaches children how to interpret the behaviour of those around them. By using role play, children are taught how to differentiate between harmless play, jokes, and actual harassment and cruelty; and then equips them with social skills to navigate each situation.
It is through a focus on mental strength and negotiation skills, and not just physical power that the Gracie Bullyproof program helps protect children from bullies.
“We teach the children how to fight fire with water,” explains Robbie.
As they become practiced in the skills they need to overcome physical, verbal, and psychological harassment, children gain confidence that makes them less likely to be targeted by bullies.
And then if it does get physical, children practiced in the skills of Gracie jiu-jitsu are empowered to effectively defend and defuse violent attacks. Children are not taught to hit, or kick, or initiate confrontation, but instead practice skills to nonviolently neutralise threats to their physical safety – even if they’re at a significant size disadvantage.
“Gracie jiu-jitsu was developed in 1925 by Helio Gracie, who weighed 60kg, was 5’6″ tall, and not very athletic,” explains Mr Singh.
“He had to focus on technique, timing and leverage. Gracie jiu-jitsu was made for the smaller person to triumph over the giant!”
Ultimately, all students of the Gracie Bullyproof program are taught to take responsibility for their behaviour in all situations. Avoid fights to begin with, stand up for yourself using words to defuse tense situations, get help from teachers and parents, and only use the physical skills to defend and neutralise attackers – these are the rules of engagement all students must follow.
“The bottom line is: we will prepare your child to defend themselves against bullies without turning them into one,” says Mr Singh.
This article was sponsored by Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood runs 4 Gracie Bullyproof classes per week for children aged 5-7 and 8-14 week at their Academy in Burwood, Victoria.
Photography by Francine Shaepper.