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How does martial arts change the behaviour of a bully

Many articles have been written about how martial arts can help a bully victim become more confident and overcome fear.  Many anti-bullying drives and martial arts classes with an emphasis on standing up to bullies are suddenly becoming popular.  But what if your child was the bully and not the victim? Can martial arts help your child as well?

Studies are still being conducted into understanding the complex minds of kids and why they do what they do. A few reasons attributed to the causes of bullying include:

a) The need to be in control: Power can be addictive and at a young age, bullies learn that power can be used to control others or influence their emotions.

b) The rewarding factor: Bullies who demand money, personal items or even lunch from other classmates and actually get it are indirectly encouraged to bully repeatedly.

c) The popularity factor: Everybody wants to be popular and so does a bully. That may be one reason why bullies often pick on easy victims or those who are already unpopular.

d) The family background: Children who are accustomed to seeing violence at home, who are rarely disciplined are often prime bullying candidates. Simultaneously, children who receive hard physical punishment often and who lead over-disciplined lives also have bullying tendencies.

Attending regular martial arts classes has been proven to be highly beneficial for bullies with a visible change noticed in their overall behaviour and attitude. Here’s how:

a) Build more confidence: It isn’t just bullying victims who suffer from low confidence; bullies do too. By attending martial arts training classes, bullies learn to improve their self-esteem and also learn that they do not need to bully just to get attention or to become popular.

b) Better Discipline: If children do not receive adequate discipline at home, martial arts can help them identify what kind of behaviour is acceptable socially and what kind is not.

c) Show respect to others: Martial arts place a lot of emphasis on showing respect to everybody. Bullies learn that showing respect to everybody and treating them equally is important.

d) Better Self-control: Bullies tend to be aggressive, impulsive and very dominating. Martial arts can teach them the importance of always staying in control of one’s emotions and assessing the situation first before reacting. In fact, this lesson can also help them when they become adults.

e) Develop leadership skills: If a bully’s behaviour goes unchecked, there is a possibility that he may grow up into an anti-social character. Besides helping to develop a feeling of empathy in bullies, martial arts classes also require students to work with each other in a team. This indirectly helps in enhancing one’s ability to work as a part of a team.

f) Deal better with stress: Bullies may have to deal with stressful situations at home which are reflected in the manner in which they bully. Martial arts are a fantastic stress buster for adults and kids alike. This may also help bullies to vent out any pent up emotions, making it less likely that they will take out their frustration on other kids.
Martial arts can have a profound impact on bullies and help them battle any self-esteem issues successfully. Such kids are unlikely to use their martial arts knowledge for the wrong reasons and are certain to be better students and classmates as well.