Village Taekwondo
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Self-defense and dealing with bullies
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Yes, you can schedule Self-defense, Stranger Danger and Bully-defense Clinics

Periodically, we offer women's self-defense clinics and special Stranger Danger and Bully-defense classes for kids. You can also schedule to bring your group to us or we can come to your location for one of this clinics, depending on the date and time.

In the meantime, here are some tips on handling bullies and self-defense:


Who is a bully?

A bully is someone who picks on others regularly. A bully may use very subtle methods such as teasing others about their weight, height, skin color, clothing, and physical abilities. Or a bully may use more overt methods such as intimidating body language, pushing, hitting or shoving. Bullies can be the kid down the street or someone in a different grade at school. A bully can even be your brother or sister, or someone who says they’re your best friend … or even you may be a bully. If you say things that hurt others feelings and you find yourself often responding with “What’s your problem?! I was just kidding!” or “Can’t you take a joke?!” or “You are too sensitive!” then you may be a bully. If you post comments on facebook that could be hurtful, even if you always include "jk!", you may be a bully.

Why do kids bully?

Statistics vary on why kids bully one another. Depending on which report and whose statistics you find, you may read that bullies bully because:

  - They don’t feel good about themselves

  - They want others to feel even worse than they do

  - A bully picked on them and they want to pass it along to someone else

  - They learned the behavior at home
     (we want to believe that all families are like our own family, but in fact, there are children being raised in homes where one or both parents didn't want children and verbally and physically abuse them; siblings may mistreat one another and the parents don't care or think that's part of life; someone in the household may be dealing with alcohol or drug abuse; these bullies are not likely to tell the truth when caught because they know they will be physically punished when they get home, so they may act like they are the victim and your child was the bully, and their parents may bully the school administration to discipline YOUR child)

  - They want to be the center of attention

We don’t know if any of those are the real reasons kids bully. But we do know that self-confident kids who learn how to defend themselves are less likely to be the targets of bullies and are better able to take care of themselves if they do get picked on. And kids who develop self-control and learn to respect others are less likely to become bullies.

And, parents, children learn more from what they see us do than from what we tell them they should do. Do you tell your children it's not nice to talk unkindly about others behind their backs, but then you gossip about others when you are with friends or family? Do you tell you children they should share and let others go first, but then when you drive, does "road rage" come out? Do you tell your children they should always be honest, but you're less then honest? We can always find ways to justify our behavior, but the bottom line is that our children learn by watching us and overhearing how we talk to others. 

We often are asked if martial arts will make kids more violent and give a bully more power. The simple answer is "no." Martial arts teaches children self-control and self-discipline, which helps them control the impulse to pick on others. In our program we have immediate consequences for any behavior that is disrespectful or unkind or is an attempt to show off. We also provide immediate positive feedback when we see students trying hard, being respectful and helping others. The self-confidence they gain from mastering martial arts techniques and achieving goals helps take away the "need" to bully others and provides a way to gain positive recognition.

Martial arts isn't about violence or beating up others. It's about finding the most peaceful way to resolve conflict, while having the self-confidence that comes with knowing you can defend yourself physically if you need to.

Students learn that the only way to earn respect is to achieve goals and move up in rank. And they also learn that with higher rank comes the responsibility of setting an example of how to treat others respectfully. Your goal should be to earn the respect of other students. Yes, your belt rank entitles you to certain privileges, but wouldn't it be great if other students and instructors respected YOU and not just the color of your belt?

Tips for dealing with bullies
Parents, the bullying climate seems to be changing. Schools seem to have less and less ability to truly stop these situations. We hear that now if a student defends him or herself against a bully, for example just by pushing the bully away or using a wrist lock or arm bar to keep from getting hurt by the bully, the victim can actually get suspended because they used some type of physical force. We feel this gives the bullies all the power. It seems the bullies have learned how to pick on their victims without being seen by adults who will intervene. But if their victims defend themselves, the bullies and their parents (who may be modeling bullying behavior for their child) are the first to accuse the victim of being the attacker. So, parents, you need to decide what level of force you are okay with your children using to defend themselves and how you will handle the possible consequences, which may include your child being suspended from school.

Kids, telling someone about a bully and “tattling” are not the same things. Tattling is when you tell on someone just because you want to get him/her in trouble. Bullies hurt people, physically or emotionally, and you need to help stop that. Tell a trusted adult about the bully, whether the bully is picking on you or someone else.

It's important to use a tone of voice that is more likely to get an adult to listen; adults can often tune out a whining tone of voice. Kids are more likely to get help from an adult if they use a serious tone of voice and say something like “Mrs. Smith, Harry, keeps poking me in the back when we line up to go out for recess. I’ve asked him to stop, but he hasn’t. Can you help me get him to stop?” instead of “Mrs. Smiii-iiii-iiiii-ith, Harry’s being a meanie and picking on me-e-e-e-e!!!!”

Most schools have stringent anti-bullying policies. Parents, if someone is bullying your child at school, when you talk to the teachers and administrators, use the words "bullying, bully, bullied" instead of "my child is being picked on" and document all communications with the school.

Kids, one way to avoid being bullied is to have friends with you all the time. Bullies often act alone and are less likely to take on a group. A bully wants to have one victim to pick on. A bully doesn’t want witnesses who will step in and stop the bullying or tell adults what they saw.

If a bully likes to tease you and call you names, first try ignoring it (and we know this is hard to do, because words do hurt ... sometimes more than "sticks and stones"). Some bullies will stop when they don’t get the satisfaction of upsetting you.

If the bullying continues, try using words to disarm the situation. Using physical force to respond to a bully’s verbal attack should be a last resort, because you may end up in trouble.

If a bully does hit or push you, first try using only enough physical force to block and stop the attack. If a bully hits you and you block the punch and push the bully away and the bully stops picking on you, if you then kick or punch the bully, you will get in trouble because you are now the one who is doing the attacking.

If you see someone being bullied, step in and help the victim or get a trusted adult to help. 

What else can you do?
Eat healthy foods and get regular exercise. The healthier you are the better you will be able to deal with a bully. Looking physically fit can reduce the odds that a bully will pick on you. If you are healthier you can get away faster. If you have to defend yourself physically, you will be stronger and better able to take care of yourself.

Parents, if your child is being bullied, listen, believe them and ask how they want you to help. If they’re afraid you’ll take over, make a big scene and embarrass them, they may stop coming to you for help. If you need to talk to the teacher or the principal, remember that most schools have policies for how to handle bullying and your child has a right to feel safe.

And, parents, if a teacher, principal or someone else tells you that your child is bullying others, at least consider it seriously. As a parent, you may feel defensive about what you’re hearing and want to argue ― no one wants to believe that their child would bully others. Or you may feel angry at your child and want to punish them harshly. Or you may think that this is just part of normal childhood behavior and kids should just suck it up and deal with it. But under-reacting or over-reacting to the situation won’t help. And even good kids will lie to get out of trouble. It’s important to find out if your child is bullying others and help them stop.

Kids who are "good" at being a bully often are the ones who are the most charming to parents, teachers and other adults.

Yes, it's normal for kids to have some conflicts as they grow up. Siblings argue and friends have disagreements and stepping in to fix every problem can hinder kids from learning how to stand up for themselves. But parents need to teach children healthy ways to handle conflict and have consequences for in appropriate behavior like calling names and hitting.

And again, parents, children tend to model our behavior rather than listen to what we tell them to do. If you tell your children to be kind to others and not call names and not bully others, but then you call other drivers names when you're angry or if you drive impatiently or make fun of people when you're with your friends or berate your kids and use sarcasm to belittle them when you're angry, kids pick up on that.



One of the best self-defense techniques is to be prepared before something happens. Knowing ways to stay safer, to be more aware of your surroundings and how to avoid potentially dangerous situations can help you and your family members reduce the chances of becoming victims.

And the easy-to-remember, basic self-defense techniques we teach in our martial arts classes and our self-defense clinics can give you the confidence to avoid being targeted as a victim, to stop an attacker from following through or help you get away from an attacker.

Many self-defense classes teach complicated techniques that you would need to practice regularly to be able to use correctly if you were attacked. Even Black Belts have difficulty with many self-defense "techniques" because they don't do them every single day.

he overwhelmingly positive feedback from every seminar we’ve done, especially our Women's Self-defense clinics, is that the participants are surprised at how much they learned and that all the techniques were things they could actually do, remember and use. 

There are three ways you may be able to participate in one of our seminars:

·Attend one of the seminars we schedule periodically at our school

·Schedule to bring a group of 6 or more of your friends, family members and/or coworkers to our school for a personalized seminar

·Schedule to have a seminar at your business, church, professional group, etc., depending on location

There are businesses that offer seminars and charge fees, ranging from very affordable to very expensive, but many try to teach self-defense techniques that are complicated or that require constant practice to become good at them, skills that even trained martial artists don’t perform well if they don’t practice them frequently.

At Village Taekwondo, we teach very basic techniques that can help you increase your chances of surviving an attack. In addition to our hands-on seminars, we’ve listed below some self-defense and safety tips, plus tips for coping with bullies.




Avoid potentially dangerous situations

- It's usually safer to go with a friend or in a group, especially after dark
   (but just because you are with a friend, don’t assume you don’t need to be careful;
   an attacker with a weapon can threaten a whole group)

- Keep doors and windows at home locked (or use the safety catches on windows that only let them open a few inches)

- Don’t hide a key to your house in an obvious place outside your house

- Don’t make your garage door code something easy for someone to figure out

- Don’t open your door to strangers or for unscheduled appointments
   (Even with a chain on the door, an attacker could push hard enough to break the chain)

- Ask for identification to be shown through a window or peephole even when you’ve scheduled an appointment for someone to come to your home

- If your dog always barks when someone comes to the door, don’t try to break them of that habit; you want a stranger to know you have a dog

- If you come home and a door is unlocked or a window is broken or lights are on or off that shouldn’t be or you don’t hear your dog that normally barks, don’t go inside

- Keep your car doors locked and don’t lower your windows far enough for someone to reach their hand in

- If it may be dark when you come out to your car, park under a light and/or ask someone you know and trust to walk you to your car

- You may feel safe because you carry mace or pepper spray, but on a windy day, they can blow back into your face and blind you, and an attacker can wipe it off their face and into your eyes

Trust your instincts

One of the best books I’ve read on this topic is “The Gift of Fear.” Females are often raised to not hurt anyone's feelings, to never embarrass anyone no matter how inappropriately they behave, to always use a quiet "ladylike" voice, and to put other people's needs and wants before our own.  Attackers know this and may play on it to get you to cooperate.  There are often clues our subconscious picks up on, so:

- If you don't feel safe, get out of the situation

- If you feel this person isn't trustworthy, don’t give them a ride, don’t invite them in and don’t go anywhere with them

- Don't let someone try to embarrass you into cooperating with them

- if something about your car or house seems odd when you return, stay out and ask for help

A "successful" attacker is going to be one who looks safe, who befriends you or who guilts you into cooperating until they can get you alone. We tell our children not to go with a stranger who asks them for help and we shouldn’t either. This includes a new co-worker who offers or asks for a ride home, someone you’ve just met at a party, the stranger you’ve struck up a 20-minute conversation with on the bus, a customer who seems a little too interested in you.

Be aware of what’s around you

Notice who is around you, who is walking toward you, where your car is, where the lights are, the safest place to run to if necessary, what you have that can be used as a weapon. Don’t become so involved in a cell phone conversation that you don’t see or hear a potentially dangerous situation before it happens.

Have a plan

We’re not suggesting that you should walk around in fear. As a matter of fact, having a plan can make you feel less fearful as well as more self-confident and prepared should something happen. As soon as you are aware that you do not feel safe, use your plan to decide what you are going to do to get out of the situation now, or what you will do if it gets worse:

- Try to defuse the situation, not escalate it; be assertive, not aggressive.

- Think about what you have that you can use as a weapon, if needed

- Figure out where can you go if you need safety

Other things to think about

Should you fight back or not? No one can tell you what you should do in any situation. The goal is to survive. But if you’ve learned some easy-to-use and easy-to-remember self-defense techniques, you’ve increased your options if you are attacked.

If an attacker tells me that I won’t be hurt if I stay quiet or just get in the car, what should I do? Again, no one can give you an answer that will be right for every situation. And again, the goal is to survive. But you need to ask yourself why the attacker wants you to stay quiet (he doesn’t want you to attract attention to stop his attack) or why the attacker wants you to get in the car so he can take you to another location (so he can do whatever he plans with less chance of being stopped) and why you should trust a person who is taking you against your will, when he says he won’t hurt you if you do what he tells you to.



Frequently Asked Questions about our self-defense classes:

1.  How will this differ from a regular taekwondo class?

This will be less formal than our regular taekwondo classes.  In taekwondo we learn patterns of moves, focus on sparring skills and develop wood breaking techniques, all designed to help us defend ourselves better through the repetition and practice that comes with regular workouts. In self-defense classes we will teach just a few basic techniques with partners and soft targets that can help give you an edge in a difficult situation.

2.  Do I need to buy a karate outfit for this?

Nope! In fact we’d prefer you didn’t. Just wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing such as shorts or sweat pants and a short-sleeved t-shirt. You won’t need your shoes during the class either. While the class won’t be strenuous, you can bring a water bottle if you like.

3.  Will we meditate and do a lot of bowing?

Nope! There is no meditation or religious philosophy associated with the Taekwondo America program. While there are formalities associated with our taekwondo program such as answering each set of instructions promptly with "Yes, Sir!” or “Yes, ma’am!” and the courtesies of bowing to your partner and shaking their hand, this self-defense class will be less formal. However, the more promptly everyone responds to instructions, the more we can accomplish during this class.

4.  Are you trying to get me to sign up for classes?

Well, of course we’d love you to sign up for classes, because we love taekwondo and think it’s a great all ‘round strength training/cardio workout and self-defense program, is great for the whole family, plus a good way to make new friends, but we don’t want any student we have to strong-arm or trick into signing up. On the other hand, if you enjoy the self-defense class and think you might like taekwondo, we urge you to try one of our adult taekwondo classes for free.

5. Where do I get more information?

For more information about our self-defense seminars, bully awareness, stranger danger or our taekwondo program, give us a call at 740-917-5028.


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Village Taekwondo - 8730 Moreland Street - Powell, Ohio - (740) 917-5028

Learn self-defense, build confidence and get in shape in 2012! 
Quality Martial Arts in Powell Ohio, located in the Golf Village Retail Center. 
Providing instruction students in Powell, Dublin, Lewis Center, Worthington and 
Southern Delaware County.