A martial arts organization in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada has created an MMA program to teach youths about the impact of bullying.
It is called Be A Buddy Not A Bully. This project, created by the Kamikazi Punishment Foundation and Arctic Combat Fitness was launched on October the 18th and will run on until mid-December. It is aimed at children between the ages of 8 and sixteen.
What is MMA?
MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts. It is a blend of traditional martial arts styles that focuses on both striking and grappling. It has risen in popularity over the last decade, with championships like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) drawing international exposure. This is not the type of choreographed, performance wrestling that was popular during the 1990s and early 2000s with WWE and others; it’s a real sport, and a pretty violent one at that.
Be A Buddy Not A Bully
Be A Buddy Not A Bully is not intended to turn children into violent fighters though. According to the creator of the program, Brad Foster, it’s intended to help children understand the effects of bullying on communities:
We want to affect their life positively with martial arts training and the community positively by building better people.
That‘s a big stigma with martial arts training is that we’re going to make children into fighters when in reality that’s not the case. We want to make them into good human beings.
I would … prefer they spend their energy [kicking and punching] heavy bags and go home and have a great healthy meal and do their homework than act out at school with their frustrations.
The topics covered include:
- What is Bullying?
- The Power of Friendship
- Upstanders and Bystanders
- Impact on Parents
- Defence Against Attacks.
The program has attracted celebrity guest teachers such as the former professional martial artists Martin Kampmann and Gasper Bonomo. The intention of involving famous fighters is to provide role models of disciplined, kind-hearted, healthy, strong people to the children of this community.
Martial Arts and Bullying
Martial arts are known to be a good tool for combatting bullying. Besides giving children the strength to stand up for themselves, martial arts can bring discipline that decreases the likelihood of appearing to be a viable victim.
Martial arts teachers can teach their students about bullying through role-play: walking through scenarios and teaching how to be prepared for these situations. Body language can also be improved through martial arts: posture, stance, breathing properly and speaking confidently sends out a message of strength. Fear is one of the main tools of bullies, and confidence is a great way to combat fear.
Details of the program can be found here.