If you hadn’t noticed, it seems as though “bullying” has gotten a great deal of attention lately (especially in the U.S.) and people are screaming from the rooftops about how it needs to be stopped, how it’s unfair and how terrible things have become.
Governments have created anti-bullying task forces and committees. Schools have come up with zero tolerance policies.
Martial arts schools are even jumping on this trend and offering “anti-bullying” or “bully buster” seminars. And all of this is supposed to stop bullying.
Unfortunately with all the time, energy and money they put into this, it’s only gotten worse.
I’m not saying that this should be left alone, or that bad things haven’t happened, but what I am saying is that everyone is focusing on the wrong issue.
You may find this next statement a little crazy, but…
Bullying Is Not The Problem!
Let me explain. Here’s two definitions of bullying. The first is from stopbullying.gov and says:
“Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”
The second comes from oxforddictionaries.com and says bullying is:
“the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants”
Doesn’t that sound like nearly EVERY sibling relationship you have every seen or been a part of? How about a marriage? How about with your kids? How about on the playground?
It’s going on all the time in relationships at home, at work, in politics, at school and with friends.
If you’re willing to tell the truth about yourself, you know…
you’ve been bullied AND you know you’ve been a bully.
It’s part of human nature.
These days you could make a case for nearly anything involving someone getting their way at the expense of someone else is bullying, no matter how insignificant it may be. All it takes is someone getting offended enough or upset enough to call it bullying.
Before you can effectively deal with bullying, you must first get that bullying is never going away.
No matter how many classes kids take or how much money the government throws at it, it’s not going anywhere. It’s been here as long as there have been human beings and will continue to be.
So again, I say that bullying is not the problem.
The problem is, as a society we have become so inept at dealing with bullying, that those who are actually dealing with a legitimate, threatening case of bullying don’t know what to do, where to turn, or how to handle it. They feel isolated and alone, leading to many of the tragedies we hear about in the news.
You can’t disappear human nature in a two hour session of “bully buster training”.
What you can do is train and empower children to able to handle a serious bullying situation should one occur. Sound familiar???
Charter of Taekwon-Do: (Vol 1 pg 12 of TKD Encyclopedia)
Part 1 “Through scientific practice of Taekwon-Do one can significantly improve his health and nourish his intellect. One can be in a position to aid others in the cause of justice, thereby promoting social ethics and morals, thus helping to bring about a happier and more peaceful society.”
You can’t end bullying, but you can stop a bully!
The confidence that comes with knowing one has the power to deal with a bully, often times, deters bullying. It provides a level of confidence that shows up in your thoughts, your words and your actions.
That means, not only must children learn physical self-defense skills but must also be taught how bullies operate, different types of bullies, and how to set verbal and physical boundaries.
Most kids know if they’ve been bullied, but what they don’t know and really need to see is where in their life they’ve been the bully!
This is any eye opener for most people because they often times don’t realize what they are doing when they are doing it, and the impact it has on others.
This realization also provides a level of understanding, and compassion for others that may not have been there before
Everyday you are equipping your students with the tools and skills they need to make a difference in this world for themselves and others.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org