Transcript: Countless times I've met parents who have done everything right - they've raised kids who are courteous, disciplined and highly respectful but they still get tormented by bullies. Being a parent is a very difficult job and bullying is something that parents don't think about until it happens to their child. Once a bully targets a particular child we found that the harassment will continue for as long as they can get away with it and in the Gracie Bullyproof Program we systematically put an end to the cycle.
A problem well understood is a problem half-solved. So the first thing we teach our students is how bullies choose their targets. Bullies target kids who don't stand up for themselves. If you don't stand up for yourself they'll just constantly go after you, but if you stand up for yourself they won't.
One of the most important skills that is overlooked in almost all martial arts schools is the verbal assertiveness training that teaches kids how to stand their ground when the bully crosses the line. If someone's messing with you shouldn't just walk away and pretend it didn't happen, you've got to stand up for yourself because if you don't then they'll just do it worse and worse each day it'll get worse, but if you stop it right there the moment it starts they won't want to mess with you.
Through a series of highly specific role-playing exercises we teach the kids how to walk, how to talk and most importantly how to look to a bully in the eye to put an end to the harassment before it spirals out of control: no fidgeting hands, by your side, look in their eyes, say 'don't ever do that again.' The real challenge is that most children will not assert themselves verbally unless they can defend themselves physically and this is where Jiu-Jitsu comes into the equation. As a parent the last thing I want is my child punching somebody when they're getting bullied. Jiu-jitsu is beautiful because it allows the child to control the bully without throwing any punches or kicks and without harming the bully, but still protecting the child.
You're not hurting the child, you're just waiting for help to arrive and that's where the the Bullyproof system is amazing.
I want to neutralize them because then if I punch them, then I'll become the bully. You don't want to bully you just want to make sure other people don't bully. Jiu-Jitsu is for self-defense, if you just want to fight then that makes you a bully yourself.
Why does every child need Jiu-Jitsu?
Kids are learning how to neutralize violence without instigating it. Basically we're teaching them how to fight fire with water. The techniques are important - the only thing more important is that we teach the children when to and when not to use them.
- Avoid the fight at all costs.
- If physically attacked defend yourself.
- If verbally attacked follow the 3 T steps: talk, tell, tackle.
- Never punch or kick the bully, establish control and negotiate.
- When applying submissions use minimal force and negotiate.
One incident that there was, it was a local fast food place. There was an older child pushing my daughter...and he was bullying my sister like pushing her down the slide and I told him to stop once, so then he did it again, he pushed my sister against the fence so then I clapped and tackled...my son just took the lessons that he's learned and applied it. He bullied my sister so then I took him down. But nobody was hurt and I mean it was making me proud that he had the confidence to go ahead and handle somebody that's much larger and much older in the kid, he was out of control.
We place a huge emphasis on character development in the Gracie Bullyproof program. As Jiu-Jitsu instructors these kids really look up to us and we have a very unique opportunity to instill some invaluable lessons that every parent wants their kids to know but not every parent can get through to their child.
The instructors, they talk about life experiences which to me is absolutely important, it's not just the physical part of the Jiu-Jitsu Academy, but the life coaching: shaking hands, look at somebody in their face, being polite, making eye contact - that has made a huge impact on their lives and honestly every time we take the kids out here in public, we're constantly getting compliments.
The most important thing is that we literally tie their character development progress to their Gracie Bullyproof belt promotion, so kids are looking for ANY opportunity to demonstrate their discipline, responsibility and respect, so they can earn their character patches.
We have like chapters like manners, citizenship, caring, responsibility, health and respect and then you need all of these patches to go to black belt club.
And the best part is the parents don't even have to do anything they simply track the at home character development progress and if the child earns enough points during a particular chapter, they get their character patch and they qualify for Gracie game day - and every kid wants to go to Gracie Game Day.
And it's terrific you know they're looking at their progress they're focusing on the chapter that they've learned at the Academy but it's being implemented at the rest of their life not just for the time they're spending here at the academy, and it's helping us we're keeping track of our children's progress, they're looking at their progress, they earn their points it's exciting for them to go to the party.
I have no doubt that the single greatest benefit of growing up in the Gracie family and all the skills that came with it was knowing that I could resist pressure from my peers and there was nothing they could do about it. This is the most important gift we aim to instill in every student of the Gracie Bullyproof program.
Children grow up in a world of incredible uncertainty especially within themselves. Giving them Jiu-Jitsu will help them own themselves so they can face life's challenges with the highest level of confidence.
When your son or daughter says 'no,' it will mean 'no.'