Bullyproofing Watford. One child at a time.
Studies suggest that bullying may be the leading cause of low self-esteem in children, and according to some surveys, less than 15% of kids actually report acts of bullying. Children’s inability to stand up to a bully is rooted in profound fear for their personal safety. Ironically, the victims know that they must confront the bully and would like nothing more than to stand up to them. But, they simply can’t follow through for fear of the physical harm that backs the bully’s every action. And, therein lies the challenge – how do you instill in a victim of bullying the confidence to face the tormentor, look them in the eye, and back them down? The answer is simple – teach the victims to defend themselves against physical attack, and the rest will follow.
FIGHTING FIRE WITH WATER
Most martial arts programs rely on striking the attacker with violent punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, but in the Gracie Bullyproof program we take a different approach. All the techniques are purely defensive and utilize no strikes. Furthermore, we teach children how to defuse confrontations with words and never to initiate physical aggression. If attacked, we offer techniques to non-violently neutralize the threat and gain control until help arrives. In the Gracie Bullyproof program, we teach the children how to fight fire with water so that you never have to worry about your child becoming a bully under our guidance.The Gracie Bullyproof program prepares your child using a three-pronged approach:
- Increased Awareness: Harassment comes in many forms. Sometimes, a victim doesn’t take a stand because they can’t differentiate between “joking” and “bullying.” We teach your child to differentiate between harmless play and harmful harassment so they know precisely when and how to act in each circumstance.
- Unshakable Confidence: A confident child is a Bullyproof child. Bullies seek “easy targets” – those who will tolerate their abuse. We arm your child with the tools needed to overcome physical, verbal, and psychological harassment, so they are so confident in themselves that no bully will try to harass them.
- Total Responsibility: We prepare your child to deal with bullies without turning them into one. We emphasize discipline, responsibility, and respect throughout the course, and teach five “Rules of Engagement” to ensure they never abuse their power.
PERFECT PROGRAMS FOR EVERY AGE
Nearly all jiu-jitsu schools have all of their youth students bunched into one class, and a few schools have classes separated by age group. The Gracie Bullyproof program is one of the only youth jiu-jitsu programs that separates it’s kids by age AND experience level, so that every child gets the perfect balance of fun and challenge in their weekly classes. All kids begin in super-playful entry level programs for their age group, and as soon as a child reaches a certain level of maturity, they are promoted to the next training program.
Little Champs (5-7 Years Old)
The Little Champs program is for kids 5-7 years old (we offer private lessons for children ages 3-4). Using our time-tested “Gracie Games,” we teach the Little Champs basic self-defense techniques while instilling the foundational principles of leverage and control. The secret to the success of this program is that we make the lessons so fun that the kids beg for more! Once a child masters all ten Gracie Games, they advance to the Jr. Grapplers program.
Jr. Grapplers (8-13 Years Old)
In the Jr. Grapplers program, we focus on 33 non-violent self-defense techniques that teach children to “neutralize and negotiate” with the bullies. Verbal assertiveness strategies are a major portion of this curriculum. A child needs absolutely no experience to start, and we guarantee a noticeable increase in your child’s confidence within a few weeks!
Black Belt Club (Invitation Only(NOT YET LAUNCHED))
We invite children who excel in the Jr. Grapplers program to join the Black Belt Club. This is our most advanced youth jiu-jitsu program and joining the Black Belt Club is the highest honor for any youth Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Kids in this program possess all the traits necessary for success on the path to black belt: discipline, respect, courage, leadership, loyalty, and compassion.
Rules of Engagement
Just as much as they fear school punishment, your child fears the punishment they will receive from you, their parent‟s. Only if your child knows that they will not get in trouble at home for defending themselves will they embrace and implement the Rules of Engagement as their own. The best way to show your child that you support the Rules of Engagement is to have casual conversations with them on the topic. The goal isn‟t to give your child permission to fight, but to make it clear that if they are getting bullied, they have your permission to follow the appropriate steps and take a stand against the bully. Also, when discussing the Rules of Engagement, make it a point to remind your child that their goal, if they ever get into a fight, should be to control the bully and gain cooperation without causing any unnecessary harm.
1. Talk: If a bully harasses you, confidently ask them to leave you alone.
2. Tell: If the bully doesn‟t leave you alone, notify your teachers and ask your parents for help.
3. Tackle: If the bully persists even after the grownups have intervened, you must take matters into your own hands. First, you will tackle the bully mentally, using Verbal Jiu-Jitsu, and if they become physically aggressive towards you, then you tackle them physically with Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
Rule 1: Avoid the fight at all costs.
Rule 2: If physically attacked, defend yourself.
Rule 3: If verbally attacked, follow the Three T-steps.
Rule 4: Never punch or kick the bully, establish control and negotiate.
Rule 5: When applying submissions, use minimal force and negotiate.
VERBAL JIU-JITSU TRAINING
One of the most pervasive and damaging forms of bullying is verbal harassment. Gracie Bullyproof is the only kids’ jiu-jitsu program that makes Verbal Assertiveness Training, or as we like to call it “Verbal Jiu-Jitsu,” part of it’s regular curriculum. We’ve devised a series of role-playing exercises to teach kids how to identify and manage the common threats associated with verbal harassment and relational bullying. Gracie Bullyproof students learn how to differentiate between “bullying” and “joking,” and not only are kids taught how to speak assertively when necessary, but they also learn how to use direct eye contact and confident posture to deter bullies from targeting them.
“PUSH” TEACHING vs “PULL” TEACHING
Above all else, the teaching methodology used in the Gracie Bullyproof program is unlike anything else in the jiu-jitsu community. Not only are all the entry-level techniques presented in the form of “jiu-jitsu” games so that kids are highly enthused about learning them, but we use “push teaching” rather than “pull teaching.” When a child makes a mistake, we don’t focus on the error, instead, we emphasize the correctly executed aspects of the move. Through this carefully layered positive reinforcement, we help the kids reach their full potential without jeopardizing their love for the art.