Tips for tackling bullies, without your fist -, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Tips for tackling bullies, without your fist

Source: Karate World Source: Karate World
SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Bullying is an issue most of us want to take down. Now, parents and students have another option. A local karate studio is joining the fight, getting kids involved, and impacting their fellow students. 

Bullying comes in several forms - physical, verbal and even online - and at Karate World in Surfside Beach, instructors are teaching children they have the tools to tackle them all at once.

Take Ezekiel Meares for example.

"In PE, I was trying to get the basketball and a kid, he was taller than me, he was bigger and he said haha you can't get the ball from me,” he said.

He, like 90 percent of kids his age, became the victim of a bully. Ezekiel didn't want to stand around and not do anything about it, so he decided to fight back, in a different way than many kids would, he went to tell the teacher. He said he found the strength to stand up to the bully, from what he learned in Karate.

"I believe if you teach a child how to physically deal with a bully if they're attacked, it gives them the confidence to take the non-violent route, to speak up,” said Karate World owner Jason McCormick.

The reason why many kids don't speak up, is the fear they'll get beat up. However, if they know they can handle themselves, if attacked, they're comfortable telling mom, dad or their teacher. This is an important issue they're tackling in karate class, every day.

With this being National Bullying Prevention Month, it's a great time to sit down with your kids and talk about what they can do when faced with a bully.

McCormick said if kids have a predetermined plan, it helps them deal with it when the time comes.

The first thing McCormick teaches his students is to have confidence. He shows them how to walk with good posture, a sense of purpose and to make eye contact when they talk to a bully. He also teaches them to speak with a firm voice.

Using your brain, keeps you from using your fist.

“All they want to do is get a reaction so if they see that its bothering you, they're just gonna keep on doing it more,” said student Brooke McKenzie.

Just like Brooke had to build to a black belt, she had to build confidence, she has karate to thank for that. Because she can physically protect herself, it gives her the confidence to stand up and verbally protect herself, to let people know, so she can get help.

“Talk to your kids and ask them because sometimes you've gotta kinda pry that information out of them, sometimes they're a little nervous about speaking up,” said McCormick.

Pay attention to your kids, there may be warning signs, if they are being bullied. Here are some signs to look out for from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicid

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