Building confidence in a child’s life is a significant benefit that comes from practicing Martial Arts. Confidence is a very important factor in a child’s life when facing scenarios like bullying. A confident child is never a bully's first target. Bullies tend to go after the shy, quiet, and least confident child as they are easier to push around and make fun of. Here at New York Martial Arts Academy (NYMAA), we’ve been teaching children how to punch, kick, and grapple in order for them to defend themselves since 1985. Learning these sets of skills brings a completely different level of confidence than the kind of confidence you get from going to a regular gym. The idea of having to defend yourself from a bully without any training can be a VERY scary experience.
What Our Kids Instructor, Kevin Feijoo, Has to Say
I’ve experienced bullying firsthand growing up in New York City. Being the shortest kid was always the reason for someone to pick on me. Once I had brought this up to my parents, they entered me into a martial arts school at the age of 5. At first, it was hard, but as I continued to practice and slowly improve, I began to develop the discipline to train consistently, even at a young age, and gain confidence in myself. As I got older, I started to spar with other kids and also compete in tournaments.
Martial arts boosted my confidence, and I was finally able to stand up for myself. That experience changed my whole look at martial arts and became the thing I loved most. 21 years later, I am still practicing martial arts and teaching kids classes at New York Martial Arts Academy. I love being able to teach kids how to become better people through aspects such as honesty, discipline, and many more, but also teach them how to defend themselves in a friendly and positive environment.
Kevin’s Classroom Mantra
In the kids' classes, there are the elements of self-defense and fitness, but I also include conversations on character development. In each class, we perform a warm-up and then move on to stance and footwork. Being able to stand properly in a fighting stance and be able to move in said stance are the starting blocks to being able to punch, kick, and grapple.
After working on stance and footwork, I began teaching the striking aspect of Jeet Kune Do, which is punching & kicking, as well as other forms of striking. There are water breaks in between so the kids can stay hydrated throughout the class. Once the class approaches the end, I sit all the kids down and begin to go over the 4 step process of dealing with a bully and also the character trait of the month.
The Four Steps of Handling a Bully
When a bully begins to bother you (being mean, calling you names, etc.), simply walk away and ignore them.
After walking away, if the bully persists in picking on you, tell a parent and teacher immediately; that way, the school can identify the issue and stop it.
If the bully persists in picking on you even after you have ignored them and told a parent/teacher, give them a final warning and say something along the lines of, “Hey, please stop picking on me, or I will defend myself.”
If the bully, after being warned, attempts to harm you physically, then you are able to use the martial arts as he/she is leaving no other option.
Keep in mind that the martial arts taught at NYMAA are designed to help you defend yourself, not purposefully injure or hurt others. The only time a child should use these techniques is if they have exhausted all other options in asking a bully to stop.
NYMAA is Here to Help
Kids who come and train at New York Martial Arts Academy get more than self-defense, fitness, and confidence. They will also learn self-control, By incorporating honesty, discipline, respect, and leadership through everyday talks in the classes, we can gain a better understanding of what’s going on outside of the classroom and do our best to assess the situation.
Join Our Martial Arts Classes Today
At New York Martial Arts Academy, we’ve been teaching children martial arts since 1985. Each of our classes is age-specific—starting at 4-6 years old, 7-12 years old, and 13 and above in our adult program—and the instructors have multiple years of experience in both martial arts and Jeet Kune Do.
If you’re interested in signing your child up for martial arts classes to gain confidence and understand how to properly defend themselves, contact us today at (877) 878-3553.