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Back to School Bullying - Make It Stop

Kids Martial Arts  in Troy  - Denny Strecker's Karate

One of the biggest concerns for people during the back-to-school season is bullying. Bullying is an epidemic in many schools and can lead to added stress and anxiety. The good news is that these disturbing statistics can be limited if you educate yourself on how to handle bullies.

As an educator that has worked with hundreds of children on anti-bullying strategies, I have found that the most important skill anyone should have when dealing with bullies is confidence.  No matter how much information you read about handling bullies, it will not be effective without the confidence to put the lessons into action.

People that fall victim to bullies usually are targets because they lack the confidence to stand up for themselves. Confidence is built when you have a positive attitude, which all begins with the mood you are in each day.  If you wake up in a good mood and you feel good about yourself, then your confidence will grow.

Here are a few tips on how you can build confidence:

Get some rest!

You need at least 8 hours total sleep per night. If you are not getting the proper amount of rest, then it can affect your mood the next day.

Eat Right!

Certain foods will affect your mood including foods that are high in sugar, caffeine or fat. Keep your diet balanced with plenty of fruits and vegetables.


People that do not exercise regularly tend to have a lower level of energy which will affect your mood.

Keep active in extra-curricular sports and activities, such as Martial Arts!

Your will make plenty of new friends and learn skills which can build confidence.  In the typical Martial Arts class you will also learn effective self-defense strategies which will help you be more prepared should a bully try and intimidate you.

Here are five self-defense strategies that we cover in our Martial Arts schools that anyone can learn regardless of if they’ve had Martial Arts training:

  1. Assert yourself. Practice standing tall and using a strong voice saying: “That’s teasing. Stop it.” or “Stop making fun of me. It’s mean.”
  2. Use “I want.” Role-play with a friend or family member by addressing him or her (the bully) by saying: “I want you to leave me alone,” or “I want you to stop teasing me.”
  3. Question it. Practice responding to an insult with a non-defensive question: “Why would you say that?” or “Why would you want to hurt my feelings?”
  4. Ignore it. Bullies love it when their teasing upsets their victims, so find a way to not let the tormentor get to you. Pretend they’re invisible, walk away without looking at them, quickly look at something else and laugh, or look completely uninterested.
  5. Make light of the Teasing. Reply to bullies by saying something like: “Wow, you are so smart because you pick on other kids.” Or, “Did you think of that all on your own?”

Remember, the key to dealing with bullies is all about how confident you feel. The strategies above will only work if you are confident enough to say them. Role-playing is only half of the lesson. Therefore, expose yourself to enough role-models such as your Martial Arts teachers and classmates so that you are constantly reminded of how important you are.


Almost everyone will come face-to-face with a bully. If you follow the tips in this article, you will equip yourself with important skills to deal with bullying. Although bullying cannot be prevented, it can be limited. You will become more resilient as you overcome obstacles and build more skills. Bullying is one obstacle that you can overcome! 

Here is a documentary video about Bullying that I was a part of:


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