Bullying is a serious issue that affects millions of children and adults around the world. It can be emotionally, mentally, and even physically damaging to those who experience it. Fortunately, there are organizations that are dedicated to helping people learn how to deal with bullying and protect themselves from it. One such program is Gracie Bullyproof, which was created by Rener and Ryron Gracie.
Every month in the United States, three million children miss school due to fear of bullies. In the Gracie Bullyproof program, our goal is to instill your child with unshakable confidence so they can overcome bullies without violence. Due to the non-violent nature of the techniques, CNN, ABC, NBC, and Oprah have featured the Gracie Bullyproof program as one of the few effective counter-measures to bullying for children between the ages of 5 and 12.
Gracie Bullyproof is a program designed to help children learn how to handle bullying situations through the use of martial arts techniques from Gracie Jiu Jitsu® (GJJ). The program teaches children how to recognize potential bullying situations, how to de-escalate them, and how to defend themselves if necessary. The program also focuses on building self-confidence and teaching children the importance of respect for others.
We will teach your child to use verbal assertiveness to deter bullies and several non-violent self-defense techniques to stay safe if physically assaulted. Importantly, we don’t teach how to punch or kick, since this often does more harm than good. Instead, we use leverage-based control holds to neutralize threats without violence. Numerous school districts have embraced the defensive nature of the Gracie Bullyproof techniques as a reasonable, nonviolent response to bullying and some even host Gracie Bullyproof classes on campus! The bottom line is: we will prepare your child to defend themselves against bullies without turning them into one.
If you’re interested in instilling your child with unshakable confidence while reinforcing positive values and good character, the Gracie Bullyproof program is for you! Even if your child has previously tried Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and had a negative experience, we can assure you that they will absolutely love the Gracie Bullyproof program!
The Benefits of Gracie Bullyproof
Gracie Bullyproof has many benefits for those who participate in it. First, it provides children with the skills they need to recognize potential bullying situations and take steps to de-escalate them before they become physical confrontations. This can help reduce the amount of physical violence associated with bullying incidents.
Second, the program helps build self-confidence in participants by teaching them martial arts techniques that can be used for self-defense if necessary. Since Gracie Jiu Jitsu is one of the most respected self-defense systems in the world, it utilizes skills that have been shown to be effective in reality based fighting. This can give children a sense of empowerment when faced with a bully or other intimidating situation.
Third, Gracie Bullyproof teaches participants about respect for others and encourages them to stand up for themselves in a respectful manner rather than resorting to violence or aggression when faced with bullying behavior. This can help foster an environment where everyone feels safe and respected regardless of their size or strength level.
Finally, Gracie Bullyproof provides an opportunity for parents and teachers to get involved in their child’s development by attending classes with them or providing support during class time. This involvement can help create a stronger bond between parent/teacher and child as well as provide additional guidance on how best to handle bullying situations should they arise outside of class 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. A child’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.
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 its 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”
The teaching methodologies used in the Gracie Bullyproof program are unlike anything else in BJJ. 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.
GRACIE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
We have found that our instructors develop powerful bonds with every student on the mat, but especially with our youth practitioners. We leverage this connection to help you develop your child’s character for success in all aspects of life. The Gracie Character Development Program consists of six chapters: Responsibility, Health, Respect, Citizenship, Manners, and Caring. We spend two months on each chapter. In every class, we discuss the featured character trait for 10-15 minutes, emphasizing the simple things your child can do to make it a part of their life. The secret to success lies in our use of a unique point-based reward system that we tie to attendance at Gracie Game Day, a special two-hour party where they get to play tons of games with all the instructors and kids. Only kids who score enough points during the two-month chapter qualify to attend Gracie Game Day, so it’s a powerful incentive for kids and a useful tool for parents to encourage positive behavior at home and school. Gracie Game Day is so much fun that parents will often put on a uniform just so they can join the party!
How Does Gracie Bullyproof Work?
Gracie Bullyproof classes are typically held several times a week for 45 minutes to an hour at a time over the course of several weeks or months depending on the program being offered at each location. During class time, students will learn various martial arts techniques as well as strategies for recognizing potential bullying situations and de-escalating them without resorting to violence or aggression if possible. They will also practice these techniques in simulated scenarios so they can gain confidence in their ability to handle real-life situations should they arise outside of class time.
At the end of each session, students will have an opportunity to test their skills against one another in controlled sparring matches supervised by instructors who have been trained in proper safety protocols for such activities. For less experienced students, they sometimes begin with coaches or even a parent when appropriate. These matches provide students with an opportunity to practice their skills while also learning respect for their opponents regardless of size or strength level differences between them.
The Gracie Bullyproof program prepares your child using a three-pronged approach:
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.
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.
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.
The Rules of Engagement
Teaching a child jiu-jitsu without teaching them when to use it, is akin to giving someone a gun without teaching them how to use it. Gracie Bullyproof is the only kid’s jiu-jitsu program that actually teaches children precisely when they can, and cannot, use the techniques they are learning. The five “Rules of Engagement” are regularly rehearsed in class so that children will never abuse their power and, equally important, they will not hesitate to take a stand when abused by bullies.
- 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 (talk, tell, tackle).
- Rule 4: Never punch or kick the bully, establish control and negotiate.
- Rule 5: When applying submissions use minimal force and negotiate.
Although we discuss the Rules of Engagement in Gracie Bullyproof classes, we strongly encourage you to discuss the Rules at home to assure your child that they have your support in the event that they need to take a stand against bullying.
Gracie Bullyproof is an excellent program that provides children with the tools they need to recognize potential bullying situations and take steps towards de-escalating them without resorting to violence or aggression if possible. It also helps build self-confidence in participants by teaching them martial arts techniques that can be used for self-defense if necessary while also fostering respect for others regardless of size or strength level differences between them. Finally, it provides parents and teachers with an opportunity to get involved in their child’s development by attending classes with them or providing support during class time which can create a stronger bond between parent/teacher and child as well as provide additional guidance on how best to handle bullying situations should they arise outside of class time