Anti Bullying tactics from a Martial Arts perspective

In my opinion the greatest thing that the martial arts can provide the ostracised child is a community, a group to belong to. I guess it is possible that the child may be ostracised even within the dojang, but with the close interaction of the observant and caring instructor, opportunity for bullying is much less. Furthermore, a sense of “group” is often inevitable in martial art training. Even when a child is ignored by other members, activities such as pattern training, where everybody moves on the count of the instructor, creates a synthetic group. In that moment of synchronised movement, all the members act as one group, which includes even the ostracised child. Other partner work activities such as pre-arranged sparring further enhance a sense of “group.” A child that may in other circumstances ignore the wangtta is in the dojang forced to interact during the partner exercises under the watchful eye of the instructor. Furthermore, many martial artists can testify how the dojang has become a second “family” and even people that may not have anything in common outside of the dojang are bonded by the commonality of their shared recreation. The “sacred” space of the dojang often acts as catalyst for friendships that may not have formed under other circumstances. Hopefully the dojang could provide the ostracised child with similar relationships that many of us have received from our martial arts training. If nothing else, at least the dojang can provide an alternative space for the child—away from school or other negative environments—where he or she is not the wangtta.

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