The Chozen Martial Arts Academy organized a bully proof seminar to teach children how to avoid confrontation and show courage against bullies May 14 in La Verne.
“Our goal is to inspire kids in the community to stand up for themselves,” said Cory Lemon, program director and instructor.
“We do not want them to get in trouble and hit anybody, but we want to teach them how to protect themselves using words and self-confidence.”
Fifteen children attended the seminar while their parents watched from the bleachers. Lemon asked the children to raise their hand if they were bullied or witnessed someone getting bullied before, and the majority raised their hands.
The core of the lesson was to teach the children to be confident and to stay strong by walking away from the bully or defend themselves if needed.
“Most kids gets bullied,” Lemon said.
“I was bullied at a young age, and I understand the feeling of hopelessness, not knowing what to do and who to turn to.”
Children were told not to feel embarrassed to tell somebody if they are bullied.
They can speak to a teacher, parent or the principal of their school, because they will be able to figure out ways to discipline the bully.
“We came here because my daughter had an issue with bullying and just building her confidence of knowing positive ways to handle the bully,” La Verne resident and parent Mondai Keene said.
“I think it is helpful because she now knows how to stand up for herself and get people to leave her alone in positive ways and turn it back on them and make a joke out of it.”
Lemon talked about the different types of bullying: verbal, social and physical bullying. He emphasized the importance of using a strong voice when responding to the bully, so children can show courage and people nearby can help out when they know someone is being bullied. He asked each child, one-by-one, to face him and use their strongest voice to say “Stop, get away.”
“My daughter is getting bullied at gymnastics, so I wanted her to come here and see what she needs to do to defend herself, whether it’s words and how to speak up more for herself,” Pomona resident and parent Cindy Hanlon said.
The program also included tips and tricks on dealing with each type of bully, such as using blocking to people who threatens or bullies them.
“I feel it is important to tell these kids they can turn to, what they can say, what they can do just to get them a little confidence themselves and a little belief because that’s a big thing,” Lemon said.
The instructor pretended to be the bully and asked each student to push the instructor away with open hands rather than using a closed fist.
This will drive the bully away and not start a fight.
“I love working with children,” Lemon said. “It’s one of my joys in life. I get to pass on what I’ve learned.”
Melissa Gasia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.