A martial arts school hopes to end bullying by empowering young people with a free self-defense class.
Gracie Barra in Swindon – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu wants to “protect children from bullying for life” because it remains a huge problem for children.
Martial Arts School Director of Operations Paul Sheeran has become concerned about the prevalence of bullying in the community, and believes self-defense lessons are the answer, by helping children grow with confidence.
“The idea for a ‘campaign against bullying’ came to me due to the constant reminder in the news and social media that bullying is still a huge problem, and I also became a father to a baby boy.
“Some individuals nowadays prevent younger generations from going out, making friends and learning new skills.
“Whether it’s cyber bullying, school bullying, or workplace bullying, you need to speak up and be able to stand up for yourself.
“I grew up playing with my friends until the street lights came on or our moms called us when dinner was ready, we didn’t have social media so if groups or gangs of kids were out to bully people, you had to know how to defend yourself.
“Was my childhood any more fun than the kids roaming our streets today? I would say yes, sure. Why? Because I was part of something – martial arts and I was confident in self-defense.”
Paul, 37, thinks the statistics about bullying are shocking, and feels this is his way of being able to do something to tackle it.
Figures published on the Perpetual Fostering website show that one in four young people in the UK have been a victim of bullying in the past 12 months, with 77 per cent of those stating it has negatively affected their mental health.
A third of those who were bullied stated that they had suicidal thoughts after the abuse, highlighting the seriousness of the topic.
“With a quick look at any internet search site, we see the devastating statistics of bullying in and out of schools and workplaces,” Paul added.
“We see and hear regularly about very real situations in which young people can find themselves, feeling helpless with no idea what to do.”
The free Anti-Bullying Seminar will be taught on Saturday, December 11, by Professor Pat Reeves with assistance from the Gracie Barra Center at 15A Havelock Square downtown.
There will be refreshments on display and a lounge area for parents and guardians to sit and watch and possibly take part in some art practice themselves.