Sadly, at some point in most children's lives they will have to contend with a bully. Bullies can have a devastating effect on your child and often we see children brought to Judo because of it.
How does Judo help a child cope with a bully? Judo is firmly rooted in respect. Judo is about self-respect and respect for others and it is this aspect that is particularly relevant to bullying. (Also see our section on Why Judo)
There is also the physical self defense aspect of Judo. Your child (Judoka's) will learn skills that they could use to defend themselves physically. This however is not what Judo is about. Judo will teach your child how to defend themselves, but the other elements are more important and harder to gain.
Judo is a very physical sport, where your child will be working in very close physical proximity with other children. Judoka's will be rolling around on special floor padding with other children lying on top of them. They will be picking up other children and dropping them on their backs, they too shall be taking big falls.
Judoka's are taught directly and indirectly to respect their partners. They learn to expect respect too. Your child will also learn to take the bumping and banging associated with Judo without losing their tempers. Having this terrific respect for themselves and others, your child is better prepared to deal with a bully than other children.
Bullies target children who will be hurt physically or emotionally by them. Physically your child will, having done Judo, know how to take physical hurt better than others.
More importantly, your child will have respect for others and for themselves. Taunting and name calling will have less of an effect on your child as they will know they are respected and valued. They are able to ignore the stupid name calling and this in turn leads the bully to receive less gratification from their bullying and will soon move onto better targets.
Your child is also likely to have friends from the Atlantic Training Center to associate with at school, who will help prevent your child being isolated; which is when bullies normally target a victim.
Should the bullying become physical in nature, your child will be best equipped to cope with it. A typical example of bullying tactics is to trip the victim as they pass by. A student of Judo will learn to do a forward rolling break fall, gracefully rolling after the trip rather than falling. That will take the wind from the bully's sails and more than likely earn your child some respect from the other kids for their "cool judo roll".
Should the bullying become fighting, we would hope that your child will have learned to avoid a fight. Perhaps, they will have the self-confidence and experience communicating with adults in the Judo club, to go and speak with a teacher about the bullying.
Often we see kids brought to Judo to learn to "protect themselves", but where Judo really helps bullied children is in developing their character.