Teaching children Tae Kwon Do isn't intended to fight bullies according to Master Justin Taylor, owner of Taylor's Martial Arts Junior Tae Kwon Do School in Champion, but it does teach them self-confidence and self-control.
''Some bullies don't even realize they are bullies,'' Taylor said. ''They may think that being angry, calling names and pushing people around is a normal way to act.''
In addition to preparing children to deal with bullies, the objective of the Bully Buster's program, which incorporates martial arts with education, is to instill character traits that will lead to success in all areas, according the parent information guide about the program.
Taylor recently took his instruction to North Road and H.C. Mines Elementary Schools with two weeks of gym classes. Students who want to continue to take classes can sign up for three additional weeks of after-school lessons for $20. At the end of the three weeks, the students not only earn yellow belts in Tae Kwon Do, but Taylor then donates all of the proceeds from the classes back to the schools. With 100 students enrolled in the after-school classes at North Road Elementary, Taylor was able to give $2,000 back to the school at the end of the sessions.
''It teaches life skills,'' said North Road Principal Carl Clark.
According to Taylor, Bully Busters is a world-class bullying prevention program that incorporates both lecture and self-defense to increase awareness and instill self-confidence in children who could be subjected to bullying.
''Bullies are less likely to target self-confident children,'' Taylor said.
The program teaches children the warning signs of bullying and the types of bullies, which includes physical, verbal and cyber bullying. Literature from the program also advises parents what to do if they suspect their child is being bullied.
In addition to anti-bullying classes, Taylor's classes also include stranger awareness instruction.
''We see a huge change in people after working with them for five weeks,'' Taylor said.