I recently came across some research about the role of martial arts in preventing bullying. I thought you might find it as interesting as I did, so here is the link to the article: http://www.knucklesdown.net/bully-prevention-martial-arts/
The research looks at a number of factors to do with bullying, and one of the things that stood out to me was that while students may get some benefits from their training quite quickly, some of the more significant benefits accrue over time as the students become ‘advanced’ in their training – or black belts.
I think there are several reasons for this. An obvious one of course is that the students become more skilled in self defence and their ability to protect themselves. But I think theres more to it than that. The road to a black belt is a long and challenging one. While some of the earlier belts may come easily for some students, for every student they will find a point where that journey becomes hard work. It requires persistence, dedication and overcoming obstacles and challenges.
I am glad that the research also looked at factors such as that martials arts students bully others far less than typical students, and also become more likely to step in to help out other students who are being bullied as they progress through their training. I think these are admirable qualities that come from martial arts training.
I think that the character development of working towards and achieving challenging goals combined with the physical skills of the martial art helps make students more determined and capable of facing any of the challenges they face in life, including bullying.
I am looking forward to many students taking another step on their journey towards black belt at the upcoming grading. If any of you reading this post have taken a break or a gap in your training, I encourage you to get back into it. While the path may seem long and hard, the results in the end are worth it!