The Ontario Ministry of Education defines bullying as repeated, persistent, and aggressive behaviour that is intended to cause fear, distress or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem or reputation. It can be physical, verbal, social (such as excluding others from a group) or electronic. Bill 212 now allows Ontario schools to suspend students caught bullying, including online.

Self-esteem plays a key role in bullying. A child with strong self-esteem is more likely to stand up to a bully, ask for help from parents or teachers, and may be better able to deal with the devastating impact of being bullied. But most bullies themselves also suffer from low self-esteem and self-respect. Here’s where karate can help both the bully and the bullied.

Because of its focus on personal safety, and on building strong bodies and minds, karate is an excellent way to boost a child’s self-esteem. Driftwood Martial Arts studio focuses on teaching kids three main principles: compassion, gratitude and respect, for both themselves and others. When a child understands and practices these concepts his self-esteem grows and he develops skills to resolve conflict in a peaceful, confident manner.

Driftwood’s KidSafe Youth Karate program (for kids in grades 1 to 9) and WeeKick™ program (for ages 3 and a half to senior kindergarten) teach kids practical ways of avoiding, remedying, mediating and managing bullying situations. Through these programs, both the bully and the bullied develop self-esteem and learn how to break the cycle of bullying.

These powerful programs are appropriate for children of all fitness levels and are led by instructors specially trained to create positive environments where kids can learn effective techniques for peaceful conflict resolution, bully busting and personal safety. Did we mention that they’re a whole lot of fun too?