It was a very simple and short form of the seminar yet it was still fun for those students. The students learned to keep their hands up and open while assertively yelling “back off” and “go away” as loud as they could. They also learned how to block if the bully decides to hit you even after you have yelled. Did I teach my students how to punch or kick? No! What I taught them was how to defend themselves from the bullies without getting suspended.
On Monday of the following week, that same student who had suffered a bruised rib the week before came running in from recess telling me that he needed to call his mom immediately. Again, I pulled this student aside and asked him to tell me what happened and why he needed to call his mom. He looked at me with the biggest smile on his face and said, “Miss McClellan, what you taught me on Friday actually worked.”
This student then continued to tell me that the same student who hit him last week approached him on the blacktop during recess. He said that he put his hands up and open while he yelled “back off” as loud as he could. While he was telling me this story, he demonstrated exactly what I had taught him on Friday. He explained that as soon as yelled “back off” in an assertive voice, the other student ran away and the recess duty aide came over to see what was wrong.
After participating in, watching and then teaching Mr. Perdue’s bully self-defense seminar, I can say that it works. For those students who are being bullied or picked on, the simple act of learning to be assertive while yelling “back off” and “go away” does wonders! Learning how to block if that bully decides to throw a punch can save a student from an injury. As both a martial arts instructor and an elementary school teacher, I am glad that students are learning how to protect themselves from bullies and I will continue to educate any student at taekwondo or in my classroom that needs to know what to do.