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Address Bullying With Jiu-Jitsu

Bullying and Jiu Jitsu

Earlier this week, I saw an article headline about bullying and jiu-jitsu.  I finally read it and was pretty impressed.

I admit I don’t know a lot about martial arts, so I thought it was just another form of strategic fighting like you might see in the movies.  According to the article, it’s a form of self defense that uses leverage, locks, and holds.  It made more sense when I understood that.

The trainers teach the importance of talking to the bully first and then the teachers.  They recognize that the largest percentage of bullying is verbal, not physical.  However, physical bullying is just one step away, so they train the kids to learn self protection in case it goes that far.

The article explains how the use of jiu-jitsu with bullies is about temporarily taking control when necessary.  It’s not about duking it out or proving who’s tougher.  When it’s necessary, taking control can change the tide completely and show that the targeted child won’t stand being a target anymore (or allowing a friend to be a target).

I think that’s cool, mostly because it gives targeted children a real sense of confidence that they could truly protect themselves if needed.  Just that confidence alone could be enough to deter a bully.

That being said, I must say that a lot of schools are not good with kids being physical with each other, even out of self defense.  If a child does this, regardless of how appropriate it may be, it’s quite possible they will get in some kind of trouble.  For me, I think I’d be able to live with a little bit of school trouble if it meant one of my daughters truly did the right thing in the right way to protect herself.

I think there’s a real difference between violence and self protection, but be aware of the possible consequences if you choose to use an approach like this.

And anyone who’s use martial arts or jiu-jitsu or anything like it to address bullying in their life or community, please speak up.  I don’t want to misrepresent something or leave out other important benefits of this approach.  Thanks, readers!

Creative Commons License photo credit: stevendepolo

Address Bullying With Jiu-Jitsu

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2011). Address Bullying With Jiu-Jitsu. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Aug 2011
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