Sunday, July 31, 2011

Standing up to bullies, can Chayon-Ryu help?

If I can do it, you can too!
Can Chayon-Ryu help when it comes to standing up to bullies? My short answer is yes! Most definitely!

As a child I was a victim of bullying on a regular basis. My father was abusive, and used bullying tactics on my brother and I which included undermining our self confidence and self worth by verbal abuse, as well as intimidation methods utilizing violence, and emotional manipulation. He was a person who himself had been bullied and perpetuated the cycle of abuse. My brother had it much worse than me, being a target nearly 100% of the time.
But it didn't end there. In school we were bullied by fellow students, and even teachers who sensed the weakness instilled in us, and took advantage of it. This was in the "tough love" years of the 1970's, before people could be arrested for the treatment they dished out to one another.  A lifetime of this cycle was difficult to overcome, but I did it with the help of Chayon-Ryu.

I wish I had the tools to cope that Chayon-Ryu has given me when I was a child. It was not an option for me to take karate training as a child in an abusive house hold. The last thing a bully wants is for their target to develop confidence or bravery.  I can't go back in time, but I can tell my story to help others, and show them the path that has made a strong, and confident individual out of me.  I am not a victim. I am a survivor. Grandmaster Kim Soo has given me the tools to face whatever life throws at me, and to not give in to bullies, or abusive attacks, but to ascend and live well.

The obvious benefit of martial arts is self defense. Being able to defend against an attack is a vital survival tool. There are all kinds of attacks that can wound us, and Chayon-Ryu is the shield that anyone can carry to fend off the various foes both internal and external.

External attacks, are the obvious ones. Physical assault, verbal assault. Through training and building confidence and skills one can avoid physical confrontations, and if necessary defend against the ones that cannot be avoided. But what about the internal attacks?
Blows to confidence, or self esteem?
We need confidence in ourselves and abilities to succeed. We need self esteem to accept our self worth. These things are easily assaulted by outside enemies as well. Mostly bullies... whether direct bullying, or social bullying such as hazing, or peer pressure.  It's important for us to recognize these attacks and be able to defend against them as well.

Chayon-Ryu teaches us to respect one another. To do the right thing. Through martial arts training and repetition our skills improve, and so does our confidence. As a direct result, our inner beings balance-- and our fear and anxiety lessen. We are less likely to give in to pressures, or intimidation as we grow internally. As our own sense of self worth increases, so our self doubt decreases, and we become less likely targets for those seeking to exploit someone's weakness.  Chayon-Ryu is taught in a safe and supportive environment, by experienced compassionate instructors who are there to help you grow.  And it isn't just a counter to bullying by turning a victim into another bully by teaching them fighting skills. Not at all!  Chayon-Ryu helps to cultivate good citizenship, fair play, and ethical behavior in students.

I recommend it for children who may face bullying situations, as well as adults. It can help. It can make the difference! It has for me!

by Melissa L. Nichols, Kyosa Nim (Black Belt, 1st Dan)
Post Script:

One of my hobbies is the ancient art of Ventriloquism.  Along with Chayon-Ryu is is an art I wish to promote and keep alive. My first teacher was the late Great Edgar Bergen, whom I learned from for a short time as a child, just prior to his passing.

As a Ventriloquist and a practitioner of Chayon-Ryu, I have taken on the goal of fighting bullying by educating people, and helping them to have better living through martial arts, and ventriloquism.

My little wooden friend, Charlene and I spend time teaching kids about how bullying is bad and to teach them about respect and fair play; just as Grandmaster Kim Soo and the black belts of Chayon-Ryu teach the students in the dojang.

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