Release in July of 2012:

As part of our awareness campaigns, this flyer was made available to the public in order to let parents and children know there are options. This flyer goes hand in hand with the article by Shawn Hill called "Did You Know?: Kids Benefit From Martial Arts" that is meant to educate people on the potential benefits of martial arts for youth.

Our goal is to have these displayed in several community locations that both parents and youth may find them such as schools, youth groups, and community centers. We believe that good martial arts programs can help make a difference in the lives of children and can ultimately help to reduce bullying.

Click the image to print a full resolution version of the flyer:

Flyer Bullying 3 1200



Before I go into how martial arts can potentialy help to stop bullying, lets look at the current definition of bullying and the statistics regarding it from the National Statistics section found on the government website The following information is taken verbatim from that source:



bullying 600In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Education released the first federal uniform definition of bullying for research and surveillance.1 The core elements of the definition include: unwanted aggressive behavior; observed or perceived power imbalance; and repetition of behaviors or high likelihood of repetition. There are many different modes and types of bullying. The current definition acknowledges two modes and four types by which youth can be bullied or can bully others. The two modes of bullying include direct (e.g., bullying that occurs in the presence of a targeted youth) and indirect (e.g., bullying not directly communicated to a targeted youth such as spreading rumors). In addition to these two modes, the four types of bullying include broad categories of physical, verbal, relational (e.g., efforts to harm the reputation or relationships of the targeted youth), and damage to property.

Bullying can happen in any number of places, contexts, or locations. Sometimes that place is online or through a cellphone. Bullying that occurs using technology (including but not limited to phones, email, chat rooms, instant messaging, and online posts) is considered electronic bullying and is viewed as a context or location. Electronic bullying or cyberbullying involves primarily verbal aggression (e.g., threatening or harassing electronic communications) and relational aggression (e.g., spreading rumors electronically). Electronic bullying or cyberbullying can also involve property damage resulting from electronic attacks that lead to the modification, dissemination, damage, or destruction of a youth’s privately stored electronic information.

Some bullying actions can fall into criminal categories, such as harassment, hazing, or assault.

What's Known About Bullying
    • Prevalence:2
      Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school . Many fewer have been cyberbullied. See more prevalence statistics.

      Most bullying happens in middle school. The most common types are verbal and social bullying.


    • Risk Factors:3
      Young people who are perceived as different from their peers are often at risk for being bullied. See more on who is at risk.


    • Effects:
      Bullying affects all youth, including those who are bullied, those who bully others, and those who see bullying going on. Some effects may last into adulthood. See more on the effects of bullying.


    • Group Phenomenon:4
      Bullying is not usually a simple interaction between a student who bullies and a student who is bullied. Instead, it often involves groups of students who support each other in bullying other students.


    • Changing Roles:5
      There is not a single profile of a young person involved in bullying. Youth who bully can be either well connected socially or marginalized, and may be bullied by others as well. Similarly, those who are bullied sometimes bully others. Youth who both bully others and are bullied are at greatest risk for subsequent behavioral, mental health, and academic problems.


    • Disconnect Between Adults and Youth:3
      There is often a disconnect between young people’s experience of bullying and what the adults see. Also, adults often don’t know how to respond when they do recognize bullying.


    • Promising Prevention Strategies:6-11
      Solutions to bullying are not simple. Bullying prevention approaches that show the most promise confront the problem from many angles. They involve the entire school community —students, families, administrators, teachers, and staff such as bus drivers, nurses, cafeteria and front office staff—in creating a culture of respect. Zero tolerance and expulsion are not effective approaches.

      Bystanders who intervene on behalf of young people being bullied make a huge difference.

      Studies also have shown that adults, including parents, can help prevent bullying by keeping the lines of communication open, talking to their children about bullying, encouraging them to do what they love, modeling kindness and respect, and encouraging them to get help when they are involved in bullying or know others who need help. 

      See evidence-based programs .
National Statistics

28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.2

20% of U.S. students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.15

Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others in surveys.3

70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools.3

70.4% of school staff have seen bullying. 62% witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month and 41% witness bullying once a week or more.3

When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.16

9% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying.2

15% of high school students (grades 9–12) were electronically bullied in the past year.16

However, 55.2% of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.17In one large study, about 49% of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8% reported bullying others during that time.

Defining "frequent" involvement in bullying as occurring two or more times within the past month, 40.6% of students reported some type of frequent involvement in bullying, with 23.2% being the youth frequently bullied, 8.0% being the youth who frequently bullied others, and 9.4% playing both roles frequently.3

The most common types of bullying are verbal and social. Physical bullying happens less often. Cyberbullying happens the least frequently.

According to one large study, the following percentages of middle schools students had experienced these various types of bullying: name calling (44.2 %); teasing (43.3 %); spreading rumors or lies (36.3%); pushing or shoving (32.4%); hitting, slapping, or kicking (29.2%); leaving out (28.5%); threatening (27.4%); stealing belongings (27.3%); sexual comments or gestures (23.7%); e-mail or blogging (9.9%).3

Most bullying takes place in school, outside on school grounds, and on the school bus. Bullying also happens wherever kids gather in the community. And of course, cyberbullying occurs on cell phones and online.

According to one large study, the following percentages of middle schools students had experienced bullying in these various places at school: classroom (29.3%); hallway or lockers (29.0%); cafeteria (23.4%); gym or PE class (19.5%); bathroom (12.2%); playground or recess (6.2%).3

Only about 20 to 30% of students who are bullied notify adults about the bullying.13


Now that we have a definition to give us an idea of what we are dealing with and we have some statistics to show how widespread this issue is, let's take a look at the multi-angle approach quality martial arts programs naturally take. Enrolling a child in a good quality martial art program can be one of the best ways a parent can help prevent bullying before it even starts or stop it once its begun. How you ask?  

By providing opportunities to build a child's confidence and reinforcing discipline through these structured programs, bullying can be averted on several levels. I'm not talking about just giving a speech about how bad bullying is and to not do it. We all know that speeches alone don't really do much. Quality programs in martial arts however, reinforce mutual respect, instill self-respect, build confidence and encourage courtesy as a everyday way of life.

No single program though is going to be a "magic bullet" for preventing all bullying, but just as stated above; creating a culture of respect is one of the best methods to address the problem. And... providing the opportunity to be in a culture of respect is the first step.    

Kids at risk of being victims of bullying become less likely candidates for bullies when they are not perceived as weaker, unsure of themselves or easily scared. Quality programs in martial arts will work to build a person's confidence in themselves and their abilities which typically translates into ones feeling of self-worth. When kids and adults have self-worth and feel confident in themselves, they are not percieved as weaker or easy targets, period.

Working Together 2006 1200x573

Kids, who may engage in acts of bullying, learn to respect others and focus their energy in a more productive way so they never begin to bully in the first place. This is where opportunity strikes. When there are choices, such as being involved in a positive setting that fosters good behavior and being involved with a group that rewards good behavior, chances are interaction between individuals will be improved. Not just in the classroom but everywhere.   

These programs work as a double edge sword to tackle both sides of the bullying equation, but it's important to understand that no one program or effort can prevent or stop bullying altogether. It's a collaborative effort by the community in which that child, teen or adult lives which will foster good character in that individual to prevent the feeling, want or desire to engage in acts of bullying. Parents need to work with children to reinforce the concepts and disciplines learned through martial arts, otherwise the two efforts will not work as well. The earlier a child starts a martial art program the better. The older we get the harder it is to break habits we pick up so getting involved sooner can make a huge difference.

Statistic Sources sited by

1 Gladden, R. M., Vivolo-Kantor, A. M., Hamburger, M. E., & Lumpkin, C. D. (2014). Bullying surveillance among youths: Uniform definitions for public health and recommended data elements, Version 1.0. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and US Department of Education..

2 National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement , 2011.

3 Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36(3), 361-382.

4 Espelage, D. L., Holt, M. K., & Henkel, R. R. (2003).  Examination of peer-group contextual effects on aggression during early adolescence.  Child Development, 74, 205-220.

5 Bradshaw, C.P., O’Brennan, L. & Sawyer, A.L. (2008). Examining variation in attitudes toward aggressive retaliation and perceptions of safety among bullies, victims, and bully/victims. Professional School Counseling, 12(1), 10-21.

6American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force. (2008). Are zero tolerance policies effective in the schools? An evidentiary review and recommendations. American Psychologist,63(9), 852-862.

7Espelage, D.L., Green, H.D., & Polanin, J. (2012).  Willingness to intervene in bullying episodes among middle school students:  Individual and peer-group influences. Journal of Early Adolescence, 32(6), 776-801.

8Farrington, D. P. & Ttofi, M. M. (2009). School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimization.Campbell Systematic Reviews, 6.

9Boccanfuso C. & Kuhfeld M. (2011). Multiple responses, promising results: evidence-based nonpunitive alternatives to zero tolerance. Child Trends. Published 2011. Last accessed September 2012.

10Waasdorp, T. E., Bradshaw, C. P. & Duong, J. (2011). The link between parents' perceptions of the school and their responses to school bullying: Variation by child characteristics and the forms of victimization. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(2), 324-335.

11Waasdorp, T. E., Bradshaw, C. P., & Leaf, P. J. (2012). The impact of School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) on bullying and peer rejection: A randomized controlled effectiveness trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 116(2), 149-156.

12Polanin, J., Espelage, D.L., & Pigott, T.D. (2012). A meta-analysis of school-based bullying prevention programs’ effects on bystander intervention behavior and empathy attitude. School Psychology Review, 41 (1).

13Ttofi, M.M., Farrington, D.P. (2011). Effectiveness of school-based programs to reduce bullying: a systematic and meta-analytic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology,7(1), 27-56.

14Waasdorp, T. E., Bradshaw, C. P., & Leaf, P. J. (2012). The impact of School-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) on bullying and peer rejection: A randomized controlled effectiveness trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 116(2), 149-156.

15Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2013

16Hawkins, D. L., Pepler, D., and Craig, W. M. (2001). Peer interventions in playground bullying. Social Development, 10, 512-527.

17 Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.

18Robinson, J.P., & Espelage, D.L. (2012). Bullying Explains Only Part of LGBTQ–Heterosexual

Risk Disparities: Implications for Policy and Practice. Educational Researcher, 41, 309-319.