In my last blog, I posted about the anti-bullying aspect of brazilian jiu jitsu for the kids program. I can now say that it's come in handy already for Noel, my 6 year old.
I didn't get much in terms of details, but when Roxanne came home after picking up the boys at school, she told me of an "incident" that happened at school. (which was also reported in his parent/teacher daily agenda).
For those of you who know my kids, Noel is a very soft-hearted and shy boy. He's so non-aggressive that during soccer season, we'd call him "ice man". Whenever he got close to the ball vs a player from the other team, he'd freeze up in fear of hurting someone or getting hurt himself. (hence the name...of course, this was my idea and all in good fun)
Getting back to the incident.
From what we were told, a 3rd grader (8 year old) was picking on Noel's friend Philippe, who happens to be the littlest boy in his class. (he's about a full head shorter than Noel) At any rate, as this was happening, Noel stepped in and shoved the older boy to the point where a teacher caught his reaction and he was sent to the principal's office.
Understanding that he was now in trouble, his heart broke and he apologized to the older boy and then made his way to Mme Tracey's office.
I didn't get anymore details from Noel but I did have a talk with him about what happened and how he reacted to it.
The truth is, I'm really proud of him. Not because he shoved the older bully, but because he wasn't afraid to stick up for his friend. I don't want anyone to miscontrue what I'm saying here, I don't want Noel to fight...ever. But I also feel good knowing that he's developed enough confidence where his natural instinct is not to just sit back and watch.
With every word I'm writing, I'm trying to think of how to explain this without painting the wrong image. I am teaching my boys to never give a bully an inch, but in the same breath, I want them to make smart decisions first and only react physically if they have no other option.
Could he have handled today's situation better? Yes...no doubt about it. The best reaction would have been to find a teacher and tell them what was happening. At the end of the day, I'm proud of Noel and he's not in any trouble with me.
I firmly believe the anti-bullying aspect of BJJ is what gave him the confidence to stand up to the older kid. He's learned how to be solid on his feet and to protect himself, we just have to be attentive parents and make sure that he continues to understand that martial arts are for self defense and he should fight fire with water. I do believe that was his intention, we just need to keep refining the approach.
All in all, I think he's going to be ok. :)