October is both Domestic Violence Awareness AND Bully Prevention Month.
This brings to mind frightening images of battered wives and terrified school kids.
Guess what? There really is an ugly common connection.
Take a look at these definitions -
Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.
Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual.
Hmmmmm... power and control... aggressively dominate others...
What kind of person is guilty of this crap? It's a type of person I absolutely despise – a bully.
Bullying defies the core of human goodness to the point of criminality. That may seem like a strong statement to say about a kid who bullies another kid on the playground, but I think we all know that the ability to bully is a perversion that can easily grow into a disease - and one destined to hurt others.
Yah, mean people suck.
Still, while stereotypical, whether it's some deadbeat husband abusing his wife or some loser jock taunting another student, there is something that I firmly believe can really help to end the vicious cycle of bullying.
It involves a systematic process of building a powerful force within the person being victimized. That force is called confidence. More importantly, it's confidence built on a solid foundation of self-worth and the skills to uphold it.
Here's one way I recommend you can do that. Get into a self defense training program.
I honestly cannot say enough about the confidence and skills that can be gained with martial arts/self defense training. I have witnessed the behavioral and physical blossoming of my students who have suffered from school bullying and domestic violence. I'm not saying their journey was easy. It is much harder for someone challenged by bullying to nurture their inner power. It takes time, patience and hard work. But confidence begins to grow – and it is well worth it.
Little by little, these unfortunate victims learned how to embrace and cultivate their confidence and self-worth. They aquired the skills, and the belief that they can, should and will fight against any threat to their well being.
I strongly encourage anyone being victimized by domestic violence or bullying, to locate a competent, compassionate martial arts instructor. Let them guide you and help you develop the confidence and the skills to escape the trap you may be in.
Whether it is confronting a bully or facing a violent criminal in the street, it is only with self defense training that you can learn to protect yourself when there is no one else around to help you.
Become more powerful. Rise above someone else's control. Recognize you are valuable... and well worth fighting for.
Phil Ventrello is the Founder of MUNIO Self Defense and the inventor of the MUNIO Designer Self Defense Keychain. He is a 5th Degree Black Belt and a Master Instructor of the Combat Hapkido self defense program at Foundation Martial Arts in Erie, PA. Phil is a lifetime member of the International Combat Hapkido Federation, a member of the American Women's Self Defense Association, and has been inducted into Action Martial Arts Magazine's Hall of Honor for his outstanding dedication in the martial arts.