Here, at Kovar's Satori Academy, we confidently say, “Kovar’s students are not bullies and they don’t get bullied.” Developing our students to reflect this idea has been years in the making, but it started with our culture. As with many of you, we established a family friendly environment and sought out ways to reinforce that culture. The focal point of this effort is our Successful Life Skills program. This program is a big part of our effort to actively partner with our parents so we become a key part of the village that is raising their child.
I have no doubt that most of you teach life skills in your classes in some form or another. Even if it’s just a short conversation about respect or self-discipline, these talks can prove to be as significant as any self-defense move or kata. The late Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee once said that martial arts without life skills is just street fighting. He emphasized this in his student creed with the words; “Knowledge in the Mind, Honesty in the Heart, Strength in the Body”. He certainly believed that a strong body was important but for him it began with the heart and mind. He believed, as we do, that a child taught in this manner would have the integrity and confidence in themselves to avoid conflict and by default, bullying.
A great example of this is a child I will refer to as Aiden. When Aiden first walked through our door in 2004 at the age of 4 he was hiding behind his mom and could not even make eye contact, let alone shake my hand. My first thought was that life was going to be very difficult for this little guy unless we could instill some confidence in him. My concern was realized when it took me 4 weeks of mom bringing him to class before he would even step onto the mat for the first time. It was another few weeks of Aiden just standing against the wall before he began to participate in class.
Bullies have a way of identifying the Aiden’s of the world because they know they are easy prey. Kids and adults like this have become marks for bullies because they have not learned to defend themselves by projecting a positive self-assured demeanor. This, of course, is a natural byproduct of training in the arts. Therefore, life skills are the method by which we instill qualities necessary for living a happy healthy and productive life while training in an art that builds your confidence.
At Kovar’s, we have been teaching life skills since the mid 80’s but they became formalized about 25 years ago. They have evolved into a comprehensive educational program that has become one of the main reasons parents enroll their children. It has been wonderful to have seen so many people walk through our doors, most not sure of what they want, but then develop a greater appreciation for who they are and what they can accomplish.
Aiden grew up to become a third-degree black belt and a superb athlete. I believe the best part is that the course of Aiden’s life has been positively impacted forever. Aiden will never be bullied by others and will certainly never be a bully.
Related Documents from the Satori Community Resource Library:
Character Training & Development: https://www.maschoolportal.com/user/resources/show/541
School Safe Street Safe: https://www.maschoolportal.com/user/resources/show/562
Martial Arts School Owners: Stand Up Against Bullying!
Martial Artists Against Bullying welcomes everyone to join their mission against bullying. Help us support the cause this October, join today at www.DoneWithBullying.com and receive free resources to help.