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TaeKwonDo Academy in Cary hosts a bullying seminar using Verbal Judo

April 30th, 2010- Johnson's in Cary hosts a Comlimentary Bully Seminar using concepts taken from Verbal Judo- a type of non-violent approach that police officers use to talk suspects down from violence. They call this Tactical Communications Training. We call it Bully Readiness Training.

Our children face the potential to be bullied every single day by the way they walk, talk, stand, shake hands, etc. Are kids being equipped with the skills they need to deal with the verbal and sometimes physical attacks that bullies will use to feel superior? My response would be not enough. Now, I am not talking retaliation, and I am not considering that the answer is to resort to violence. In our Cary karate school, we promote peace and non-violent forms of resolution as the first course of action! Only when you have no choice do you resort to physical contact.

Allow me to give you some tips for your child so that they are less likely to become victim to a bully:

Greater Than, Less Than, Equal To

Everyone has a confidence number between 1 and 5 above their heads. Ask your kids what number they think they are. Tell them that the bully is a 5. This means that they are agressively confident and want to exercise control over others. Tell your child that they do not want to be a 5. Their ideal confidence number is a 3, and that the bully is looking for someone who is a 1 or 2. The bully will see the other person as lesser than her by a comfortable margin. The bully will not typically verbally or physically attack those they feel threatened by. This would harm their egos they lost a power struggle.

Be a 3! You must practice your show of confidence, while not being overbearing.

Have your child practice his or her confidence. Have them practice activities like martial arts that will enhance or build their confidence. Tell them that in groups, your numbers work together.

Public Face

When you walk out of your house, what is your appearance like? Do you hold your head high? Do you make eye contact with others? (this is huge!!! Practice eye contact with your children!) Your public face is what people see. If a bully is looking for a victim, are they looking for the person that shows their confidence?

“Be a 3! Be a 3! Be a 3! Be a 3!”

Anger Guard & Verbal Armor

Do not get angry. This enables the bully and encourages them to continue inflicting pain. When a child does not show anger, the bully will look to other victims and will lose interest in you.

You should practice having thick verbal armor. This protects you from a bully’s attacks. If everything the bully says gets the desired reaction, he/she will continue. This starts by having the right public face or expression of confidence. We practice this in our Cary Karate class.

Neutral Funny Word Block

Bully calls you stupid. You reply with a funny reaction or do not react at all. Do not retaliate by calling them names or saying “It takes one to know one!” This escalates the situation and shows theb ully that you were affected by his/her actions. This is what they thrive on.

Verbal Judo 5-step

1.) Ask Them to Stop. (Tonally Equivalent-match the tone of their voice)

2.) Tell Them Why They Should Stop. (e.g. Our school has a strict anti-bullying policy. I believe that you are violating that. Is that something that you want to do?)

3.) The Verbal or Physical Assault Continues: Give them options.

POSITIVE OPTION FIRST “First of all, you can stop pushing me and we can continue playing on the playground, or I can tell the teacher and you can get suspended from the school, and that’s the last thing I want to do.”

4.) The Verbal or Physical Assault Continues: Ask If

Say “Is there anything that I can do to get you to stop pushing me, I’d like to think so.”

5.) The Verbal or Physical Assault Continues: Take Action.

This can be a number of things. First of all, Take Action does not necessarily mean to retaliate. Talk to your parents about these issues to form a game plan of action.

It could mean running away, telling a teacher,

Public Face

You should use steps 1 – 5 while showing your public face.

“You gotta’ look good and sound good or it’s NO GOOD!”

The 4 Different Points of View of Bullying

Child being bullied or (VICTIM)

The victim of verbal abuse or bullying can suffer from “lowered self-esteem, high stress or fear, depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and sometimes suicidal thoughts. Children who are bullied also often have a higher rate of school absences.” (Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD)


Bullying is a way to gain power. Bullies often times experience no shame or guilt. Bullies need just as much help as those that they bully.

Bullying is defined by the American Psychological Association as an aggressive behavior that is intended to cause distress or harm, and that involves an imbalance of power or strength between the aggressor and the victim.


Kids have to band together. This abuse should not be tolerated by anyone.

Persons of Authority

As a parent, we entrust those in authority with the custody of our kids when we drop them off at school, soccer, TaeKwonDo, Neighbors, etc. There has to be an open line-of-communication between parents and those in authority.

Bryson Johnson is the co-owner with his wife, Melissa Johnson of Johnson's TaeKwonDo & Leadership Academy. together they have over 36 years of coimbined experience in the martial arts. They have had the Karate school in cary, North Carolina for 5 years and believe that the highest purpose of a martial arts education is to prepare students for citizenship. They teach their Cary martial arts students to manifest the martial arts philosophy into their daily lives. That is how Johnson's Tae Kwon Do has become the highest-rated karate school in Apex, Morrisville, and Cary, North Carolina. Johnson's is also one of Google's Favorite Places. At Johnson's, the training doesn't stop on the mat; it transcends the mat! If you are looking for Karate Training in Cary, Apex, or Morrisville, visit Johnson's at 204 Davis Grove Circle across from davis drive middle school.

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