By Jackie Contreras
In an air-conditioned space on Huntington Drive, 17 kids did sit ups, pushups, and other warm-up exercises. With the quote “mind is gravity” written above them on a wall, the children carried on despite the intense heat outside.
ZR Team Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Arcadia held Anti-Bullying Week last week with classes dedicated to training for situations involving bullies.
These scenarios were taught to the junior and teen classes. The junior class consists of seven to nine-year-olds, and the teen class includes 10 to 14-year-olds.
After the students warmed-up, Professor Lucas Rocha sat down with each class and asked them what bullying meant. A student in his junior class described it as “doing a bad thing.”
When he asked if the students had experiences with bullying, a few students raised their hands in both classes. Whether it was being bullied because of a haircut, or they had friends who were bullied, his students knew and understood what bullying was.
Rocha introduced the idea of taking three steps when it came to bullying:
- Stand up for yourself.
- Tell a teacher or a parent.
- Apply self-defense techniques, if necessary.
The rest of the class time focused on the third step. Rocha made sure that the kids knew that they had to do this step correctly, and emphasized that using self-defense was only to control a situation and protect oneself. He stressed that safety was important – for both the victim and the bully.
“If you hurt them, you become the bully,” he told his students.
Rocha coached his class through two different scenarios. He taught them what to do if a bully grabbed them from behind and how to defend themselves from a wide punch.
The professor holds Anti-Bullying Week once – sometimes twice – a year. He first came up with the idea when he realized how common bullying is.
“I was like, ‘You know what, I better do something,’” he said. “I have to at least help as much as I can with the kids that I already have contact [with].”
Though much of jiu-jitsu already involves discipline and self-defense, Rocha wanted to guide and teach his students on how to use it as a tool to protect themselves mentally and physically. Through these classes the students are able to improve their confidence, which is useful in terms of bullies who seek out weakness.
ZR Team Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Arcadia teaches all ages, and holds classes throughout the week. Visit zrcalifornia.com for more information.