Bullied children find mental and physical strength
WARWICK MMA coach Ben Pepper is offering local kids something a little different for Christmas.
Mr Pepper's martial arts studio, Grow Strong MMA, is offering free jui jitsu classes for kids in the lead up to Christmas, but there's a lot more to it than kicking and punching.
Mr Pepper said jui jitsu was one of the most effective forms of martial art.
"Martial art is about discipline, confidence and self-esteem," he said.
"But with jui jitsu you need a certain level of perseverance.
"Kids need to learn quickly that they're not going to win every time - in fact there's a zero percent chance of that happening."
Jui jitsu is a form of ground fighting and grappling.
In the free lessons, kids will be shown how to take someone to the ground as well as how to stop someone trying to take them to the ground.
They will be shown, once on the ground, how to incapacitate someone and the reverse, how to stop that happening to them.
"Kids will come along and will have to learn to be ready to win and lose," he said.
"And I think this is a really important skill for kids to learn.
"I think a child will carry themselves differently when they've faced adversity - when they know they can tackle difficult things there's that sense of self-belief and self-worth."
Mr Pepper said he'd seen many kids come to him who had problems with being bullied.
"Sure martial arts might seem an obvious step," he said.
"The physical part is important of course, but the mental side of bullying is so much more powerful.
"If a bully knows you are learning skills to be able to stop any threat they might make, then they will lose interest.
"Bullying is trying to take power away from someone and give it to yourself, usually someone weaker - if the intended target is not afraid and knows they have the skills to stop the bully, then it usually stops before it starts."
Mr Pepper said a lot of what he taught was about overcoming adversity.
"Knowing you can deal with tough moments if great for your self-confidence," he said.
"It helps to become able to deal with things and come out the other side."
Mr Pepper said jui jitsu was fun for kids, as well as being a physical and mental test.
"The free classes have been mental," he said.
"So many people have been taking advantage of it, which has been great.
"We had 23 here yesterday and that was without half of the regulars.
"Hopefully some of those kids will stay into the new year."
To find out more or to sign up phone Ben on 0479131464 or send a message to the Grow Strong MMA Facebook page.