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Jiu-Jitsu for Everyone

Bullying stops here at GB Downers Grove

By Dr.Shawn Allen:
Our world has become different place for our children, different than the one many of us grew up knowing. The new norm for many young school aged children is one of bullying. Bullying can take on 3 basic forms: physical, verbal and social. The first two are pretty much self explanatory, however the social form is unique and often just as devastating because it can generate an even deeper divide via social exclusion and rumors, real or cyber, that can be even more devastating because the bullying is often anonymous, constant and unrelenting. Intervention is important on many levels including, but not exclusively limited to, teaching our children how to respond and react as well as when to ask for help, encouragement of healthier relationships and offering supportive activities that interest the child.


According the the National Education Association it is estimated that well over 100,000 children miss school daily for fear of being attacked or intimidation by other students. The sheer numbers are staggering. According to Dan Olweus of the National School Safety Center, American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development research has shown that bullying victims are more likely to be depressed, lonely and anxious as well has have low self-esteem and possibly even suicidal tendencies (2). They may also express physical symptoms such as headaches, gastrointestinal disturbance, fatigue and eating disorders. On top of all of this, for many, school performance also diminishes.

Here at Gracie Barra, our outreach programs work on several levels. We empower children to build self-confidence so that they can converse with bullies, empower them to speak up and not enable the attacks on their self confidence and we garner healthy relationships within our Gracie Barra family that promote a safehouse feeling in addition to the skills of self defense that empower the child. But there is an important fact that we must remember, we must also consider the issues and troubles behind the bullier and not just the bullied. Here is where martial arts comes in to provide some help to the bullier, not just the bullied.
In 2001 study was reported in the Journal, Adolescence, “An effective approach to violence prevention: traditional martial arts in middle school” (1) a study from the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. In this study, “juveniles at high risk for violence and delinquency showed decreased violence and positive changes in psychological risk factors after being required to take a school-linked course in traditional martial arts.” The juveniles scores improved significantly in several area: resistance to rules, impulsiveness, and inappropriate social behavior. Furthermore, there were successes in regard to the violence as teachers’ ratings showed that these improvements remained and in some cases increased even after four months after course completion.

Professor Carlos Lemos and his team from Gracie Barra Downers Grove continue to be concerned about bullying in our children’s lives. We are here to help if you our your organization are looking for assistance. We have given seminars at schools including topics of: ignoring and evading, talking ones way out of bullying and as the last resort physical engagement with Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu self defense techniques.
Professor Lemos has dedicated himself to serving Downers Grove and the surrounding communities. GB Downers Grove will continue to reach out to schools and youth groups in the area to positively impact as many of today’s young people as possible.
If you want to learn more about our Anti Bullying Project or classes for your students or children, please reach us at:

links to the articles referenced

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