Thursday, August 25, 2011

Is Your Child Being Bullied? Or Is Your Child The Bully?

Thoughts By:  B. Brown - BREG

Bullying is a serious matter, no doubt about it! A lot of parents may not even realize that their children are being targeted every single day and that their child is living a real nightmare! Some kids go as far as suicide. It's really happening out here in the world and it's sad! Parents, let's always be in tune with are kids so that we will see the change in their attitudes and demeanor. If they don't want to go to school any more, we must find out why. It easily could be a bullying situation.

Now, what are some of the solutions? The story you read below discusses an outstanding program as a solution! When I do conflict resolution sessions, the first thing I do is let both parties speak and attempt to get to the root of the problem between the two parties. Verbal reconciliation is key! However, in some cases, the two parties refuse to settle their differences and in the future, a physical confrontation takes place. What will your child do? Are they going to fight, defend themselves, run, go get an adult, etc.?

The story below shares a true story with us about a young man that was being bullied at school, and his mother decided to put an end to the abuse and made a great decision!

If we as adults use the resources around us to help our kids learn how to deal with bullying and do it in the most non-violent way, it's a win-win situation for all of us; and parents that have children that are bullies, we have to help them as well! We cannot continue to afford to our children believe it is ok to destroy each other.

One Love!

As Real As It Gets: Bullying Victims Can Fight Back With Help From Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Royalty

UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro this weekend
will rightly include homage to the iconic Gracie family, creators of Brazilian jiu-jitsu nearly 100 years ago, creators of the Ultimate Fighting Championship nearly 20 years ago, creators of legendary family fighting figures and jiu-jitsu instructors that span the globe.
But the Gracies' most positive impact might be felt at a middle school in a Denver suburb where a seventh grader is unafraid of bullies for the first time since he can remember.

Martin Hendricks, 12, spent a week this summer at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, Calif., in an intensive program designed to make him "Bullyproof." He learned as many jiu-jitsu self-defense techniques as a kid can absorb in five days, he memorized a blueprint for dealing with a bully fairly and squarely, and he gained self-confidence. The first week of school he put the lessons into practice.

"I'm still a little nervous but it all went well," Hendricks said quietly in a phone call to Rener Gracie, his personal instructor at the academy. "He'll never bother me again. Let me tell you about it."
It's back-to-school time all over the country. For kids that get picked on, it's a return to a horror zone. Experts say that more than 150,000 children miss school every day because they are afraid of being bullied. More than half of all schoolchildren have witnessed a bullying incident and three of every four students say bullying is a problem at their school.

The bulk of bullying occurs from the fourth through the eighth grades, although it can continue through high school and even in the workplace. Bullying is intimidation or domination toward someone perceived as weaker, a way to establish superiority through coercion or force. The emotional scars are often worse than the physical beatings, and victims of bullying often become depressed and do poorly in school. Bullying can even lead to suicide.

Rener Gracie, 27-year-old son of UFC originator Rorion Gracie and grandson of legendary Brazilian jiu-jitsu grandmaster Helio Gracie, knows all the statistics. He recognized that the martial art perfected by three generations of his uncles and cousins is ideal for combating bullies. So he and his brother Ryron developed a program specifically for youngsters who have been the target of taunts and shoves, kicks and punches.
Jiu-jitsu is a strategic, relatively nonviolent method of self-defense. It utilizes leverage, locks and holds that can neutralize a bigger, stronger opponent when both combatants are off their feet and grappling in close quarters. Combined with a clear understanding of the appropriate rules of engagement in a school setting, knowing the basics of jiu-jitsu can give a child the necessary tools to combat a bully.

"The program is engaging, it's fun and it will ensure that your son or daughter doesn't have to go through life at the mercy of tormenting bullies," Rener said.
Martin Hendricks was so timid when he arrived in Torrance last month with his mother and sister that he wouldn't speak to anyone at the Gracie Academy. Rener knew his background from speaking to his mother: Martin had been bullied for many years by many kids and had simply taken it.

"His grades suffered and he would never stick up for himself," said his mother, Wendy. "He's a nice, gentle soul kind of kid and now he didn't even want to go to school.

"Bullying is an epidemic. It's horrible and schools sweep it under the carpet. It breaks my heart."
Wendy learned about the Gracie Bullyproof program through the online video.

She called Rener and decided to take her son to California. "I finally felt like I found somebody who gets this," she said.

In addition to attending daily three-hour group classes, Martin was given private jiu-jitsu instruction by Rener each evening for a week. Then there was the mental training. Rener helped Martin understand that his fear of a bully hurting him was sensible. So was his fear of retaliating when he had no fighting skills.

Rener asked him: "If we can eliminate the fear of injury through technique and preparation, would it make sense to stand up to the bully?" "Yes," Martin replied. "Let's do it."

It took until Thursday for Martin to convincingly respond to a taunt by walking up to the instructor posing as a bully and saying with conviction, "Don't ever do that again."

Rener taught Martin the three T-steps: TALK to the bully and ask him to leave you alone. TELL the teacher and your parent that the bully won't stop even after you've talked to him. TACKLE the bully and use jiu-jitsu to gain control of him without resorting to punches or kicks.

"If you draw that line with your words and the bully respects it, the case is closed without a physical altercation," Rener told Martin. "But if you draw that line and they slap you, kick you, cross that line again, you don't think twice. You take both of your hands and push him as hard as you can in the chest. You blast him. Knock him off his feet.

"Then take control using jiu-jitsu and tell him you will let him go if he promises not to bother you any longer. If he won't say it, wait until a teacher or another adult shows up before letting him up."

Martin nodded. Rener had given him a plan and taught him enough jiu-jitsu techniques to take control of a bully. Still, Martin wondered, would he be able to execute the plan when he returned to Colorado and started school the following week?
Many schools across the U.S. have a "zero tolerance" policy regarding bullying and on-campus fights of every sort, suspending any student involved because often it is difficult to assign blame. The Gracies support zero tolerance but point out that the policy doesn't work well in deterring verbal abuse -- the most common form of bullying.

"That's why it is so important for a child being bullied to first ask the bully to stop the abuse, hopefully in a confident manner, then to inform a teacher or principal and their parent if the bullying persists," Rener said.
Sometimes, Rener said, the behavior will end there because a school administrator will contact the parent of the bully and the issue will be addressed at home. But bullies can be conniving, and after a short respite the abuse can start again when no adults are present.

That's when it's time for the victim to consider using jiu-jitsu, zero tolerance or no zero tolerance. And it's why teaching jiu-jitsu self-defense and submission techniques separates the Gracie program from others that also emphasize verbal negotiations with bullies.
"It's a lot easier to get a bully to promise he won't bother you any more if you are on top of him pinning him down against his will," Rener said.

The most injurious jiu-jitsu techniques aren't taught to kids. No chokes. Nothing that could render an opponent unconscious. It's a far different curriculum than the one that leads to advanced belts for adults, and it's far different from the Women Empowered program designed to help females fight off would-be rapists.
That isn't to say the Bullyproof techniques can't be devastating in submitting a foe. The 33 junior combative lessons required for a student to pass the course -- at the Gracie Academy or online -- include some of the same moves MMA stars Anderson Silva, Forrest Griffin and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will employ at UFC 134 on Saturday.
Four days into the school year and Martin was getting bullied again. He'd asked the bigger, stronger boy to stop calling him names and throwing a water bottle at him. But the abuse continued.

Rener called and delivered a pep talk. "Martin, would you rather fight one time and be protected for the rest of your life, or do you want to get bullied for the rest of your life? "Martin sighed. "I'd rather fight once."

"Do it, my friend," Rener said. "The bully still thinks he owns you. Tomorrow he will do the same thing. And when he does, you will engage. You don't ask permission, you don't stop, you just engage."

The next day the bully not only bothered Martin, but he pestered Martin's friend so much that the boy shook his head and said he might commit suicide. The bully then asked Martin if he could practice some new punching techniques on him, and hit him. Then he threw a water bottle at him.

Everything Martin had learned during his week at the Gracie Academy bubbled to the surface. He jumped off the lunch bench and while in midair pushed the bully in the chest with both hands as hard as he could. Both boys landed on the ground and Martin pinned the bully by placing his knee on his chest and holding his arms down with his own.

It was a classic jiu-jitsu combination -- decisive and effective without causing trauma or blood.
The bully was shocked and as he struggled in vain to get up he yelled that Martin was crazy. The bully's friends told Martin to get up, but as he told the principal later: "I chose not to."

The principal took both boys into his office and called Wendy.

"I was absolutely thrilled," she said. "The school, of course, thought I was nuts. But I explained that this was a long time coming for Martin. He's still that kind kid. He stuck up for himself and for his friend.

On Monday the principal called Martin into the office and let him know he wasn't in trouble. Fighting was not tolerated, he was told, but in this instance the response was appropriate. Neither Martin nor his mother told the school about his jiu-jitsu training.

The bully sought out Martin at lunch and apologized in front of other kids. Word got around the school. No longer is Martin the target of bullying -- from anybody.

Martin had one more piece of business. He called Rener to thank him.

"I couldn't have been more jazzed," Rener said. "He went through the entire cycle of standing up for himself verbally first, then physically, but not violently. He kept it humble, and allowed the bully to save face.

"No punches. No kicks. He just held him with Gracie jiu-jitsu. It's the gentle way."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Who is responsible for making our children better prepared for college?

Thoughts By: B. Brown - BREG

When people start talking about education, it's amazing to me that a lot of them do not mention the importance of the parents in the equation.

They usually mention how bad teachers have gotten and that the schools have to do a better job. I am always for schools improving, but I do not agree with parents blaming teachers, administrators and the school itself for their children not being prepared for college.

The schools, the parents, and ultimately the students have to all do their parts to ensure that the students are prepared to enter college and actually do college-level work.

Accountability is the key! What I have observed is that many students are not putting forth the effort to learn how to study and prepare for their daily lessons in class, their homework and their tests. If this is the case, then it doesn't really matter what the school system puts in place because the students have to do the work and take the test. If the students refuse to prepare for the work and the test, what are the teachers and adminstrators supposed to do?

Parents, let's make sure that we start teaching our children as early in life as possible the importance of life long learning, developing positive study skills and preparation.

Let's hold our children accountable for their actions and emphasize to them that they must get the job done because it is their future that is in jeopardy when they do not do well on tests.

Read the article below and let me know what you think. One Love!

Georgia’s high schools soon will begin a major push to make students better prepared for college.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (November 1, 2010)
State leaders also are determining what college-readiness skills high school students must learn and how to assess this knowledge. If students haven't mastered the material, the goal is to give them extra lessons before they graduate so they won't need remedial courses in college.
These efforts from the Alliance of Education Agency Heads, which includes the Georgia Department of Education and the University System of Georgia, are designed to boost college graduation rates while decreasing the number of students who take remedial classes.
Less than 60 percent of the students enrolled in Georgia’s colleges will graduate within six years, according to the university system. About one in four freshmen took at least one remedial class last fall.
"We do have rigorous high school diploma requirements now, but kids have been playing catch-up and they are graduating with some issues on some level," said Martha Reichrath, deputy state school superintendent. "We have bounced around a lot of ideas and we're doing a lot of work so our students are ready to enter college without any remediation."
Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, said the K-12 community must take responsibility for some of the struggles students face in college. More than half of the high school graduates who receive the merit-based HOPE scholarship lose it after freshman year because they can't maintain high grades, said Ehrhart, who heads the General Assembly committee that oversees college budgets.
"College-level work is significantly harder than high school, but they're graduating students who are not prepared," he said.
Educators across the country are working on this issue.

Florida allows high schools to test students using the state's college-placement exams to determine where students are deficient academically. North Carolina is considering using ACT scores to determine if high school juniors are on track for college-level work, and if they're not the schools will develop programs to get them ready. Starting with next fall's high school freshman class, Texas will roll out end-of-course tests using college-readiness learning goals. Students who fail the exams will get extra help.
Georgia is developing an index of skills students should have to make sure they are ready for the workplace or college after graduation, Reichrath said.
The education alliance discussed giving students a test while in high school to measure their college-readiness skills. If they passed, they wouldn't need to take remedial classes in college. If they failed, they would spend part of their senior year working on the lessons, said Alan Jackson, interim vice president for academic affairs at Georgia Perimeter College, who is serving on one of the alliance's committees.
Georgia is also among 38 states that adopted the Common Core State Standards -- expectations for what students should learn and be able to do in every grade level and subject. The standards, which Georgia schools will begin using in fall 2012, are designed to make sure students graduate college-ready.
The state moved toward college-readiness standards when it adopted the Georgia Performance Standards, which have been phased in over the past six years. The university system helped develop those standards.
Because of those standards, the state's colleges should notice a better prepared freshman class in the next couple of years, said Virginia Michelich, associate vice chancellor for student achievement for Georgia's university system.
"This is not all the high schools’ fault and it is not all the colleges’ fault and it is not all the students' fault," Michelich said. "But the only way we will fix it is if we all work together."

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