Friday, November 12, 2010

Gracie Jujitsu for kids, and the Gracie Bullyproof DVDs (Review)


(also on bigWOWO)

I saw this article in the Christian Science Monitor about a woman whose child was bullied. She responded by taking her child to learn Gracie Jujitsu, where they have a program called Bullyproof. She took her son to the park after he learned GJJ, and what followed was some scary behavior on her son's part, which this woman not only condones but praises! While I appreciate everything that the Gracies have done for Mixed Martial Arts (my favorite spectator sport by far) and martial arts in general, I'm not in agreement with how they teach children to verbally deal with bullies. See here:
I heard the kids calling Quin names. I heard Quin give the programmed Bullyproof responses: "Don't call me that. I don't want to have to fight, but if you are challenging me to a fight I am not afraid of you. Can't we just stop this?" To which the bold one responded, "Well, I do want to fight!"

I jumped to my feet, but nothing happened. Quinny called to me, "He said he wants to fight, but he isn't, so yea!" That's when the other kid took a run at Quin and swung a haymaker punch right at my baby's face.
As you can see, this woman's "baby" Quinny started the fight by throwing down a physical challenge. He wasn't bullyPROOF, he was the bully! If you take into account parental bias on the part of the author (and we know it's there...kids do not act the way she portrayed them, and Judge Judy would call B.S. on this woman's testimony), it's even scarier. I won't call this woman a liar, but if you've been around kids, they don't talk/act this way. "I do want to fight?" Please. I don't think so.

I myself bought the Gracie Bullyproof DVD program for my kids. I checked out their videos, and they are great in terms of the games, exercises, etc. But I don't subscribe to their method of teaching kids to verbally deal with bullies. They teach kids to say exactly what little Quin said: "If you're challenging me to a fight, I'll fight you." I won't say it's wrong, but it seems to me that we should be teaching kids to not fight rather than to try to become popular by fighting and acting like Cesar Gracie thugs.

Kids really should be trying harder to avoid fighting and to engage each other on a higher level. Kids should know how to defend themselves, but physical defense should be a last resort, not a way for kids to solve problems. Surely there must be a way to teach kids to deal with bullies, a method that teaches a greater respect for authority, one which even makes the bully a better person. There ought to be a more intelligent response. "Do you want to fight?" just doesn't seem a civilized or intelligent challenge to throw down in this day and age.

How would you teach your child to deal with bullies?

As for the Gracie Bullyproof product review, I recommend it. I'm happy I made the purchase. The parent teaching DVD is the best method I've seen for teaching kids physical activity, especially the part about teaching kids how to fix mistakes, and it is applicable to other forms of physical activity as well. Ryron and Rener have put together a very good program. It's a lot of fun when you do the activities with your son and daughter.

However, as mentioned, even though I think it's a great program, it doesn't achieve the main selling point--how to effectively deal with bullies. Nor will this program alone teach effective self-defense--I don't think kids can get good at jujitsu or judo without actually fighting people of their own size; a real class would be better in this respect. Little Quinny goes to a real class, which is why he was able to get in a position to choke out those boys he was bullying (I'm still horrified by the fact that this woman admits her son tried to do a move as dangerous as a choke on another child). Man, that Gracie-trained little bully is scary; I'm sure glad he doesn't live in Portland. He'd be pulling that "McFly, your shoe's untied!" trick before breaking kids' arms with kimuras or choking kids unconscious.

I think this program is good for the physical workout and fun. You'll have lots of fun doing it. Your kids will develop good body movement by doing the exercises. The Gracies know how to train people, and the technique is sound. The two instructors, Ryron and Rener, work very well with kids. I like this product, but I'd recommend that one carefully supervise and make corrections as appropriate--don't rely on it to teach your kids verbal defense. Teach your kids your own bully verbal defense that might make them better people who are both bullyproof and ready to engage the world.

5 comments:

Stan pold said...

Yep, that is what I was looking for .. I was wondering is there any products out there, which could help with bulling problem, it is very serious and untapped problem

Anonymous said...

I admit I have not seen this DVD collection because my son actually attends the Gracie Academy in Torrance, CA.

From my observations, I have not seen Rener or Reron tell the kids to say that what the reviewer has said in this article. What I've seen is this: For the youngers kids (under 7) they actually teach them to get a teacher involved if they are getting bullied. As for the older group (8 - 14), the approach is different, but I have not heard them the kids to say, "I'll challenge you." I could be wrong, though, but I have yet to hear them say that.

IMO, anytime a person bullies another one, they get what they deserve. And, yes, even it means they get choked, then so be it. Maybe they'll learn that bullying can have severe consequences to the aggressor, too.

RS Money said...

As for the Gracie Bullyproof product review, I recommend it. I'm happy I made the purchase. The parent teaching DVD is the best method I've seen for teaching kids physical activity

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Anonymous said...

I have the series. The example given(in this review) I think is the exception rather than the rule. Most kids (not all) that learn some form of martial art, rarely start fights and rarely become involved in fights. It all comes down to the culture of the Dojo, and most importantly, the culture within the family setting.

Take the name of this blog for instance. The name "rice daddies" can be seen as cute, or derogatory. It all comes down to culture, personality, and most importantly - interpretation. What Rener has said in the DVD series definitely does not reflect on what was exercised by the child in the example. BUT the child or child's parent may of misinterpreted some of the teachings.

The emphasis is to negate bullying through communication. And remember, communication isn't what's heard or spoken, it's what's understood.