Building Confident Kids with Martial Arts

21 Jul 2016


Many of us will have experienced the bully at some point in our lives and sadly the bully doesn’t just remain in the school yard but can appear later in adult life too. So teaching our children how to cope both physically and mentally with this kind of threat is a valuable life skill to master.

Contrary to popular opinion, the martial arts have never been about physical attack. They’re about physical defence and mental tolerance and strength. These skills can help empower an individual and take away their fear of the bully by building confidence in their ability to take a composed and measured approach to the situation, learning how to defend themselves if necessary and changing their perspective by concentrating on what they can control opposed to what they can’t.

Bullying is not a one off occurrence and its relentless aggressive behaviour can range from the physical by pushing, kicking, punching, stealing, hiding or ruining someone’s things; the verbal by teasing, taunting, threatening, insulting and name calling or the psychological by excluding from activities or groups, spreading lies, refusing to talk to someone, smoke screening to disguising real intentions, humiliating someone and making them do something they don’t want to. Nowadays cyber bullying has become increasingly prevalent and particularly stressful for individuals as it follows them into their own homes and easily encourages a mob mentality. In our martial arts classes at Storm Gym all students walk away from their electronic devices into a safe environment where we operate zero tolerance of bullying.

In martial arts we teach individuals to adhere by specific codes of practise when dealing with bullies.

Walk away from the bully. Bullies want to know they have control over your emotions so don’t react with anger or retaliate with physical force. Be assertive say you’re not interested in what they have to say. Dismiss them, walk away and ignore them. Show them you’re in control with verbal confidence and demeanor.

Protect yourself. If you’re attacked first and can’t walk away, retaliate by learning self defence.

Report to a trusted adult. They don’t have to let the bully know it was you who reported them. Seek someone who can help and support you.

Repeat as necessary. If the bully is relentless you must be too by reporting every incident until it stops.

Bullying can leave a child feeling frightened of not knowing when the bully might strike again, angry, depressed, anxious, manipulated, isolated, helpless, undermined, with low self-esteem and even ashamed that somehow the bullying was their fault. These are all feelings which can greatly impact on the way they cope with and conduct their lives.

At Storm we aim to counteract these feelings by helping each student to:-

  • Build physical strength and confidence.
  • Build mental strength and confidence.
  • Learn self-control.
  • Understand and believe in their own worth.
  • Manage their anger.
  • Demonstrate respect and empathy for others.
  • Be proud of who they are and what they can achieve.


Amir Subasic, a director and our chief instructor at Storm Gym is a highly trained martial artist with over 20 years experience of teaching a range of martial arts disciplines to both adults and children. During this time he has met many people of mixed ages, backgrounds and cultures who have come to train and overcome their experiences of being bullied. Recently I took a moment to ask Amir what he has noticed in these instances, particularly with the kids and what changes he has seen it has made to their lives and relationships with others.

“It’s all about instilling confidence and accepting them as they are. Making them realise they are normal and nothing is wrong with them. It takes patience and respect. I call it therapy.”

“Over time I see a positive change in their confidence and outlook on life. I hear reports of better behaviour both at school and at home and they start to excel and achieve in other activities too.”

“We’ve also had one child who was commemorated and rewarded by his school for standing up to bullying by verbally stepping in and assisting another child who was being bullied in the playground. He said he knew he could defend himself and the child being bullied if he had to. This confidence in his abilities was derived from years of training in martial arts and his approach and actions allowed a teacher to be alerted before it became physical.” 

Come and join us. Make the change and try your first class for free.

Storm Gym, Luton