Teaching martial arts as a way to combat bullying
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
The martial art aikido means harmony and energy.
Using these two qualities Sensei Derek Bindner, founder of London’s Aikido Network Training Centre, is hoping his Kid Power bully prevention program will teach children self-esteem, self-respect and self-control.
“We see the younger ages get frustrated and they don’t know what to do, so they fight,” Bindner said, studying the martial art for the last 25 years. “If you practice aikido and you perform it outside in the real world you shouldn’t get hurt and you shouldn’t hurt the aggressor. You should be able to solve it before it gets physical.”
In celebration of his dojo’s 15th anniversary, Bindner is having an open house where he’ll host a free bully proof seminar, but in honour of the 15-year celebration, the sensei is taking his program one step further.
To help bullied children across the city, Bindner is taking his Kid Power course to elementary schools and sponsoring 15 students by waiving the $120 fee for the eight-week class.
“I talk to the principal and they’re going to pick one kid that maybe can’t afford it or that really needs it,” he said. “It’s a lot about character development and internal strength, so showing the kids how to be strong inside and also what to say, what to do and how to say it before it even turns physical.”
The sensei knows firsthand about being bullied and said he only used to physical strength to prevent the problem.
“It comes from myself being bullied as a kid. I never had an answer. What I had to do to stop the bully was beat them up and I didn’t have the eternal strength at the beginning and that’s why I was bullied,” Bindner said. “We’re showing the kids they can walk confident.”
The kids also learn defensive techniques in the program, but instead of learning how to become the bully, the class teaches children how to defend themselves.
“It’s a way to learn how to protect yourself without hurting anyone else,” Bindner said. “We have a saying in aikido, ‘You give in to get your own way.’ So, in the physical world if someone goes to push you, instead of pushing back we pivot out of the way and we take their balance and take them to the ground.”
The 15-year anniversary open house for the Aikido Training Network takes place Saturday (Sept. 29) at 1615 North Routledge Park. The Kid Power seminar will be held from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. A martial arts demonstration will also be held at 11 a.m.
For more information about the Aikido Network Training Centre or the open house, visit www.aikidonetwork.com.
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