Martial Arts And Anti-Bullying Program At Community Day School In Squirrel HillWe are four weeks into teaching basic martial arts and anti-bully methods at Community Day School, Pittsburgh’s only inclusive and pluralistic Jewish day school, located in Squirrel Hill. After several introductions and meetings with both administrators and support staff, CDS decided to implement a martial arts program as part of the Physical Education requirement in the Middle School for students of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. The aim of this project is to teach effective methods to deflect bullying while building self-confidence through knowledge of basic self defense.
The martial arts concepts being taught at Community Day School are derived from Zach Whitson’s Counterpoint Tactical System, also known as CTS. CTS at the youth level provides the perfect blend of self defense training for children which includes four main areas; empty-hand basics; falling and rolling basics, grappling basics, and stick conditioning. The curriculum is fun and effective in teaching young students to be respectful of others and capable of protecting themselves from unwanted aggression. As for the anti-bully concepts being taught, they’re derived from Dr. George Thompson’s Verbal Defense and Influence, of which I represent here in Pittsburgh through the Pittsburgh Bully Expert Program based at Ryer Martial Arts Academy. This anti-bullying program is being used all over the world to empower children to bully-proof themselves.
Looking back on the last four weeks, we have made really good progress exposing students to basic footwork, falls, and ground mechanics as well as the three essential “ingredients” for anti-bullying. The three “ingredients” I have taught are the Art of Representation (who and what do you represent), Mushin (having a calm, cool mind), and Anger Guards (recognizing your weaknesses and building strength around them). Much like physical self defense training, before students can learn different techniques they must possess certain qualities like awareness, control, and a certain level of fitness. The same idea is applied to our anti-bully methodology in that before students can learn how to deflect bulling, they need to possess qualities like good behavior, a calm mind, and they must recognize what triggers their anger.
This week will mark a new turn in our training as we begin teaching verbal deflectors or “Word Blocks” to the students alongside an introduction to basic stick conditioning. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.