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Jessica OrbonAug 25, 2017, 8:37 am

Back to school: How to keep the bullies at bay

Kung Fu master says it’s imperative to give kids simple tools to help them be more confident

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For some students in the new school year, it's not homework or team tryouts that they're worried about — it's facing bullies.

How parents, students and schools react to bullying has changed over the years. With the number of reported incidents on the rise, prevention is key.

Karl Romain is an author, Kung Fu master and expert on how to prevent bullying at any age. But for children, he says that it all starts from inside.

“Kids who have low self-esteem don't make eye contact and they don't have a nice loud strong voice and they come in here and they're shy and they're awkward and uncomfortable and we start to teach them how to stand tall, how to speak up,” Romain says.

“We teach them how to look somebody in the eye and naturally things start to change and we've seen a lot of kids overcome bullying without even having to fight, just by learning some simple tools that will help them be more confident," he adds.

Romain owns Edgewater Kung Fu — a studio that welcomes people from all walks of life to learn martial arts and the life skills that come along with it.

Rachel and Robert Cajucom have been coming to Edgewater Kung Fu for 10 years. The young black belts even starred in one of Romain's books.

Rachel credits the confidence she learned on the mat at such a young age with keeping the bullies away at school.

Romain says Kung Fu is a good way to stop bullies if they pick a fight, but it's most important to teach children to use their inner strength that will allow them to stop the teasing before it starts.

"Most bullies don't really want a problem — they're looking for people they can intimidate, so you need to remember that as a parent when you're working with your children, if you can teach them how to be confident, if you can teach them how to stand tall and communicate and really use their voice, they're going to be a lot more successful," he stresses.

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