Courtesy of csmonitor.com

Courtesy of csmonitor.com

By Jessie Castellanos, Co-Editor

“In the Gracie Bullyproof program, the philosophy is simple, give children the tools of physical self defense so they are very confident that if a fight were to happen, they are able to defend themselves, making them sure they are going to be okay.” Rener Gracie.

Unfortunately, bullying is a terrifying crisis in today’s society. Every month, 3 million children miss school due to fear of bullies and 28 percent of students grades 6-12 are bullied annually according to a report on stopbullying.org. With 70 percent of students and teachers admitting to have seen some form of bullying, it is safe to say most of us have been around bullying. Bullies bully people they feel they can take advantage of and are stronger than. But bullying is a totally avoidable situation, if you can physically and verbally defend yourself confidently, you have all the power to stop bullying; and thats what this program is all about.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu which is used in the program is known as the gentle art. Not because it’s not a physical discipline, it is very physical but because its main purpose is to neutralize and control an opponent. BJJ is a form of grappling and the most important thing is getting your opponent to the ground, bring them into your territory putting them in a position where threat is eliminated. The beauty of this is that there is no kicking or punching involved. To many things can happen when throwing punches and kicking and its not worth the harm caused. But jiu-jitsu allows you not only to best the person you’re fighting but allows you to talk to them, negotiate terms to end the fighting without anyone getting hurt. That is something beautiful within itself because it teaches kids and people that violence is not the answer. Like Rener would say, fight fire with water.

Through physical ability this program teaches kids how to physically defend themselves and be confident when faced with a bully. Giving this kids the certainty that they will not get hurt and the ability not to as well. Then they teach the kids “verbal Jiu-Jitsu”,which teaches how to defuse a situation with words and verbal confidence so that kids don’t even have the need to fight. How better is it to know how to defend yourself and be able to completely avoid an altercation? You reduce the threat of bullying to zero. They also teach kids to make friends with the bully, which can be an important step in ending the epidemic.

Also it is important to be able to deal with a situation in the real world. Rener and Ryron Gracie released two videos on their Gracie Breakdown channel where two kids died from being choked out. In one of the videos cousins were choking each other and one of them held the other one too long without noticing, by the time the girlfriend intervenes the kid was way past blue and died. In the other video, one kid got into a brawl, without knowing how to defend himself, was beaten down and put into a headlock for way past a minute. The kid passed out within 6 seconds and the other kid held s hold for at least for a minute (the video ends while still choking the other kid), and he died as well. In both of these situations, if they knew jiu-jitsu and how to deal with these moves, they would be able to escape and subdue the other person. This is a very saddening situation that could have been totally avoided.

Another shocking statistic is the statistic of rape for women. One in five women in America have been raped in their lifetime. In other words, 22 million women have been raped at some point or another during their lifetime (Whitehouse.gov). Thats a scary, very real statistic where there is a 20 percent probability that this can happen to any woman. Which is why programs like the Women Empowerment program are so important and should be taken by everyone.

During the 10 lesson program, you will be taught the 15 most important common attacks ranging from having your hair grabbed to being pinned to the ground by a weapon-bearing assailant. Most self defense programs rely on strength, speed, and coordination. Men have a 10 percent faster reaction speed than women and when faced with a much larger attacker, which many times is the case, this won’t be beneficial. Jiu-Jitsu though was made to deal with much larger opponents. Helio Gracie one of the founders was 155 pounds and would accept challenges from giants twice his size besting most of them. BJJ employs more leverage, technique, and timing, which is way more reliable and can be used regardless of age or athletic ability. After you have mastered you will receive your pink belt signifying you have mastered the course.

It can not be stressed enough how important it is to be able to defend yourself. You don’t know what can happen. One day a new knockout game can happen and you can find your self laid out unconscious, seriously injured or in some cases dead. Please seek out some guidance, it does not have to be these particular programs as long as you do learn how to defend yourself thats all we can ever ask for. For more information regarding these two visit gracieacademy.com.