Every month in the United States, three million children miss school due to fear of bullies. In the Gracie Bullyproof program, our goal is to instill in your child unshakable confidence so they can overcome bullies without violence. Due to the non-violent nature of the techniques, CNN, NBC, and Oprah have featured the Gracie Bullyproof program as one of the few effective counter-measures to bullying for children between the ages of 5 and 13.
To read a touching story about how the Gracie Bullyproof program saved a 12-year-old boy after only one week of training, click here.
We will teach your child to use verbal assertiveness to deter bullies and several non-violent self-defense techniques to stay safe if physically assaulted. Importantly, we don’t teach how to punch or kick, since this often does more harm than good. Instead, we use leverage-based control holds to neutralize threats without violence. Numerous school districts have embraced the defensive nature of the Gracie Bullyproof techniques as a reasonable, nonviolent response to bullying and some even host Gracie Bullyproof classes on campus! The bottom line is: we will prepare your child to defend themselves against bullies without turning them into one.
If you’re interested in instilling your child with unshakable confidence while reinforcing positive values and good character, the Gracie Bullyproof program is for you! Scroll down to learn more about this groundbreaking youth empowerment program .
Studies suggest that bullying may be the leading cause of low self-esteem in children, and according to some surveys, less than 15% of kids actually report acts of bullying. Children's inability to stand up to a bully is rooted in profound fear for their personal safety. Ironically, the victims know that they must confront the bully and would like nothing more than to stand up to them. But, they simply can't follow through for fear of the physical harm that backs the bully's every action. And, therein lies the challenge – how do you instill in a victim of bullying the confidence to face the tormentor, look them in the eye, and back them down? The answer is simple – teach the victims to defend themselves against physical attack, and the rest will follow.
Most martial arts programs rely on striking the attacker with violent punches, kicks, knees, and elbows, but in the Gracie Bullyproof program we take a different approach. All the techniques are purely defensive and utilize no strikes. Furthermore, we teach children how to defuse confrontations with words and never to initiate physical aggression. If attacked, we offer techniques to non-violently neutralize the threat and gain control until help arrives. In the Gracie Bullyproof program, we teach the children how to fight fire with water so that you never have to worry about your child becoming a bully under our guidance.
The Gracie Bullyproof program prepares your child using a three-pronged approach:
Increased Awareness: Harassment comes in many forms. Sometimes, a victim doesn’t take a stand because they can’t differentiate between “joking” and “bullying.” We teach your child to differentiate between harmless play and harmful harassment so they know precisely when and how to act in each circumstance.
Unshakable Confidence: A confident child is a Bullyproof child. Bullies seek “easy targets” – those who will tolerate their abuse. We arm your child with the tools needed to overcome physical, verbal, and psychological harassment, so they are so confident in themselves that no bully will try to harass them.
Total Responsibility: We prepare your child to deal with bullies without turning them into one. We emphasize discipline, responsibility, and respect throughout the course, and teach five “Rules of Engagement” to ensure they never abuse their power.
Sometimes, a child will not confront a bully even when armed with the Gracie Bullyproof self-defense techniques. Fear of punishment from school administrators and from parents can override fear of a bully. The Rules of Engagement provide your child with a step-by-step plan for dealing with a bully.
Rule 1: Avoid the fight at all costs.
Rule 2: If physically attacked, defend yourself.
Rule 3: If verbally attacked, follow the Three T-steps (talk, tell, tackle).
Rule 4: Never punch or kick the bully, establish control and negotiate.
Rule 5: When applying submissions use minimal force and negotiate.
We discuss the Rules of Engagement in every Gracie Bullyproof class. We encourage you to discuss the rules at home to assure your child that they have your support.
To see the Gracie Bullyproof Rules of Engagement featured on the morning news, click here.
In the Gracie Bullyproof program, our top priority is having kids leave every class with smiles on their faces. Most jiu-jitsu schools don’t teach children. Others attempt to teach them as if they were adults, often leaving them confused, frustrated, and ultimately causing the child to quit. The Gracie Bullyproof program’s success hinges on our ability to teach essential self-defense skills using fun and exciting “jiu-jitsu games.” To ensure that all children get the perfect balance of technique, fun, challenge, and excitement, we divide the Gracie Bullyproof program into three sub-categories:
Little Champs (5-7 Years Old)
The Little Champs program is for kids 5-7 years old (we offer private lessons for children ages 3-4). Using our time-tested “Gracie Games,” we teach the Little Champs basic self-defense techniques while instilling the foundational principles of leverage and control. The secret to the success of this program is that we make the lessons so fun that the kids beg for more! Once a child masters all ten Gracie Games, they advance to the Jr. Grapplers program.
Jr. Grapplers (8-13 Years Old)
In the Jr. Grapplers program, we focus on 33 non-violent self-defense techniques that teach children to “neutralize and negotiate” with the bullies. Verbal assertiveness strategies are a major portion of this curriculum. A child needs absolutely no experience to start, and we guarantee a noticeable increase in your child’s confidence within a few weeks!
Black Belt Club (Invitation Only)
We invite children who excel in the Jr. Grapplers program to join the Black Belt Club. This is our most advanced youth jiu-jitsu program and joining the Black Belt Club is the highest honor for any youth Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Kids in this program possess all the traits necessary for success on the path to black belt: discipline, respect, courage, leadership, loyalty, and compassion.
We have found that our instructors develop powerful bonds with every student at the Academy, but especially with our youth practitioners. We leverage this connection to help you develop your child’s character for success in all aspects of life. The Gracie Character Development Program consists of six chapters: Responsibility, Health, Respect, Citizenship, Manners, and Caring. We spend two months on each chapter. In every class, we discuss the featured character trait for 10-15 minutes, emphasizing the simple things your child can do to make it a part of their life. The secret to success lies in our use of a unique point-based reward system that we tie to attendance at Gracie Game Day, a special two-hour party where they get to play tons of games with all the instructors and kids. Only kids who score enough points during the two-month period qualify to attend Gracie Game Day, so it’s a powerful incentive for kids and a useful tool for parents to develop positive behavior at home and school. Gracie Game Day is so much fun that parents will often put on a uniform just so they can join the party!