WKFA Instructor Anne Vandrus

Sifu Anne Vandrus

Youth Student’s Corner

In class we train our bodies a lot, but your best tool in self-defense is your brain – and being able to think of non-physical ways to get out of a bad situation. It’s best to avoid them altogether, but sometimes you can’t prevent it, which is often the case with bullying. In Kung Fu, we learn from the five animals (tiger, leopard, snake, crane, and dragon), and what they teach us can help not only in the kwoon, but at home or school too. Here are five lessons from the five animals to help you deal with bullying:

1. The tiger teaches us strength.

You don’t need big muscles to be strong – it takes mental strength and a lot of courage to stand up to a bully. You are not weak just because someone says you are. Being mean doesn’t make you strong. Real strength is what it takes to keep going to school every day even if you’re scared; it’s confiding in trusted friends or adults about what’s going on. Everyone can be strong; don’t ever let a bully convince you otherwise.

2. The leopard teaches us power.

Bullying is about who has the power in the situation, and bullies like putting you down to make themselves feel more powerful. Remember that your voice has power – so if someone is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, say something. Be confident and assertive; tell the bully “no”. Tell teachers, parents, friends, and anyone you trust. You have the power to do something, so speak up. Bullies aren’t as powerful when you have help.

3. The snake teaches us speed.

Snakes can be very still… but when they’re ready to strike, they waste no time. If you know a problem is recurring, be it physically or verbally, online or in-person, then it is time to act. Don’t wait for the bullying to get worse before you get help. Telling someone you’re being bullied doesn’t mean you’re a “tattle-tale”, it means you’re standing up for yourself in a responsible way.

4. The crane teaches us balance.

Try to balance out the bad with the good in your life. If someone tells you you’re worthless, keep reminding yourself that you matter. Remember to take good care of yourself (that means sleeping, eating, and keeping clean), keep doing your homework, keep practicing your Kung Fu, and always keep your head up.

5. The dragon teaches us to ride the wind.

If someone is picking on you – calling you names, physically harassing you, gossiping or treating you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe – that is the bully’s problem and the bully’s fault. You do not deserve it and you are not to blame. Most importantly, you are not alone. Try to move on from the negativity of whoever bullied you. Dragons don’t fight against the wind, they ride it. When life wants you to move on, go with it and head towards the positive, bright things waiting for you.