Ever wonder why whenever you read of a bullied youth who has died by suicide, the boy or girl was not accomplished in the martial arts?
Though there’s no magic pill that will automatically turn a bullied child away from the idea of attempting suicide, there IS a potent experience that can give a victim enough hope to want to stick around for a while longer.
For this article I consulted with Jarrett Arthur, one of the highest ranking female Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) black belt instructors in the U.S., who teaches children and adults self-defense.
Bullying, Suicide and Martial Arts
“What we typically see in bullied children who have taken their own life are victims who have reached the lowest level of hopelessness and helplessness,” says Arthur. “Oftentimes, those two states of being work hand-in-hand with powerlessness.”
Though dying by suicide is actually very rare in young people, the number of attempts is alarming.
Every year in the U.S., about two million attempts are made—by adolescents.
Nearly 700,000 require medical attention for the attempt. This information comes from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
To my knowledge, there’ve been no studies on the effect of martial arts training on the mind of the young bully victim who has been thinking about suicide.
This lack of research doesn’t mean that martial arts would not have a profoundly positive effect.
But why don’t you sit in on a martial arts class for teens and adolescents and see for yourself what it does for self-value, self-esteem and self-discipline?
Sit in on an advanced class, because these kids would have been in the arts long enough for it to have established a powerful effect on their minds.
Sometimes, just belonging to a judgment-free zone is enough to keep the bullied, depressed teen or adolescent from making an attempt at their life.
A high quality martial arts school will often provide a calendar of judgment-free social activities where everyone accepts everyone else, no matter what they look like or where they come from.
I once belonged to a school that had an assortment of activities: bowling nights, movie nights, pizza nights, etc.
Often, bullied kids who think about suicide come from dysfunctional families.
At school they suffer; at home they suffer. There is no escape. But the martial arts school can provide that escape.
Plus, training for tournaments ignites the goal-setting process. Who wants to take a lethal amount of sleeping pills or hang themselves when there’s a growing collection of tournament trophies in their bedroom?
I swear, kids LIVE for trophies! I have seen what being handed a big shiny trophy does to them.
And I’m not talking just about seven-year-olds; I’m also talking about tweens! You’d think they were handed a wad of $100 bills!
Even if the martial arts practitioner doesn’t think he or she will place in that big tournament, the experience alone will keep their spirit hopping!
Martial arts is based upon reaching for one goal after another, and major goals are divided into smaller, bite-sized goals. This will help detract the young mind of a bully victim from wanting to put an end to it all via suicide.
Jarrett Arthur is with Jarrett & Jennie Customized Self-Defense, which offers safety and self-defense services for employees and students.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.