Georges St. Pierre, Two-time and reigning Welterweight Champion of the World – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Victim of childhood bullying tells his story.Being bullied when I was a little kid played a huge role in who I am today. It made me. Here below is part of my story, written by a friend of mine:
“Alone, the skinny kid walked to school as he always had. The same houses, along the same street, seeing the same trees, ditches and neighbors he’d always known in St-Isidore, a town of 2,200 people smack in the middle of nowhere.
The problem was that he couldn’t stop himself from repeatedly licking his dry lips. Round and round, over and over again, until his raw skin pealed into a red outline framing his mouth. A diminutive clown, every single day of school. They could see him coming, he said, “because I was so ugly. I was easy pickings.”
Before he could reach for the school’s front door, a group of 12-year-olds – held back three school years because of serious behavioral problems – would pounce on and strip him. Strip him of his pants, of his lunch money, and of his dignity before a laughing chorus of boys and girls. Everybody pointing fingers except for the shadows of his few true friends – other nerds, other rejects in hiding. The helpless.
Georges St-Pierre was nine years old…”
Kids participating in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu learn how to set goals, the knowledge necessary, and to do the work needed to achieve them. BJJ is a structured program with belts and patches acknowledging personal achievement. Belts display both effort, time, and experience in training. For kids under 15 years of age the belts are white, yellow, orange, and green. Each belt has tested requirements (skills/knowledge) in order to be promoted to the next belt level. Kids become aware of the requirements and are encouraged to set goals, and work toward their achievement.
Participating in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will improve the overall fitness level of kids who attend class regularly. Kids engage in a series of conditioning, stretching and strength exercises as part of their regular training. The program is designed to be progressive so each student progresses at their own speed. Consistent training produces better muscle tone, strength, and flexibility. Benefits derived from training include a lower percentage of body fat, increased energy, and enthusiasm for physical activity.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu contains a progressive series of movements that improves the coordination of participants. Training in BJJ requires learning grappling techniques and putting them together in a string of movement. This combination develops both specific and sequential improvement in the coordination of the body. Through repetition kids practice single movements as well as combinations, subsequently enhancing coordination through the development of mental pathways and muscle memory.
Training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu improves the confidence of kids that will carry over into all venues of their lives. Through a series of challenges kids learn how to approach new situations and successfully navigate them. Challenges are progressive, and graduated, becoming more challenging at each step of the program. This format produces a foundation of self-trust and a willingness to approach challenges. The success which develops produces the confidence needed to achieve more challenging goals in the future as well.
Kids develop enhanced self-esteem as a outcome of consistent training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The success that kids experience as part of their training builds a self-respect that translates into self-esteem. They learn to trust, respect, and like themselves for who they are. The self-esteem they develop is strong and durable because it is based on achievement. Enhanced self-esteem will impact positively on how they relate to others, authority, and themselves. One of the most consistent improvement for kids training in BJJ is the development of positive self-esteem.
Although most students of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu do it for the sport, kids learn valuable self-defense skills as well. Kids training in BJJ not only learn how to defend themselves in various situations, but develop the confidence that helps them to avoid many of the bully traps. Kids trained in the grappling arts learn how to avoid, evade, and escape from many physical confrontations so common to the young. Self-defense is only one of the many benefits of BJJ, but it is a valuable benefit for kids none the less.