Martial artists dispute mom


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Winnipeg martial arts instructors are condemning a mother's decision to enrol her son in kick-boxing classes and giving him permission to retaliate against his bullies.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/08/2009 (5024 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg martial arts instructors are condemning a mother’s decision to enrol her son in kick-boxing classes and giving him permission to retaliate against his bullies.

The mother, who asked not to be named, gave her son the green light to "kick the snot out of" his alleged tormentor when school starts next month.

But that vision of what self-defence actually entails has self-defence experts in the city cringing..

RUTH.BONNEVILLE@FREEPRESS.MB.CA A police officer observes as children learn defensive techniques at Iron Fist Tae Kwon Do studio.

"Martial arts is not about kicking and punching," said Sonny Pabuaya, instructor at Iron Fist Tae Kwon Do. "That’s a misconception people have because that’s what they see in the movies."

The mother’s decision has another instructor shaking his head.

"Violence only invokes more violence," said Diego Beltran. "I’m in total disagreement with the lady."

Beltran runs the Guardian Dojo-Kyokushin Karate Canada Inc. in Winnipeg. He and Pabuaya both stressed that self-defence preaches mental discipline before physical training. Both emphasize verbal interaction to avoid heated confrontations.

"I teach my kids respect, discipline and courtesy and work on those three," Beltran said. "Kicking and punching your way out is not necessarily the way to go. Foundations on respect of discipline and courtesy will teach you that."

Pabuaya said he teaches his students through a variety of scenarios.

"I always teach, first of all, how to talk their way out of it," he said. "They learn to have confidence in themselves, because most of the time, bullies start to bully kids who have a lack of confidence.

"We’re more about teaching kids more respect, more discipline, and at the same time, teach them goals to achieve in life and to finish what they started," Pabuaya said.

The mother said a bully has been tormenting her son for years. Both boys are in their early teens, and have attended the same school in Louis Riel School Division.

"It’s about time he took a stand and stood up for himself," she said in an interview with the Free Press. "He has my full permission to kick the snot out of (the other boy) if he comes up to him."

Pabuaya said he could relate to the situation, adding he was bullied because of his Asian heritage in elementary school.

"Being different, you become a target," he said.

"Attackers, like bullies, are looking for easy victims. You have to show confidence to not be targeted."

Beltran believes kick-boxing will be of no use to the woman’s son.

"Kick-boxing will not provide self-defence," he said. "Anybody can learn to punch or kick, but it can’t teach you how to defend yourself.

"If there is no contact in martial arts, how can you prepare someone for contact? Bullies are not stopping their punches," he said.

He cautioned the woman to do her research before turning her son into a bully himself.

Pabuaya downplayed physical altercation — unless it becomes a last resort. Even then, he doesn’t teach his students to pummel their attackers to a pulp.

"I teach them to control the situation rather than just beating on kids — just enough force to get out of or control the situation," Pabuaya said.

Pabuaya said he offers free safety and protection seminars for kids twice a year with the Winnipeg Police Service.

"In the long run, we’re all educators, so it’s very important to educate kids about safety," he said.

"No matter how much we teach our kids, they have to make choices themselves.

"We need to guide them and share our experiences to help them make the right decisions."

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