Thursday, May 19, 2016

Anti-Bullying... or rather... Conflict Management Skills for Kids & Adults

Team NeoFlow - a Parkour Demo team devoted to excellence, teamwork, and building respect for oneself, the environment, and the community.

I have been training in Martial Arts for over 15 years.  And no matter how much training I have, there is always be someone bigger, stronger, and more skilled at a fight than I am.  But one thing I have learned, is that using your self-defense skills, always starts with what you allow into your mind.  Sometimes we are unable to resolve conflict.  It takes multiple parties to resolve conflict, and you don't have the option of controlling other peoples choices.  But you can control your own.

Tactical communications has been used in a variety of law enforcement agencies in order to reduce risk and threat.  Verbal Judo is just one of several systems that are used to tactically communicate and potentially prevent conflicts from escalating out of control.  We don't want to have to use our fists if we don't have to.  Even if we are skilled, and physically powerful, engaging in combat runs us into high risks, and can often times lead to even greater threat.

Active Listening is another way to engage in diplomacy, as well as understand the intentions of others.  By learning how to actively listen, we become better communicators.

Socialization vs. Domination:

It is no secret to most that I home school my kids.  And it's nothing against public school actually.  I myself, thrived in public school and would have absolutely hated home school.  I had some of the most AMAZING teachers in public school, and I would not be who I am today had I not been trained and developed in the system.  So why did I choose home school?  To put it quite simply, it is a better fit for our family for the time being, and I believe I can set my children up for success more effectively if I home school.  We live in a rapidly changing world, and my kids personalities are so different than my own.  And each of them thrive in different environments.  I also wanted to be able to instill certain values in their early childhood education.  One of the confirmations I had while considering home school was during a parent teacher conference.  I had great respect for my child's 1st grade teacher.  And still do, to this day.  But she said something that struck a cord with me.  I mentioned that their seemed to be some conflict between my son and another boy, and I wanted to follow up and see how the situation was being managed.  She said matter of factly, "Oh they are just kids being kids, and they'll toughen up as they get older.  Once they hit middle school they'll learn pretty quick how to be tough."  It was at that moment I realized "socialization" was taught as, "domination", or having an attitude of "toughness".  My first thought was that we as a society don't need "tougher" kids.  We need more compassionate, critical thinkers, who have the ability to resolve conflict on their own.  So I set out on a quest to find some concepts that would aid me in my search for a more effective socialization system that would give my kids the tools they need to resolve and manage conflict in their lives, as well as my own.

After attending a multitude of coaching sessions and seminars, I came across a gold mine of wisdom from a Coach (Alonzo Cahoon - US Military Veteran, Mastery and Leadership Academy Graduate - Anthony Robbins Organization) who mentored me in a conflict that I was having.  He is working on a new book, that will be released later this year, so I'm pleased to be able to share some of his insight before his work hits the shelves.  I will be adding his online presence links within the next few months.  He taught me the the 3T method:

1) Teach
2) Tolerate
3) Terminate

He said in conflict, you narrow it down to 3 options.  You cannot control their actions, but you can control your own.  You can teach, and grow yourself and the individual; or you can tolerate the situation and individual; or you can terminate the situation and your relationship with the individual.
If the relationship has the capacity to grow via teaching, then that is the most ideal situation.  If that person is say, a family member, and they are unwilling or uncompromising to see your side, then tolerating may be the best option.  And then if the relationship proves to be extremely toxic and suppresses your ability to thrive and grow, then terminating the relationship is likely your best option.

Would Captain America and Batman get along?  Perhaps the next superhero movie will explore this question.

Either way, you are making a choice, on your own terms.  There is no confusion as to why or how you are handling the situation.  Coming to a place of certainty is empowering, and develops critical thinking skills.  We have to get away from being sucked into our own story.  Being in a "reactive" mode does not serve us.  The 3T method gives us the tools we need to step back from a situation objectively and assess the situation from both sides. Further more, the 3T method helps us create a situation that is ideal, while growing our own social intelligence skills.  And even so, the 3T method helps us to become social investigators, in that we won't take things at face value.  We pay close attention to language and the actions/reactions of the individuals that we conflict with.  By investigating the conflict more thoroughly and objectively, we empower ourselves AND the individual we have a conflict with.  Now wouldn't that be a great set of tools to leave to our kids?  Doesn't that seem far more effective than a vague and uncertain, "hopefully as they get older they'll have thicker, tougher skins".  Training out peoples emotions doesn't seem like a good plan.  We can train mental toughness and prowess through movement, sports, and by mastering a craft or a discipline.  It's far more effective to train toughness in a safe setting that isn't going to leave you with emotional scars and feelings of worthlessness.  Furthermore, training someone in a movement or mindfulness discipline instills feelings of self worth, and makes you much less of a target for perpetrators seeking conflict.

Parkour and Martial Arts can be used as a Platform to create a better world by understanding that our "Obstacles" can be viewed as "Opportunities".  We are not limited by what stands in front of us.  We can grow ourselves, our minds, and our bodies to be able to understand the walls and barriers around us.  By understanding our environment, we become better equipped to fly up and over the barriers, while also respecting the barrier's position.  We don't spend time and energy knocking down walls.  We build the tools necessary to fly over them. 

Coach Elle (Miss Elle) teaches Kung Fu at Free Flow Academy - empowering students to tap into their Warrior being. "Inside each of  us, is a Warrior, self-assigned to protect something of deep and personal value." - Miss Elle

Coach Colton, Miss Elle, and ShiFu Lon Beyer are the creators of "Survival Science" a self defense program taught at Free Flow Academy.  They teach regular clinics, workshops, seminars, as well as speak at assemblies and special events.  Their program is the first of it's kind to incorporate fundamentals of Martial Arts AND Parkour into their self defense curriculum.
ShiFu Lon and Miss Elle create entertaining curriculum that
elevate interest and passion for movement and artistry.
Incorporating Parkour into self-defense and conflict management curriculum are  empowering, entertaining and develop mental prowess.

ShiFu Lon Beyer teaches Ninjitsu and Kung Fu classes at Free Flow Academy

ShiFu Lon Beyer, Coach Colton, Miss Elle taking some time to pose for the camera at the State Capitol while conducting field testing research for their Survival Science program.  During field testing they conducted interviews, training sessions, and tested out some tactical techniques in a variety of controlled settings.

Click here to sign up for Self Defense Clinics, Summer Camps, and Classes 

Additional links/resources:

Verbal Judo
Anthony Robbins Research Organization
Active Listening

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