A Flintshire gym owner is running a free anti-bullying class for children aged 10-16 this Sunday, 11 October.
The main message of the class is to teach children to “speak out” against bullying, such as telling the bully to stop or helping a friend if they are being bullied.
It will focus on what the gym owner, Ricky Nicholson, also teaches at the facility – martial arts.
Nicholson, who is a former World Professional Kickboxing champion and owner of both AF Fitness Flintshire and Nicholson Martial Arts Academy, created the class as a way to help out his local community.
He is a strong advocate for anti-bullying and thinks children should learn to protect themselves in any way possible if a situation such as bullying were to occur.
He said: “On Sunday, I will be teaching the group of children what we normally do within the academy.
“There are many positive things that come with this training along with the mind and body fitness aspect such as concentration and focus, confidence and control, stress reduction and most importantly – respect.
“As a parent myself, we do everything we can to protect our children from any harm and to try to provide them with a set of skills they need to become healthy, happy adults.
“Unfortunately, we can’t be there all of the time as they grow up so I feel strongly both as a coach and a parent that anything we can do to help prepare them for their earlier years is time very well spent.
“The children can expect an enjoyable class of exercise along with myself talking to them on the elements that will hopefully help prepare them in some small way to deal with some difficult situations in life.”
Schools across Flintshire such as Hawarden High, Elfed High, and Flint High all outline their approaches to anti-bullying through policy guidelines, all of which can each be found online respectively.
These approaches give a set of aims and objectives the schools look to in order to tackle bullying and cover physical and mental bullying including cyberbullying.
Giving these guidelines cover how staff at the schools should act to stop bullying, working with their pupils in order to overcome it effectively by communicating, Nicholson believes martial arts can also be an important “piece in the jigsaw” which accompanies these strategies.
More awareness concerning the reality of bullying and how to deal with it in the modern era is something which Nicholson says can “hopefully” help banish bullying “in any form whatsoever.”
“I do strongly believe that elements like martial arts classes can be a very important ‘piece of the jigsaw’ to try and help combat bullying in any form and I will continue to do whatever I can to help promote this as a small part of the solution,” Nicholson said.
Giving an example as to his own experiences, he continued: “I was bullied a lot in and out of school myself.
“My mum took me along to Taekwondo and I soon picked it up really quickly.
“All through my martial arts career, all the way up to becoming World Champion, I have never used my skills to intimidate or bully.
“Martial arts teaches the exact opposite – train so you can defend yourself if need be but absolutely do not abuse it.
“I teach this in all my classes and will not tolerate bullying in any shape or form.
“Bullies have no place in my gym.”
Nicholson also has advice to anyone being bullied.
He said: “My advice to anyone who is being bullied is to tell someone – your parents, friends, family members, teachers.
“There is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
“Please don’t suffer in silence.”
To avoid missing out on the limited spaces for the class, book now via the Mindbody app.
For more information regarding the class, contact Ricky Nicholson on his Facebook page here.
Read the anti-bullying policies for the schools mentioned such as Hawarden High by visiting the link here, Elfed High here and Flint High here.
By Jordan Adams
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