65 – How To Stop Bullying In Schools With Martial Arts - Terrence Fernandez - Martial Arts Marketing For Martial Arts Business

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65 – How To Stop Bullying In Schools With Martial Arts – Terrence Fernandez

The fight against bullying is an ongoing topic in the martial arts community. Terrence Fernandez shares how martial arts helped him go from a bullying victim to Commonwealth Championships and successfully running 6 martial arts schools.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How martial arts can help kids deal with bullying.
  • The anti-bullying efforts in martial arts schools.
  • The psychological and societal effects of bullying.
  • Martial arts vs. team sports.
  • The skills that martial arts teach you.
  • And more.

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

I've been pushed around and grabbed before, but I never did anything. This was the first time I stopped and fought back. So it got to the point where I was in front of the canteen and I got put against the wall and exchanges happened and I don't know any boxing, so pretty much got bashed a bit first. And then I responded with a roundhouse kick to the head. And after that, the fight stopped. The person I was fighting, after the roundhouse kick to the head, stopped. And it was just a big shock, it was a shock to everyone around me, but more importantly, it was a shock to me. It was a shock to me that I finally overcame that choking feeling.

GEORGE: Good day, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. So I have a guest with me today, Terrence Fernandez and I was at The Main Event in Sydney, just a couple of weeks back and we sparked this conversation about the topic of bullying. And something I really wanted to speak to Terrence about, something he’s really passionate about, something he went through as a child, but then there's also things that I don't want to neglect, as a Martial Arts Media business podcast, that he's got six locations, just opened his first location internationally and opening another three next year.

So there's lots of value to this share on the business side, but we’re probably going to start more and talk about the bullying aspect, a topic that's always hot within the martial arts community. And, yeah, as always, we’re going to see where this conversation goes. So welcome to the show, Terrence.

TERRENCE: Yeah, thank you, thank you for having me.

GEORGE: Alright, awesome. So as always, let's just start from the beginning; a bit of background from you, who is Terrence?

TERRENCE: Yeah, I'm from Sydney Australia, and the sport that I do is Taekwondo. And my club is called Martial Arts Spirit, but basically, I was your average martial arts student, I was just trying to find a place to belong. And you know I tried that through group sports, like soccer and basketball and things like that, before I got enrolled into Taekwondo. And I didn’t quite find it in group sports I think, with group sports, there's a bit of pressure involved, and you're expected to perform, to achieve the goal of the team, whether it’s winning a match, or whatnot, winning the season.

And because I already lacked in confidence and I wasn’t really good at any skills or coordination, being put into that team environment, I felt like I was letting the team down. And through that, I experienced some bullying in the team as well. Remember, I was playing for a soccer team, and I didn't know anything about soccer. Don't know the rules, my family doesn't’ know anything about soccer, soccer was just running around a field, kicking a ball. And you know, I think I was probably about 7 or 8 and I still remember the Saturday game, when I was constantly offside and not knowing the rules.

The team were getting really angry with me, and their parents, the parents on the sidelines, were getting really frustrated with me, because I didn't’ know what I was doing and I started getting names. I was the only Asian person on the team. And it got to the point where I’d come to training and just really be outcasted and isolated and I used to get spat on by my own team. As a kid, it's quite a lot to deal with, especially when the first reason of trying to do a sport is to actually find a place to belong. So after that, I just got scarred from team sports and that's when my parents enrolled me into martial arts.

GEORGE: And how old were you when this was happening Terrence?

TERRENCE: About 6 years old, and I got enrolled into martial arts when I was about 7. Yeah, so I think something very, very important that everyone needs to be aware of is, bullying, it doesn’t really matter how small or how big the scale is, the end of it, you know, psychologically, can impact long term. So you know, there are quite a few things that I remember as a kid in primary school and in high school, that I think about constantly.

And even though I'm a completely different person, there are still memories and I still remember the feeling of what it felt like to be in those scenarios. And that's why we’re here today, because there are so many people, so many kids, and so many people in the workforce. Bullying is just a massive thing that isn't slowing down. And I think it’s really important that we get the message out there, as to how to deal with these situations.

GEORGE: For sure, it's kind of counterintuitive right? Because, when you think about it, a team sport is there to build that team camaraderie and unity and everything. But then obviously, there's going to be a point where not everybody is going to be at that unit. So where it’s super beneficial for people that are in the crowd and trying to do that, but I mean, what do you do when that's not your personality perhaps? Or that's not your skillset? So you tried, you might have kids, and especially in a school environment, you’ve got kids that are maybe super passionate about the sport and trying it and here you re, and you're trying to trick your way into this group. And you’ve got this thing, I want to be as cool as them, but then you just get shut out.

TERRENCE: And I think that's the beautiful thing about martial arts as a sport – not being biased at all. But with team sports, you automatically get put into that competition side of the sport, where you're preparing for a competition, the outcome of the competition is to have fun – yes, it is to have fun, but the end result of that competition is to win the game. The point of, say for example, soccer, is to score more goals than the other team. That's the goal and that's what you're trying to achieve as a team, right?

With martial arts, the beautiful thing about martial arts is, there are so many different avenues. For example, Taekwondo – you can come in as a white belt and… you’re… why I related so well to martial arts was, it’s an individual sport, so I can focus on my own pace, building up the skills needed to achieve the next level. I can go at my own pace and I'm not expected to be going as fast as everyone else. All right? You still get the support of a team, which is your club, you build up the social skills, you have support from your other belts at a beginner level, you do it together and the support of your instructor, and as we all know, a martial arts instructor is completely different to a volunteer coach in a sports team, you know?

Martial arts instructor goes well beyond their service of just teaching a kid how to punch or kick. They're a role model, they help them build up that confidence to get through life, you know? And that’s our role as instructors, not just teach martial arts, but to help shape them into a good leader in society. So with martial arts, with Taekwondo, you’ve got that option to just do the traditional side, where you can go at your own pace and focus on building yourself up. And then, if you are that competitive person, like you have in basketball or soccer, where they want to take that next step, all martial arts offer that.

They have their traditional side and they have their sports side, where you go into competitions, whether it’s pattern, or sparring, or XMA – you’ve got that whole side and there something for everyone. So for some kids that like to do sparring, they’ve got that sparring side. For kids that love to just concentrate and have that perfection type of mindset, they’ve got their forms. And for the kids that love to be fancy and really test their body to the limits, you’ve got that XMA. So that's the beautiful thing about martial arts: it covers everything. It covers that personal growth that they might just want to focus on. Or if they really want to challenge themselves, they can go as far as the Olympic Games.

So for me, how that related to me was, I didn't like the pressure from team sports and I just loved the traditional side of martial arts. But then, as I gained more confidence and I started to realize more about myself, learned more about what I sought from, like I actually have skills, I have something in me, some drive. I started pursuing the sport Taekwondo side and tried to represent my country in the commonwealth games. And just wanted to learn more about myself. And through that, through that journey of discovering myself and realizing the drive and motivation I actually have in me, that mindset, that strong mindset that martial arts taught me, then transmitted to business. So, you know, and that's a beautiful thing. The skills that martial arts teach you, the perseverance, the concentration – all of those are transferable into everyday life.

So, I'm not being biased to martial arts, but compared to other sports, martial arts is just awesome, especially for those kids who are really trying to find themselves and that might lack in confidence, because they don't feel like they're up to everyone else’s standard – martial arts is just beautiful for that.

GEORGE: So let's go back to, you were 6-7 years old. Being bullied, I guess we should ask: why do you think people are bullies?

TERRENCE: That's a very good question and something that I think the answer needs to be educated more to parents. So for me, we've been teaching martial arts a lot now and we've also got a program that is implemented in a lot of preschools around New South Wales and South Australia. It's a preschool program where we teach kids martial arts in preschool. The reason why we stared that was because I found that bullying starts as early as preschool. So we see it every day in preschools and the more preschools we started teaching and then talking to my kids that are in primary school and in high school and in the workforce, kind of see similar traits across all ages, as to the bully, why they bully, and the target, why they target it. So before we go on to the target, let’s talk about the bully, OK?

A bully, why do they bully? They bully because they feel that they need to have that superiority over someone that makes them feel safe, makes them feel that they can’t be touched, OK? So the bully, the reason why they bully is because of a lot of insecurities that they may have, which could have been caused through their own life journey. You find a lot of people that used to get bullied; they then become a bully if they're not guided in the right way, OK? For example, if a kid is abused at home and they've got all of this anger and frustration, they need an outlet and they feel that that outlet is to put others down so that they can feel better about themselves. So yeah, they have a lot of insecurities and they want to feel like they belong.

So how they do that is, they try to humiliate someone else to show everyone else that they're tough, that they're powerful. But really, deep down inside, they're actually just trying to belong and trying to make them still feel equal or better than everyone else. And unfortunately, for them to feel that, they need to find a target.

Now, when they look for a target, they look for someone who they know isn't going to challenge them, that they know they can psychologically defeat, to avoid anything physical, so they know that they can defeat them psychologically and they know they're not even going to challenge them physically and it’s someone that they know they can isolate. So someone that they know doesn't have a strong support network around them, so friends for example, who aren't going to stand up for that person. And when they find that target, that's when they pounce.

So you ask why do people get bullied? They get bullied because they get found as a target, they lack in confidence, they don't know how to voice their opinion, they don't have a support network around them, so a good, solemn friendship base, or a network of people. And slowly, as their targeted to get bullied, these low attributes that they have, then start spiraling into other things, like their confidence drops even more, if they didn't know how to express something before, when they get bullied, they dive into a shell and they start holding everything inside even more.

So they don't speak about their problems to their parents, or to their friends, or to their school counselor or anything like that, because they already had that weak attribute to begin with, you know? Of not being able to express themselves. When someone is bullying them, it really kills me inside, because usually the targets that are getting bullied, they're such beautiful people, who don't want to bother people, who don't want to put any burden on other people. And because of this beautiful heart that they have, they take it upon them to hold it to themselves and to just bury it inside. And slowly, slowly, the more that they do this, it kills them. It kills them, slowly, slowly, and then sometimes, unfortunately, it gets too much for them, and they break.

And you know, I know I'm being very straightforward with delivering this message, but, when it comes to bullying, we can’t really just put it under the rug and think that it’s going to go away, like what school teachers or bosses at the workforce do, they think, yeah, it will be alright, they will tell the kid to stop doing it. They say they're sorry, shake hands, and then they forget about it. But it doesn't happen like that. The more that the situation goes on, the target, the more that these problems keep hitting them in the face.

Two things will happen: one, they will either snap and really deal with their problem front on and say, enough is enough, or two, they're just going to keep burying it inside and it will destroy them as a person. And we’ve seen countless times how many people take their life because of bullying. And this is just because they’ve reached the end of their road and they haven’t been able to express themselves and it just built up, built up, built up and because they don't have the knowledge of what to do or they don't have the support network around them, they give up. And this is something that we don't want, for anyone. So that's why we’re here today, to try to educate people more about bullying.

GEORGE: Yes. I've got a few questions, just from that. Firstly, I just want to mention, I've recently gone through, I guess I’m a lot more attentive to it now, because, my son is 12 years old at this point in time. Recently got into the same type of situation, a bullying situation at school. And he’s been doing martial arts for 7 years, he’s a smaller kid, really, as you say, just a beautiful heart, nice kid. And although he can put me down when he wants to, even in a play situation, he can take me down. But in a bullying situation, he was almost crippled. He didn't’ want to defend himself, he got caught in a headlock and he was almost more fearful of the consequences of getting suspended in school, which put me in a bit of a situation and we've got a business group for martial arts school owners on Facebook.

And I posted a question; does martial art really help against bullying? Obviously just, the question was more spurred with frustration, but it did spark a really, really good conversation and martial arts school owners chipping in and really talking about their experiences with it, frustration with the system of how you go about combating the bullying. Because it's almost like the bully is more protected than the victim.

And that's something I said to the teacher as well, hang on, there's a bit of a double standard here. My son is fearful of the fact that, if he had to defend himself, he’’ll get suspended, but you’ve got a bully that's allowed to bully and I'm getting these vague messages, there's consequences. And I'm like, but what are those consequences? Is it a slap on the wrist, because if I had to do this in workspace and if I had to go do this in public, that's a criminal offense. And I’d get charged for that. So how come that's not… where's the consequences in school? Where do you actually combat that at such a high level?

TERRENCE: Yeah well, I can relate to that story really well. In primary school, because of my lack in confidence and not knowing who I am, I had not friends. I was a kid in school, this is around year 8, OK? So picture primary school, walk around the playground trying to kill time, because for lunch, I know my routine, just walk around the school to kill time and the thing about being a victim is, you always care what people think of you. So when I’d walk and be cautious about how I walk, do I look funny when I walk and so on. So I was really outcasted, right?

In high school, I tried to make that change of, I need to make it a point to hang out with the popular kids. And I made it a point to hang out with the popular kids and then, when it came to lunchtime, they would be walking around school, picking on targets to bully. So then when that happened, I was like, no way. This is not me, I can’t be this. So I hanged out, I felt sorry for the kids they were bullying and I told them to back off and leave them alone. And I started hanging out with those kids, which later, I will tell you about later, they were my first students. But yeah, I hanged out with those kids and it made me the biggest target.

So even in high school, I was walking around and my usual high school lunch then became walking around the school again, like it was in primary school. And I became the biggest target. When I say the biggest target, the bullies stopped focusing on anyone else and would just focus on me. And it was things from, come to my locker, my locker is being broken into, or, my books are in the bin, dumb texts on my chair. I was just walking around the school feeling so much anxiety and having to know that, next period I have English. I have this bully, this bully, this bully in the class. As soon as I get out of the class, I've got to find out where they're sitting and think about where I'm going to sit to avoid that situation. It got to the point where you have to really gather up so much energy just to get yourself to school.

So the point I'm trying to make is, I dealt with all of this buildup inside for so long and even though I knew I was a black belt in Taekwondo, because I didn't’ have that confidence it gave them more reason to put it on me, because they knew I wasn't’ going to challenge them. And the reason why I didn't’ challenge is lacking confidence, even though I could just spiral and kick their head and all this type of stuff, you have that choking feeling, when you're confronted outside of your dojo premises. Because in a dojo, you understand the rules of the game, you understand that it’s a safe environment that nothing is going to go wrong.

But then when you take out yourself, and you put yourself in a public environment and you've got everyone looking and challenging you, you're trying to battle with your own insecurities and the pressure again. You know that pressure that I was talking about before? You're then faced with that again in a school environment and thinking of what everyone thinks of you and you’ve just got these bullies in your face and you're constantly having to deal with psychologically, every day, you know? It’s all those different factors that get in your face, you choke. You don't remember what you're taught in the dojo, you don't remember the skills. All you remember are your insecurities. All you remember is how much you just don't want to be there, how you just want to run and how you just want to avoid and that's what it comes back to. And that's what causes the victim to just choke and bury themselves.

And I remember one specific scenario which led to the next turning point in my life, complete turning point in my life, which relates to your question: I went on a music excursion, going to the city. And these bullies were at the back of the bus. And when I came into the bus, there were no seats, except at the back. So I had to sit there and minded my own business. And then, someone had a whole bunch of lollies. And they just started throwing lollies at each other around the bus, right? And then suddenly, I was the target, so six of those guys at the back and they were just all throwing, one by one, lollies at me.

And you know, me being the kid I am, I just tried to pretend that the problem was going to go away and just hope that it’s going to go away, which the victims will think. It didn't’, so that bully behind me had chewing gum and he put chewing gum in my hair without me realizing. I knew he was doing something, but I just didn't’ want to aggravate the situation. So I just left it, but I didn't know it was actual chewing gum he was putting in my hair. And then when I found out, and I touched my hair, I broke down. And as a boy in high school, breaking down, just completely breaking down, tears and everything, it’s destroying, it destroys you, OK? Because you’re trying to hold on to some dignity and at that point, you just know that it just killed you. You're just lost.

So I tried to get it out of my hair when I went back home, but I couldn't. So I had to go to the hairdresser and I had to shave my head. So after that, my brothers were a lot younger, so I had no one to really talk to at that point. And I didn't talk to my parents, they didn't know anything that was happening and it just got too much for me. And that point was breaking point for me. I wanted to end life and I just had no more energy to build up to go to school. I was already facing this thing of having to go to school and face them and now I have to go to school again and everyone laugh at me, because I got my head shaved and they know what happened to me and I just didn't want to face that.

So before I actually executed what I planned, my parents knew that I was acting weird and they came in my room and out of frustration I told them what I wanted to do. And from there, they knew that something was wrong. So they took me to counselors and with counseling, I didn't’ quite get anything out of it, because as I started to speak up, as I got comfortable and spoke up and broke down, I think it was the first time that I realized that my problems weren't just at school; it was at home as well, I had a very negative relationship with my dad and all of that pressure that he was putting on me and psychological damage that I was getting at home as well, was adding a lot to my stress and to my anxiety. So obviously, when I started to open up about that, my dad stopped sending me to the counselor. So that avenue got cut from me and I had to deal with it again.

So about two weeks later, I went back to school and I had the courage to go back to school, and like usual at lunch time, if they found me, they would go at me. And I snapped, it got to the point where I reached the end of my road. I had no more options and I snapped. So I had a physical fight for the first time in my life. You know, I've been pushed around and grabbed before, but I never did anything. This was the first time I stepped and fought back. So it got to the point where I was in front of the canteen and I got put against the wall and exchanges happened and I don't know any boxing so pretty much got bashed a bit first. And then I responded with a roundhouse kick to the head. And after that, the fight stopped. The person I was fighting, after the roundhouse kick to the head, stopped.

And there was just a big shock. It was a shock to everyone around me, but more importantly, it was a shock to me. It was a shock to me that I finally overcame that choking feeling. I finally overcame that feeling of being suppressed, you know? Just the pressure and all the problems just being suppressed and I finally just let go. And my training – I was already representing Australia at that time, all that training just suddenly turned into that environment where I felt relaxed and I felt responsive and I knew the surroundings around me, all that training that you do, that suddenly came into play. After that roundhouse, I was like, hang on a second, this is just like sparring. This is just like the gym; this is just like that game.

And after I kicked him and the fight stopped, funny enough, I got suspended. I got suspended from school and that family tried to charge me with assault. So the good thing was, that I already had a track record at the school. I always reported when I was getting bullied. My parents always stepped in, which didn't help the matter. It made things worse sometimes. But the school had a record; the school had a record of all the times I was being victimized. And when it came to this where I actually did defend myself, because of that record, the parents… they didn't congratulate me, but they were proud of me. And everyone was, I was surprised to come home and my parents were actually proud of me that I kicked someone in the face. Like, and I couldn't understand that, I'm like, I was so scared to come home and tell them that I got suspended. I got in trouble, but they actually high-fived me, not because I kicked someone in the head, but because I was able to face my fears, you know? And overcome that obstacle.

And from that day, from that day onwards, my life changed completely, completely. The next day I went to school and I went from being no one, from walking around the school, trying to avoid people, to people coming up to me and saying, oh, I heard about the fight, what not. And it was just a sign of relief for me that it was all over. From that point on, it was all over. That group, they didn't come after me again, because they knew that I would challenge now, that I will stand my ground and that I had confidence in myself now and I realized the abilities I have. And that if I'm pushed into a corner, I won’t bark, I will bite. So it stopped from there, if one of them started, another one would tease the bully, they would say, oh don, he’ll kick you in the head. So from there, it just changed. It was a domino effect that changed my whole life, that one day.

GEORGE: And how old were you then?

TERRENCE: Where?

GEORGE: At that time, how old were you then, when that incident happened?

TERRENCE: I was in year 8, it was term two in year 8, so probably about 13-14 maybe. So a little bit younger than your own son.

GEORGE: Yeah. So seven years so, that's a fascinating story.

TERRENCE: It takes a long time, it takes a long time. It’s not… the matter can be changed (snaps fingers) like that, the bullying situation can be changed like that, but the journey to get there takes a long time. It’s about finding yourself, it’s about being comfortable with who you are, believing in yourself and in a situation of self-defense, learning the skills on how to defend yourself. And martial art does help against bullying in all those ways. Your confidence gets built up, you as a person, your character and how to deliver your message.

They give you all the skills, they give you the skill of how to defend yourself and they give you all that character development; but, just like a coach would tell their student, they can tell you what to do, but unless they do it for themselves, you don't get the result that you want. And that journey of learning how to believe in yourself and how to defend yourself in that scenario, that's an individual process and depending on the individual, it can take years like it did with me, 7 years, or it could take a month. So it’s just about the individual and how fast that person sees or discovers who they are.

GEORGE: Yeah, it’s so interesting for me, because I'm always about the mind and how the mind works. And things that you said earlier of how things have affected you from being a kid to later, and you sometimes, as you evolve as a person, you start questioning things that you're doing, but I get angry at this, or I get frustrated with this. And when you peel the layers back, it’s belief systems that you've set up, it’s either just out of a habit, or out of fear of a situation and that sort of shapes the way you go through life.

And you know, you're talking about the time it took; I think, something I heard this week on a training, talking about:  motivation runs out, but if you have the habit and the discipline, the discipline will keep you going. No matter, where the motivation is, because you're going to find that training sucks, and you're going to find that this sucks, but if you've got the discipline to push through, then that's what's going to keep you going.

And I think that's so important, because like you've said and like I've seen with my son as well, he's got all the world’s training and he can’t use it. It’s just, it’s crossing that line of, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to be this person. I've got my insecurities about all that, to that point of, I snap and – that's it. I’m not putting up with it anymore, I'm crossing that line.

And that was really what my question was about in the martial arts group. Does martial art really help in bullying, because it gives you all the tools and everything, but then, that real life situation is something you cannot really prepare for. Because, I mean, you can have 5 or 10 of your instructors pin you down in a corner, they're still an element of trust in your mind, whereas, I know my first bullying situation, and growing up in South Africa, it was probably completely different, because I was with a friend on a jetty, fishing and I had an older kid look at me and said, you – and this is the type of people they were, he said, “I'm going to cut your throat and I'm waiting.”

And he stood waiting. And I remember that element of fear like, this is someone that would do it. He would do it, just because he didn't like me or whatever, whatever the case was. But I just remember that element of fear that there's this realness of a situation, where you can’t prepare for that. Because even in the dojo, you can prepare physically, but that mental pressure of, I'm really in danger, like, this is life or death. How do you prepare for that?

TERRENCE: So, it’s interesting that you say that. You use that example of that guy; could you actually try to understand the upbringing person of that kid? I mean, for him to have that type of person, can you imagine what that person has actually gone through to get to that stage? So, I think, with us, if we learn how to deal with that situation right there, if you take a step back and as a parent, or as an instructor, or a friend, you can kind of see a lot of flags before that even happens, you know? How old were you when that happened?

GEORGE: I was probably about… I think I was about 8 years old, 8-9 years old.

TERRENCE: And how old was he?

GEORGE: He was probably in his early teens. The funny thing is, I had… a kid that used to hang out at the jetty, and was probably the scummiest, roughest kid ever. And he looked at me, and he said, don't worry, I've got you. And he walked with me off the jetty, walked past that guy, he got on his bike, and he cycled home with me. It was a big lesson in life, you know, I looked at this one kid that I thought was just the scruffiest, scummiest kid ever and he walked with me and cycled home with me. It was just, now that I think back on it; it was a multifaceted experience in that way.

TERRENCE: Isn't it crazy how you still remember it and how it still damages you psychologically? You still remember that fear, you still remember that isolation, you still remember that choking feeling. And that's what I was talking about before. To go back to your question, if you look at that teenager, it expands what I was saying before, about the need to feel superior, to dominate over someone to make them feel better, and you being old as you are, 8, and him, just a teenager, he knew that you're an easy target. And unfortunately, something like that, it’s a very difficult thing to deal with.

Lucky for you, you weren't alone, so I think you not being alone definitely helped. And your friend, that scruffy friend you were talking about – that's what we want to build in society, people like that. People like that, that will help build that support network, you know? Having that strong link next to you, whether it is yourself that is the strong link, your friend, you know? And that's what we want to build in our martial arts students, to be that leader. To be that leader in society, to create that change. And thankfully, you had one of those leaders next to you that pulled you out of that scenario.

But the actual bully himself, there's a lot of things that could have been done before, that could have helped change that person. And that’s one other attribute that martial arts gives you, which could help prevent someone from being a bully. So when someone has these life experiences that can either change them to doing negative outlets, like putting out the aggression on someone, or stealing, or doing things to cry out that they need help: if martial art is that thing, it will provide a positive outlet. So a positive outlet that they can channel all of their negative energy, which was for me, all of these feeling from home and from school, all of this negativity, and my outlet was training. Just continuous training and it was my serenity, it was my place where I’d come and just belong, by myself. Be peaceful with myself and just focus on myself and just train, you know?

So I think there's many things you can do on, that can avoid these situations altogether. A bully finding a place where they can have a support network, like a martial arts studio and have a good outlet to take out their negativity on. And for your friend, for example or even yourself, building up those characteristics on how to be a good leader. How to stop that scenario from happening. Building that link system, to be the strong link, or to have a strong link with you. And that's a beautiful thing about martial arts, it helps both sides. So in terms of the actual scenario, obviously not being isolated, not being by yourself and finding a safe environment. Finding other people to see.

GEORGE: Awesome. Terrence, I've got one more question for you. I actually have two, but then we might go on a whole new tangent. I might just stick to the one, for now. And it will be a good way to actually wrap up our chat here. With everything you went through with bullying and what happened at school, knowing what you've experienced through martial arts and what you've learned, discipline and everything, what would you say to your 6 year old self, in that situation, in that bullying situation if you had to go back in time?

TERRENCE: That's a good question. I think that, not just my 6-year-old self, but anyone who is dealing with bullying at the moment, no matter what age they are, whether they're an adult, teenager, or in primary school; they need to remember that life is a journey. Life is just a journey, where you’re continuously learning about yourself and in life, you'll always be tested. There will be many tests that come your way, whether it’s financial, whether it’s being bullied, whether it’s relationship crisis, or anything like that. There are many, many challenges in life. OK?

And each challenge is an experience. An experience that you can learn from to better yourself and to make yourself a stronger person. And as life goes on, as you get through each obstacle each day, you learn from it. And by the end, you'll come to a certain point in your life, where through those experiences, you become confident and comfortable with who you are, whether it’s being alone, whether you find it hard to make friends. You gain confidence and you become comfortable with being in that scenario.

So, if you look at all the successful – not all, but most of the successful people in this world, they've all gone through many, many experiences, and often you'll find that they had to defeat it alone. But through that hardship, they're now able to face any obstacle and being independent, being comfortable with who they are and what they can do, and knowing that they can overcome anything, any obstacle on their path, they can overcome it now. And they don't need help, they're so strong, their character is so strong.

So I think anyone who's in this situation needs to understand that it’s a learning experience that will shape you and it’s always important to be mindful of the direction that you're going, whether you're going towards a negative way, realizing that that's a negative path and a negative way about dealing with your situation. And trying to find a positive outlet, a positive way to learn from it, to deal with it and how to turn that negativity into a positive experience that's going to help you in your future, being a better version of yourself.

So for me, that whole bullying experience, it shaped the way I am today, it’s given me everything that I have today. My business, the skills I have of talking with people. I couldn't pick up a friend before or talk to someone. I had that much anxiety. Now you can put me in front of 2000 people and I’ll just talk. Because nothing is going to be as bad as what the past has been. I've overcome everything and it doesn't matter what I get put today, the mindset applies. The same principles apply with, this is a learning experience – what can I learn from this? How is this going to make me a better person in the future? That's it.

GEORGE: Thanks a lot. Terrence, it’s been great speaking to you. And just before we wrap up, it makes me think: everybody fears public speaking; people fear public speaking more than death. And my thinking is, well, maybe you haven't been in a situation where you've got to fear death.

TERRENCE: Yeah.

GEORGE: Because what you're really saying is, perspective, right? Because of perspective and that can almost be the good thing about it. Yes, you had a bad experience and unfortunately, it was horrific and it sucked, but when people are able to navigate through that, you build up this resilience, I guess confidence in life that you can just take on bigger things and better things for the future.

TERRENCE: You just said it there. You were talking about that mindset of resilience and how to use that to tackle the future; in its plainest form, resilience in the martial arts dojo – isn't that what martial art teaches you? Just on a basic level? Not to give up when you're feeling sore, not to give up when you're losing on points or anything like that, to keep pushing through if you can't get a pattern to keep trying and to keep at it. Martial arts instill the platform and then you build off that platform, as to how to apply these principles in your everyday life.

So that's how martial arts and the journey of life really benefit each other. So back to that question you were asking, does martial arts really help with bullying – yes, it does. It’s up to the individual on when they choose to apply it in their everyday life.

GEORGE: That's what we learned.

TERRENCE: Yeah.

GEORGE: Awesome tips. Thank you for your time. Great topic and I'm definitely having you on again for round 2, if we can maybe expand on this topic, or talk about the business side of things. So if anybody wants to get in touch with you, learn more about you, where can they do that?

TERRENCE: I’m actually going to start a YouTube platform pretty shortly. Everything to do with martial arts and topics like this, bullying. I am very, very passionate about the fight against bullying. So you can search us up on YouTube, I believe George has got a link, easy for you to follow.

Otherwise, you can just follow us on Instagram, just coach_terrence and I'm passionate about martial arts, business and the fight against bullying. So if you have any questions, just hit us up and I'm happy to share whatever knowledge I have.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Thanks a lot Terrence, speak to you soon.

TERRENCE: Thank you, see you later.

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George Fourie

Hi I'm George Fourie, the founder of MartialArtsMedia.com. When I'm not doing dad duties or training on the mats (which I manage to combine when my son is willing! :), I'm helping Martial Arts Gym owners grow their business through the power of online media.

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