Two brothers are helping kids stand up against bullying by teaching them martial arts skills.
Martial arts experts, Mike and Dion Panossian, told 9NEWS they also teach children about social media pressure, as well as deal with depression, saying it’s all about confidence and resilience.
“Increase their focus, increase their confidence,” Dion Panossian said. “Teach them to be a little most resilient… the child becomes empowered and starts to believe what they can do personally and physically.”
Apart from teaching kids martial arts skills, the brothers, who are instructors at Shobukan Martial Arts in Perth, also conduct compulsory mat chats where the kids open up about their feelings and how to treat others.
The brothers said that children as young as four suffering bullying and social problems walk into their studio on a weekly basis. They added that some of the kids also suffer from depression and self-harm issues.
With 36 years of experience in martial arts under their belt, the brothers said that they already know who among the kids are struggling.
“They normally come in quite shy, quite clingy to the parents,” Dion said. “Not wanting to engage much. As soon as they walk in the door we’re very active. We make them feel welcome,” Mike added.
The brothers also want parents to be aware of the warning signs that their kids are struggling. “Not wanting to engage much with other children, not wanting to go to school, making excuses that they’re sick. These are all the telltale signs that something could be going on,” Dion said.
Parenting expert Claire Orange is also on the same page as the brothers as she claims this approach can really help a child’s mindset. “Research tells us that this particular sort of activity helps a child with a positive mindset and developing mental health over a lifetime,” she said.
Suicide is the leading cause of unexpected death for children under 13 in Western Australia.