Seminar focuses on stopping bullying problems
Local youths are participating in anti-bullying training activities teaching them self-defense if they are being pushed against the wall. The seminar leader Charles Ray Knowles teaches youngsters how to defend themselves if they are being attacked on the ground. He himself battled many household allergies as it youngster and one affected the airway in his throat. He needed a surgical procedure that created an opening through the neck into the windpipe and a tube was placed through that opening. The tracheotomy saved his life but also put him in a position to get picked on because he developed a speech impediment. As he read people would make fun of him in church and school. Through a series of seminars Knowles is now working to prevent other bullying ordeals from happening to anyone else. It is hosted by Fear Systems Martial Arts and one of its purposes is to instill unshakable confidence in the participants who are 5 to 18 years old. It is a mobile anti-bullying seminar, which teaches the participants how to avoid conflict and defend themselves. Knowles himself was the brunt of bullying but martial arts helped him through the trauma and gave him confidence. He has been practicing since he was nine. He went on to earn a degree in electrical engineering and has worked with law enforcement. His main passion is helping other youngsters in the same situation. He believes bulling is worse now as the numbers are unreal. He calls bullying a" faceless enemy." It is everywhere. According to stats, 33% of students admit to bullying. Knowles is working to decrease that amount through his program. A lot of this program deals with the mental and cyber bullying aspect of the problem. We use the physical side and deal with confidence as each child needs to be able to get home safely. As a child when Knowles was younger. There were times when he would run home and escape. But now as cyber bullying it can become a 24/7 problem. One cannot out run social media. He believes that some students are in the middle when it comes to bullying incidents. They either watch or they do something about it. If they would jump in and help the person being bullied it can prevent bullying from going on for days and growing.
A lot of organizations are open to the anti-bullying concept. The seminar has recently completed a pilot with the Girl Scouts. One of the activities includes a group experience where participants pretend to be bullies and attack one person. Too often people jump on the bully side and help them rather than stopping it. Knowles is also trying to expand the seminar to other venues.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and the National Youth Violence Prevention Center research shows that more than 30% of high school students say they can't control anger issues. 41% say they will fight back and 21% believe avoiding fights is a sign of weakness. One in three high school students were in a fight within the last year. The stage is being set for violence but through the classes Knowles is trying to stop this problem and help people.