A Jiu-Jitsu instructor in Goulds believes martial arts skills may be the answer to childhood bullying.


Keegan Rolls, 9, is a junior leader who shows other students the ropes. (CBC)

For the last two years, Alex Foley has been running a self-defence class for children. He says his bully-proof program teachs kids how to deal with confrontation.

"Confidence is a big thing," said Foley, who recommends talking as the first approach to dealing with conflict.

"How you project your voice, how you stand, how you talk, all of that stuff plays an important factor in how you can defend yourself or not get targetted by a bully."

Keegan Rolls, 9, a veteran of the program, started coming to the class because he wanted to become bully-proof.

"One day in Grade 3, me and the bully were playing with the legos at my school," Keegan said. "I picked up a piece, and he wanted that piece and he choked me over it."

Today, Keegan is a junior leader who helps other kids learn how to defend themselves against bullies.


Instructor Alex Foley says talking is the first approach to dealing with bullies. (CBC)

Children as young as four attend the class, taking turns sending adults and much bigger children tumbling onto the mats.

Foley said it's good to get an early start with martial arts as the skills developed in childhood can help people throughout their lives.

"The earlier they start, the easier it's going to be for them to effectively talk their way out of a situation. Or, if they have to physically defend themselves, they'll be able to do that as well," he said.

Meanwhile, Keegan said he's a lot more confident and doesn't get bullied anymore, backing up Foley's theory that anyone can be bully-proofed no matter their age or size.