Free bully defense course offered in Pelham

(Contributed)

(Contributed)

By Briana Harris / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Students, preschool through 12th grade, can attend a free bully defense workshop at Impact Martial Arts on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

Sean Gilham, chief instructor at Impact Martial Arts, said the course will address the four types of bullying: physical, verbal, emotional/social and cyber.

The workshop for preschool and kindergarten students will be from 4-4:45 p.m., elementary and intermediate students from 5-6 p.m. and middle and high school students from 6:15-7:30 p.m.

In addition to learning self-defense techniques, Gilham said instructors will practice verbal drills to teach students what to say and how to respond when they or someone else is being bullied.

“We’re going to talk to them about the importance of having respect for themselves and for other people,” Gilham said. “We talk to them about how important it is to report bullying to at least three adults whenever they or someone else is having problems with it.

“It’s not a matter of tattling, it’s a matter of safety.”

Gilham said Impact Martial Arts, located at 3186-G Pelham Parkway, hosts the workshop every October for National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and travels to schools in Shelby and Chilton counties hosting workshops.

According to statistics for STOMP Out Bullying, 80 percent of the time, an argument with a bully will end in a physical fight, and one out of five students surveyed admitted to being a bully or doing some bullying.

Gilham said each workshop will focus on the type of bullying that is most prevalent in each age group.

“For example, with the preschool and elementary students we will focus more on physical bullying because that tends to be more of a problem with that age group,” Gilham said.

He said the goal of the workshop is to inspire students to be a part of the effort end bullying.

“When I was in the fourth grade I experienced bullying and it’s only gotten worse over the years, especially with social media,” he said. “As an instructor, I have parents come to me asking for help and for a couple of weeks their child will receive self-defense training and we talk to them to try to build up their self-esteem.”

Gilham said he follows a workshop format modeled after Hyper Bully Defense, an international program designed to educate parents and students about how to defend against bullying.

For more information, contact Impact Martial Arts at 205-664-4422.