Deanne Stein, News 9
EDMOND -- Three million children miss school each month in the United States because of a fear of bullies.
But one program is working to build kids up with confidence to overcome their bullies without using violence. It's called the Gracie BullyProof Program, created by Rener Gracie and his brother.
"It's a program that teaches kids physical and verbal self-defense techniques, so they don't necessarily have to get into fights," said Gracie. "Ultimately, it serves as a way to build confidence and certainty within, self-confidence, so that a child can assert themselves verbally to the bully."
Gracie was in Oklahoma City on Sunday to present a bully proof seminar to children at Redline Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Edmond.
"I am honored to be in Oklahoma City with our partners at Redline teaching Bully Proof to the Oklahoma City's metro's youth," Gracie said. "The results of bullying are so tragic for individuals, families and communities. Educating and empowering our kids, our parents and our community leaders are crucial. The State of Oklahoma statistics on bullying are simply unacceptable. I am here to work with the kids and the community to help change that."
Gracie's family has taught Jiu Jitsu for 85 years, bringing the art to the United States. Gracie's bully proof program pairs Jiu Jitsu with verbal techniques to diffuse a bullying situation. He says having the physical, not violent, component is necessary.
"What we teach the kids is learn the physical self-defense techniques so that you can be 100 percent certain should the retaliation take place, you're not going to get hurt," he said. "Once they are sure of that physical safety, then the verbal assertiveness becomes easy."
The program is geared for children ages 5 to 13 and does not promote violence, in fact, the bully is never physically harmed in any of the techniques, only neutralized.