Ten Tigers Against Bullying

Sifu, which means “teacher,” is how Kung Fu students address Rik as they learn different techniques for self-defense at Ten Tigers Kung Fu Academy in Huntington Station.  thumbnail135307
Sifu, which means “teacher,” is how Kung Fu students address Rik as they learn different techniques for self-defense at Ten Tigers Kung Fu Academy in Huntington Station.
“Usually you think it’s just a couple of kids but you look around and you see that everyone has experienced being bullied one way or another.
“Usually you think it’s just a couple of kids but you look around and you see that everyone has experienced being bullied one way or another." - Rik Kellerman
“Your words have power,” Sifu Rik said to students as he demonstrated how creases or “scars” are left behind on a piece of paper after it’s been crumpled.  thumbnail135414
“Your words have power,” Sifu Rik said to students as he demonstrated how creases or “scars” are left behind on a piece of paper after it’s been crumpled.
Sifu Rik showed student volunteers a simple Kung-Fu move to demonstrate self-defense.  thumbnail135415
Sifu Rik showed student volunteers a simple Kung-Fu move to demonstrate self-defense.
Learning how to stand up for yourself enables you to stand up for others. thumbnail135416
Learning how to stand up for yourself enables you to stand up for others.

Rik Kellerman of Ten Tigers Kung Fu Academy in Huntington Station spoke to Birchwood students about bullying on Tuesday. Rik has been practicing Martial Arts since he was 15-years-old and has been teaching Kung Fu for over 30 years, providing his students with the necessary tools to be confident and defend themselves against bullies.  

Sifu Rik, along with Shue and Richard, started the assembly by asking the students if they have ever been bullied or know someone who has been bullied before. Almost every student raised their hand, and they were surprised to see how many of their classmates have experienced this. “This shows us that this is a very big issue,” Rik said as the children also came to this realization. Rik had the students describe what they believe makes someone a bully to determine that not all bullies fight or get physical but rather, use their words and exclude others to cause harm.

Rik explained how bullies target those who appear weak and lack confidence. With both feet planted firmly on the ground, back straight, and chins up, Rik demonstrated how to appear confident as he had Birchwood students stand up and do the same. “The way you stand, the way you speak, the way you hold yourself is the way you’re going to feel,” Sifu Rik explained from Birchwood’s stage. “If you want to develop confidence, act as if you already have it and you will develop that confidence overtime.” This type of confidence translates through all aspects of life, including peer pressure that so many are confronted with. “Sometimes peer pressure pushes us because we don’t have the confidence to say ‘No’.” Kung Fu and Martial Arts provides an outlet to practice being assertive. Becoming an upstander, someone who stands up to bullies and doesn’t look away as it’s happening, helps confront the bully and protect who is being victimized. Forming a group, including the victim, and reporting the situation to an adult is the best way to put an end to bullying.

While the students at Birchwood may not experience cyber-bullying as often as perhaps middle school or high school students do, Rik thought it be important to address. “When I was in school, only a handful of kids were bullied. That’s how big of a problem it’s turned into. Back in my day when you got bullied, it ended as soon as you got home and closed the door. This follows you home now, and there’s the added pressure that it’s worldwide and it’s forever.”

Rik, Shue, and Richard provided a simple demonstration of self-defense that got our Birchwood students more than excited. Rik made it clear that the best defense isn’t about getting physical, but to avoid the bully from the beginning and to choose your friends and inner circle wisely. Surrounding yourself with people who respect you and have the best intentions for you allow you to create meaningful and lasting friendships.

Thank you Rik, Shue and Richard from Ten Tigers for sharing this message of confidence to our Birchwood students!