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Stop picking on me, bully

Tara Kearsey
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Jan 31/03) - The Inuvik Scouts got a crash course in self-defence last week to help protect themselves from getting pushed around.

Martial arts expert Marc Clement visited the scouts at Sir Alexander Mackenzie school Jan. 16 to educate them on how to discourage bullying.

Scout leader Neil Phillips said bullying is a big problem here in Inuvik and it's important for the kids to learn how to defend themselves.

That's especially true for the scouts because Phillips said they are often singled out by bullies, simply because they are scouts.

"They are taught to be good and taught to have good manners and respect other people, and because of that a lot of other kids look down on them and try to bully them because they are better behaved," he said.

If someone is trying to start a fight, Clement said the person being targeted should first try and talk the person out of it.

If that doesn't work, Clement demonstrated a few passive-aggressive techniques which the kids could use to defend themselves without inflicting physical harm.

"Bullying is big here and it's got to stop.

"And a lot of kids experience it here on a daily basis ... even I got bullied when I was a kid," said Clement.

But he doesn't get pushed around any more.

Over the past 25 years, Clement has obtained six black belts in six different styles of martial arts. He said he has only been involved in three physical altercations in his life - and all three were with his siblings.

"And I lost," he joked. "I usually emphasize the best way to deal with a bully is not on their level.

"If you stoop to their level, all you're doing is inviting either more violence or you will antagonize him and upset him even more to the point where it's going to escalate," said Clement.

He said the best way to deal with a bully is to try and reason with him or her and try to bring them up to your level.

"But if they have to defend themselves and the situation deems no alternative, then I teach them how to do it quickly, responsibly, safely and not to deal with the situation again right away," he said.

And finally, Clement said it's extremely important to let a parent, teacher or police officer know about the situation so that it doesn't happen again.