Now a father of two, a respected martial arts master and a successful Ottawa-area entrepreneur, Phil has turned the tables on bullies. Together with his wife Amelia, they run a program called Bully Busters that has trained more than 3,000 local kids on how to stand up to bullying in a peaceful, non-violent manner.
It’s a shocking fact that 80 to 90 per cent of the elementary school kids that Phil and Amelia teach have been bullied themselves, or know someone who has been the victim of bullying. And this is what motivates the Nguyens to keep offering the Bully Busters program.
“As parents, our number one fear is that our children will be harmed, physically or emotionally, and our number 1 goal is to care for and protect our kids,” says Phil. But the reality for concerned parents is that bullies almost never attack when an adult is around to intervene. So Phil and Amelia designed a program that helps kids learn how to take care of themselves.
“What we teach in Bully Busters is a martial arts approach to responding to bullying,” explains Phil. “We emphasize assertiveness, verbal communication skills and non-verbal communication skills.”
This means that kids learn to walk with confidence, use proper eye contact and assume an assertive stance, all of which help to discourage bullies from picking on them in the first place. They are also taught how to de-escalate a situation using appropriate language.
Phil and Amelia believe that a child who looks self-assured and in control is much less likely to become a target for bullies, so they work to instil confidence and self-discipline in their young pupils.
However, Phil and Amelia have taken the program a step further. They begin by talking with the group about how bullies make their victims feel, so that any bullies in the audience can understand the consequences of their actions. Then, they also discuss the personal situations that might make someone turn in to a bully, which is an exercise to help kids develop some compassion for the bullies in their midst.
“This is our way of giving back to our community,” Phil concludes. “Our job is to teach kids that with a strong mind, body and spirit, anything is possible.”
For more information on the Bully Busters program, visit www.blackbeltexcellence.com