The Martial Artists who are Cyber Bullies – Do You Create Content or Criticise it?

In today's Article we look at Cyber bullying within martial arts.

I have been involved in the martial arts for a long time now and I got into martial arts for one reason alone and that was self defence. I believed that if I was to acquire some martial arts skill then bullying would be a thing of the past for me. Sadly that wasn't the case and throughout my life people have attempted to bully me. The vast majority of times unsuccessful but every now and again a comment effects me. After all I am only human.

If we take a look at bullying the definition can generally be seen as this:

Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological aggressive behaviour by a person or group directed towards a less powerful person or group that is intended to cause harm, distress or fear.

I want you to keep that definition in your head as you read this post because I am seeing a worrying trend within the martial arts and that is a trend of bullying or in particular cyber bullying.

Facebook

Many years ago martial arts were quite isolated. Clubs were generally self sufficient, advertised via the yellow pages and communicated at annual general meetings and newsletters. Ahh sometimes I do miss those days! The simplicity of this was of course that people were able to concentrate on their martial arts growth. They cared little for the other arts and rarely met.

With the advances in technology we saw the birth of internet forums. Places where people generally talk, debate and help others out. Often these debates got quite heated however there was an ability to switch off from them and there was also a general anonymity that could be used in forums.

However with technological advances we saw the birth of Facebook and twitter among numerous other social media platforms and forums moved into both facebook groups and also general facebook posts on timelines and this changed everything. However with the advances in smart phone technology we have seen people unable to switch off from debate. However those debates can and do often turn nasty

Cyber Bullying

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For those wanting more information on the subject there is an excellent page here however lets get back to the subject in hand.

Cyber bullying is serious, it is an emerging trend which effects children mostly and involves the use of technology to bully individuals. So lets consider a cased study:

Megan Meier

Megan was a young girl who sadly committed suicide because of a campaign of cyber bullying that started when a girl and her mother created a my space account in the name of a boy to try and gain confidence of Megan, yes an adult was involved in this and the full story can be read here but needless to say Megan was victim of cyber bullying.

If you look at the facts they are quite startling:

General Cyberbullying Statistics 

  • 39% OF SOCIAL NETWORK USERS have been cyber bullied in some way
  • OVER HALF OF ADOLESCENTS & TEENS have been bullied online
  • 32% OF ONLINE TEENS say they have been targets of a range of annoying or potentially menacing online activities
  • 15% of teens overall say someone has forwarded or posted a private message they’ve written
  • 13% say someone has spread a rumor about them online
  • 13% say someone has sent them a threatening or aggressive message
  • 6% say someone has posted embarrassing pictures of them online
  • ABOUT 21% OF KIDS have received mean or threatening e-mails
  • 88% OF SOCIAL-MEDIA USING TEENS say they have SEEN SOMEONE BE MEAN OR CRUEL TO ANOTHER PERSON on a social network site
  • 12% of these say they witness this kind of behavior FREQUENTLY
  • 81% OF YOUTH say that BULLYING ONLINE IS EASIER TO GET AWAY WITH than bullying in person

Now there a few good reasons I am posting this information but generally because I feel that bullying is becoming common place now in the on line martial arts community.

Do You Create Content or Criticise it?

the martial arts world is sitting on a ticking time bomb because I see a trend towards abuse developing. It occurs often when someone posts a view or an opinion on line, a picture or a video and the vultures descend onto the poster. However the groups are very easily separated into 3.

Content Creators

Content Criticisers

Content Creators who criticise others

I ask yourself which of the 3 groups you fall into?

Martial Arts aren't as good as we think?

Recently I discovered some data that suggested martial arts can make children more aggressive, you can read it here. Now as I do normally, when I write a post of interest I share that with a few groups that I feel may find it useful. This post was just the same, and one of the first comments came from a teacher who suggested I didn't like children based on a now edited part of the article. I actually edited it because the paragraph (which highlighted how well children behave during martial arts classes and show respect to each other) as it didn't help with the flow of the article.  Yet I did find the teachers response very interesting.

First he created an insult based on no personal knowledge

Then he tried to display his authority by stating his profession

Then he tried to defend his position with incorrect use of terms (trying to be clever)

Now this was from a teacher who I would expect more from but I see this behaviour all the time on forums. Firstly people make a comment often criticising a person who has created content, they then try and justify their comment with qualifications such as I'm a black belt in this or that and then they again throw further comments.

Is this a phenomenon of Facebook? If so it is a funny joke as Facebook was created by a person who was at school and had never had a job!

Either way having just posted data that suggested that martial arts could increase anger an educated man who was a martial artist responded with an insult? Kind of proved the data right.

Certain  Groups

There are of course certain groups online that are more active than each other and certain groups are more prone to this behaviour than others. One group I have witnessed such aggressive behaviour from that they usually behave in a manner like this:

A person shares a view point or content

Its not agreed with

They challenge with a grappling contest!

yes even I get shocked by things like this and I discussed it with an other respected self defence coach who said that their behaviour may be linked with the fact that their martial arts gained popularity through challenges of physical skill.

Either way I find that I struggle to endorse some martial arts when their top tier of instructors behave this way on line, after all what are they like in person? However when people in martial arts market their systems are developing respect its difficult to take this seriously if instructors and high grades engage in playground behaviour.

2014 Will be the year of Content Creators

This year will see those who create content growing their businesses and on line reach, those who spend their time on Facebook criticising those people who produce content will of course not be doing anything other than that! Imagine if you didn't get embroiled in Facebook debates about which system was effective and focused on other things. Imagine what you could achieve!

Now there is a fine line between debate (which can be healthy) and bullying but if you are going on line and 'slating' others then are you just another bully?

I personally think its time to create content not criticise it!

Take care folks.

Andrew Holland

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