Put Downs are Like Nails in a Fence

“Only Hurt People Hurt Other People!” I was speaking about bullying to a group of young Karate students in the Kickstart program. “And words,” I continued, “have a powerful effect! Our words can either hurt or help people.”

“In fact words are like toothpaste. Once they come out you can’t take them back!”

“How many of you have ever teased someone, put them down?” All the hands in the room went up. Even the parent visitors hands shot into the air. “None of us are exempt,” I added. “How many of you have ever stood by while others teased or taunted another person?” All hands went up again.

“I’d like to read you a story,” I said. The students sat riveted each reflecting inwardly on their behavior as I read the story below about a father and son.

That was my close for the day in the anti-bullying program. I returned 10 days later to find that the highly creative team of teachers and karate trainers had created a direct experience for the students. Students were asked to write something negative they had said to someone and nail it into a piece of wood that the educators had brought to class.

The day I returned the students were given the opportunity to pull their item out of the wooden post and notice the holes that were left behind. “It’s like a hole that mean words leave in the heart even when we apologize,” said Eric, one of the instructors. “And remember,” he added, “Happy people help people!”

This pictures you see on this post are photos captured that day. A great big heartfelt thank you to Jennifer Tamayo, Eric, and Bennett; I am so grateful to be working with you and proud of you as a teacher team. For the video in the photo below, go to or view it here by clicking the play link in the second shot.

Karate Kickstart Students in experiential exercise from Breaking Out of The World Game anti-bullying bullying prevention program

To learn more about our program and creating a positive climate in your school or youth organization, go to

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