There's nothing new at Perry and Karen Bateson martial arts dojo.
They haven't planned any new programs in the past three months since bullying has become the quintessential topic of the day.
However, at Yeun's Family Martial Arts in Maple Ridge, anti-bullying techniques are taught on a daily basis in all classes, and have been for years.
Anti-bulling is embedded within the Character Development Program.
"Until we teach children how to communicate, [bullying] is going to continue," said dojo co-owner Karen. "It angers me that it takes a tragedy to open peoples eyes to bullying," she said, referring to the recent death of former Maple Ridge teen Amanda Todd, who committed suicide after years of bullying at school and cyber-space, and enduring an online stalker.
"What concerns me most is that in three weeks or a month people will have put bullying on the back burner," said Perry.
"We've been focusing on anti-bullying techniques for years and have the only recognized conflict resolution program in this community," he added.
There is often a gap in what happens in the schools and what is taught in the dojo.
"We want to teach our kids to stand up for themselves. When they do, they are often times labelled the problem. The bullies continue on their path," Perry said.
Martial arts instruction has always focused on what one would do once in a fight. It does not have a great history of telling how to talk yourself out of fights, or how to identify controlling type of bullying behaviours early enough to defend yourself from long-term exposure.
"Right now in our Verbal Martial Arts class we are working on the word mushin, which means identifying what triggers your own anger and knowing how to calm yourself down," explained Karen.
The instructors use role playing to teach conflict resolution.
Launched back in September, www. ybully.ca is a new resource developed by the Batesons as a resource for kids who have taken their Verbal Martial Arts classes.
But Perry wants it to be a community website, available to everyone.
It has various resources, education, and a place to ask questions.
"Nothing at Yeun's is a direct result of the current situation [Amanda's death] but one would hope people are taking notice that there are resources available," said Perry.
Besides the on-going martial arts classes, Yuen's is hosting a seminar about bullying for adults.
The dates are Oct. 28, Nov. 4, and Nov. 11 from 1 to 3 p.m. The seminar will cost $75 and will be a condensed version of what students learn in class.