Martial artist hopes to help kids unlock potential, face bullying | Side Kicks Family Karate

Martial artist hopes to help kids unlock potential, face bullying

Sensei Brian Seetge, of Side Kicks Family Karate, was bullied as a child, and he wants to make sure his students, and his own children, have the knowledge and power to face bullying head on.


After hosting several anti-bullying sessions for children at his karate school, Seetge said he decided to try and reach a broader audience of youths by becoming a contributor to a new book about bully prevention: “BULLYPROOF: Unleash the Hero Inside Your Kid.”

The book is the third in a series on the Amazon best-selling list, he said.

The book “is a way to reach out and touch more kids and impact their lives in a positive way,” Seetge said. “I can only have so many kids here on the mat.”

“Bullying is such a hot topic nowadays and it seems to be getting worse every year, which is why I’m trying to empower more kids,” he said.

Seetge was born with a disability that required him to be pulled from class throughout elementary school to meet with a physical therapist, who worked with him on improving balance and coordination.

The therapist suggested that Seetge take up karate, because it was a discipline that focused mainly on those fundamentals. Soon he became hooked.

“I felt better about myself and gained confidence through martial arts,” Seetge said.

“Like I tell my kids, you can’t achieve a black belt if you don’t believe in yourself,” Seetge said. Martial arts made me feel differently about myself and then people started treating me differently,” he added.

During his seminars with children about bullying, Seetge teaches four topics:

  1. How to behave, stand tall and be assertive;
  2. Awareness and interaction with others;
  3. The need for friends and family — a team — and good, open communication between parents and loved ones at home and teachers at school; and
  4. Finding something you’re amazing at that changes you as a person.

Seetge said he feels families don’t talk enough about bullying with their children and that often issues get “swept under the rug” by adults.

“Bullying has been around for centuries — we can’t stop bullying,” the sensei said. “So it’s about educating and empowering children so they can handle whatever is brought to them — so they can handle a bullying situation in a positive way.”

Some of the “positive” reinforcement taught in Seetge’s classes is demonstrating the difference between violence and self defense.

“I try to give them a set of skills. Punching and kicking is not self defense — it’s bigger than that,” Seetge said. “Self defense is how we stand — not slouched or looking down — and having eye contact when we talk to one another.”

It’s self respect and showing respect for others that allows children to create a positive image for themselves.

When children have confidence in themselves they will naturally attract friends, “because a bully will not approach you or pick you out if you’re not alone,” Seetge said.

“We need to change our attitude and teach children to believe in themselves, and build confidence,” he said.

According to the forward written by Dr. Amit Bhargava, “Bullyproof: Unleash the Hero Inside Your Kid,” put together by community experts, is a series that gives parents practical and usable advice, that not only helps them understand the ramifications of bullying, but teaches them how to empower their children to stand up to its effects and come out stronger than before.

“It is only by standing together, and being part of the solution, that we can hope to make the world a safer and better place for us and our subsequent generations,” Bhargava said.

Seetge said he will have copies of Bullyproof available at Side Kicks, 2051 N. Madison St.

Copies may also be downloaded at Proceeds from the book, Seetge said, will be donated to the Rome Parent Teacher Group.

“Not only will copies of the book help build children’s confidence, it will also give back toward charity,” he said. “We like to work hand-in-hand with our schools. We support them and they support us. We’re all in the same fight in educating and building lives.”

“Bullyproof: Unleash the Hero Inside Your Kid” is due out in mid-December, and will first be sold on Amazon starting in January. Seetge and wife Nicole hope their son, five-year-old Kaiden, is featured on the front cover.

“Now we will have the book to use as a tool to start bringing the bullying problem to the forefront of people’s minds,” Seetge said.


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