Founded by Kru David Edwards, Bully Be Gone is fiercely improving the lives of Canadian families through its direct approach to conflict. With bullying taking place on playgrounds, workplaces, and online, parents have reached out to David when the various institutions failed to protect their children. David’s extensive training shaped the practices and philosophy behind Bully Be Gone in various martial arts over 20 years. The program was tailored to empower the victims of a bullying situation, regardless of age or circumstance, and defuses the conflict.
David created the Bully Be Gone Activist Wear to make his services more accessible to families in need. The clothing line also gives people the opportunity to give back. “Anyone that wears the brand is connected in charity of people who can afford training with me that I actually have a list that I train as of the kindness of Bully Be Gone. Anyone that purchases anything from the brand, its actually a package. That package supports me to reach out to a family who have kids stuck at home that can’t work out”. OnSide Media spoke to David for Mental Health Awareness Month to learn more about how his brand, training, and lectures for Bully Be Gone is inspiring the community to end bullying together.
In your own words, describe what you do for the community. How is Bully Be Gone different from other anti-bullying programs?
David Edwards: Bully Be Gone serves the community by addressing the interaction between the two parties in a bullying situation; the bully and the recipient. Bully be Gone addresses the interaction, confrontation, and resolution, whether negative or positive, of bullying. I don’t address anything that deals with outer precautions because we are now in a state of bullying happening so much that we deal with it as it happens. And adjust with the experiences. My direct approach focuses on bullying, I experience and apply my skills focusing on the interaction and solution of bullying situations, whether it is personal, academic adult or workplace.
What does having a “warrior voice” mean to you?
Having a “warrior voice” means having the power to change your reality. It is almost like the 48 laws of power. Depending on who gives you the tools to open your voice, you can use that in many ways. We have seen that in very positive ways (regarding Civil Rights), and we have seen it in very dark ways (regarding racial wars, etc.) But the power of raising a warrior’s voice can be handled in many ways depending on your atmosphere. It is a very dangerous thing, but it is something that is needed in this world, and its something that is being activated, especially in the last 25 years by our young people.
How have your services shifted due to the pandemic?
I have been driven crazy, reaching out to my clients and helping them every way I can. Almost all of my clients see me virtually, which is devastating. Somehow, I made the best of it. There is no way I can strategize how I got a little bit of success as I did. I can say that a lot of my life is online, and personal training and meditation lets me be online. I’m down for at least 4-5 hours a day since 6-8 months ago. If you want to evoke some inspiration with your people, you have to be obsessively determined to get through being online.
If you’re not that, you’re not helping these kids who are online all the time. The fact is, this is the only way we can inspire our kids, so we have to embrace it and keep going. I’m almost virtually online, and it is doing well. I have single private lessons, group lessons, corporate things that are popping up. When restrictions are lifted, I’m still probably going to be online, but it will be nice to have the freedom to take some people to a park and have them get some fresh air and zen.
How do you cultivate the balance between skill and education with wellness and fun?
Trust. A student can’t bridge the gap between the two if they can not see an elder that they can trust and appreciate to give them structure and guidance to understand those terms. It always goes back to the beginning: no teacher, no student (and vise versa).
What purpose does the Bully Be Gone Activist wear serve the overall movement? How is it benefiting the lives of your clients?
DE: Anyone that wears the brand is connected in the charity of people who can afford training with me that I have a list that I train as of the kindness of Bully Be Gone. Anyone that purchases anything from the brand, its actually a package. That package supports me in reaching out to a family who has kids stuck at home that can’t work out. The first package gives them a month of training. Anyone who buys something from the brand is a philanthropist right there. If you decide by a box, if you want your name hashtagged, it will be attached to a video or a photo of a family that is honestly going through a bad struggle. And in one way or another, you just made sure that their kids have something.
Tell me more about the lectures you conduct. What made you decide to tailor your work to the bullying problem?
I believe my students are my best teachers, and my community guides me to where I have to address specific concerns. This is what inspired Bully Be Gone for bullying first. I started this by saying I wanted to do this for kids. I did my first lecture that was talking about self-defense for kids. I think the thing that grasped more people in that lecture since it was 75% kids and even more parents in the background was my ideas behind techniques, mental focus, and the toughness that was needed. The inner spirit had to be developed in children even to try to defend themselves against someone trying to take advantage of them. That lecture led to my very first client.
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