Building People Not Fighters

By Master Paul Mitchell Join Me


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Tuesday 19th Apr

As a parent, I always looked for activities where my children can achieve at levels way beyond their imagination. There is no greater feeling than seeing your child’s team win, your child receiving the best player award or being selected to represent at a regional, state or national level. We have become such a competitive nation that we forget that it is better to have a champion team than a team of champions. I feel children these days have lost the ability to have empathy, patience and understanding. Children need to be educated about the rewards of helping another person, rather than thinking the goal of life is to always win.

‘Everyone has unlimited potential; you just need the right person to bring it out for the world to see.’MASTER PAUL MITCHELL


I received a call from a school principal in Wollongong, New South Wales asking if I had the time to help with a problem of bullying in her school. Challenge accepted. The principal gave me a class of 20 students that I was to train once a week for five weeks. Included in the class was the child that was being bullied, and the bully. To start the class, I partnered the students with each other, and my first pair was the bully and the bullied. The principal asked me, ‘How did you know that these two students were the ones I wanted you to help?’ I answered, ‘Well, that boy looks like he owns the world, and the other boy looks like his world is over, so I just put the worlds together.’

After a quick warm-up, I brought out the shields for the children to kick. It took only one kick for the bully to knock his partner to the ground. I ran over and said to the bully, ‘I will make a deal with you. I will hold the shield for you, and you can kick it as hard as you like, but can you make this boy feel confident?’ He said, ‘I can do that.’ I said, ‘Can you make this boy feel good about himself?’ He said, ‘I can do that.’ Finally, I raised my voice intentionally and said, ‘Can help this boy enjoy coming to school?’ He answered in a loud voice, ‘I CAN DO THAT.’

My theory of engagement came from Karate Kid, where Daniel was left to train for the tournament and his competition (bullies) were told to leave him alone. I felt that for the bully to help his target feel good about himself, he would have to stop bullying the other student and start helping, supporting and including him. That is exactly what happened.

For the next five weeks, the bully got to know the other student and, unbelievably, they became good friends. The problem I see is that children are not nice to each other because they don’t know the real person inside. They see vulnerable, isolated and distinctive-looking students as a target to put down, which falsely and temporarily raises themselves up.

To continue the story, at the end of five weeks we organised for the group of 20 students to demonstrate their new skills in front of the whole school and a large group of parent onlookers. The last thing I did was to get this talented bully to fly over six shields on the ground and break a wooden board. He was successful on his first attempt, and everyone gave him an incredible round of applause. When all the commotion had subsided, I leant towards the boy, who was smiling from ear to ear, and asked him a simple question: ‘What does it take to become number one?’ He smiled and answered, ‘You need to give, not take.’ I looked at him and said, ‘You’re now number one.’



I hope the ideas in this article will inspire you to help your child challenge themselves, learn something new, become confident in their chosen field, see greatness within others and share their knowledge and experience for the purpose of nurturing another person’s true potential. I believe there is greatness inside everyone: you just need the right person to help you find it and support you on your way to achieving your dreams. By your child sharing their gifts they may find that others are left with all the medals, certificates and awards, but I guarantee you that the personal rewards for helping someone else achieve their dreams are enduring and priceless in comparison.

If you would like to read more inspirational moments or learn from some of the best world leaders, please visit my website and sign up for 30 days of wisdom and advice.

‘Imagine if every child learned the respect, courtesy and discipline martial arts teaches. The world would be a very different place.’CHRIS WHAMOND

Christmas Gift

Monday 6th Dec
Master Paul launches Building People Not Fighters - a practical parenting guide to help discover and nurture your child's true potential to every family in UTKD and signs 1,100 copies.

If you buy a copy online - Master Paul will donate $10 on your behalf to this incredible foundation.


Friday 26th Nov
When the last session of a school program was about to start, the teacher instructed one boy to wait on the side because his behaviour was unacceptable. I looked at him curiously and decided that there was more to this than just simple bad behaviour. I noticed that I was one student short and asked permission of the teacher to include this young boy. During the session I could see that he looked troubled, so I tried to encourage him with words of praise.

When class was over, the assistant instructor and I were cleaning up, when all of a sudden this troubled boy was standing in the doorway of the hall. I said to the instructor, ‘Come with me, as you are about to witness something amazing.’

As we started to walk towards the boy, he moved towards us and we met in the middle of the hall. I bent down to his level and asked, ‘Did you enjoy the lesson?’ He said, ‘I loved the lesson Master Paul and really enjoyed the stories, but I have a story of my own.’ He continued, ‘My grandfather passed away two weeks ago and now I am depressed.’ He was only 10 years old and used the word ‘depressed’ – this made me feel so sad. 

Changing the word ‘depressed’ into something I felt he could manage I said, ‘Do you want to get rid of the sadness?’ He said, ‘Yes Master Paul, I do.’ I said, ‘I want you to go out into the school and help as many people as you can, and when they say thank you or give you a smile–’ I started to raise the volume of my voice and continued – ‘I want you to take that thank you and take that smile and I want you to push that sadness out of you.’ I raised my voice again even louder and said, ‘DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN?’ He replied in a loud voice, ‘I DO MASTER PAUL AND I AM FEELING BETTER ALREADY.’

He left the room so happy and I turned to the assistant instructor and said, ‘Look, he is happier and he has not even helped anyone yet.’

We trained more than 190 students that day in a Taekwondo Kickstarters program and all I wanted to do was come back to the school to see how the young boy was going. I said to the instructor, ‘If you want to know why I do what I do, it is because if you can change one child’s life, your life will have so much meaning.’


Sunday 17th Oct
So many times children are influenced to go in the wrong direction, as it can look more appealing than the same old boring stuff.

What I recommend is to build a bond with your family by simply listening and being interested in each other or just turning up to their special event. These small things over time build a strong bond that will unconsciously influence your child to more towards family and friends instead of the "cool kids".

United Taekwondo builds people not fighters and encourage each students to learn, share and celebrate with their fellow members.

Keep sharing
Master Paul

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