Al Johnson created the Bullies be Gone project. It's a national award winning program for children and adults for the past 32 years. Al has taught thousands anti-bullying, safety awareness, self-confidence and racial harmony. His program's objective is self empowerment training for children, and teens, that prevents and protects against bullying.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 018
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[01:14] Tom's introduction to Al Johnson [01:55] What Al does for his community [03:26] Teacher, banker, insurance agent, and then… [05:43] How Al's program for kids works [08:24] Advice for those who want to ditch the 9 to 5 [09:20] Tips on bullying and what do to about it [13:59] Independent and self-empowered [14:59] Being funny and not frightening kids [17:01] Martial arts background [20:52] Al's online course [24:27] Sponsor message [25:21] Typical day for Al
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
Screw The Commute – https://screwthecommute.com/
Anti-Bullying Expert – http://antibullyingexpert.com/
Via email: email@example.com
Bullies Be Gone Project – http://bulliesbegoneproject.com/
Bullies Be Gone Project books – https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=al+johnson+bullying
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
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Episode 018 - Al Johnson
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:27] Hey everybody it's Tom here. This is Episode 18 and we've got a guy on this episode is doing some really really great things you're going to hear about Al Johnson in a minute. Don't forget Episode 17 Jerry Teplitz was here and talking about rewiring your brain and he's got a program called Switched on Internet Marketing that I collaborated with him on. So you want to check out Episode 17 for that and then our sponsor is the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia. It's a place where you can get marketable skills in about six months. High demand and you won't be buried in debt for the rest of your life like a typical four year college.
[00:01:14] All right let's get to the main event. Al Johnson created the Bullies be Gone project. It's a national award winning program for children and adults for 32 years. Al has taught thousands anti bullying safety awareness self-confidence and racial harmony. His program's objective is self empowerment training for children and teens that prevents and protects against bullying. Al, are you ready to screw. The commute. Hey Al, tell everybody what you're up to.
[00:01:56] Well Tom I'm teaching the anti bullying program that you just described so eloquently all over California and the goal is to get it across the country and to make sure thousands and thousands more children and their families become self empowered.
[00:02:14] Boy this is a big issue in today's society isn't it.
[00:02:18] It's huge. It's huge. The more I teach it the more I find out that so many children are not prepared for the basics and how words just destroy and deflate their self-esteem and their whole well-being and I intend to do something about that.
[00:02:37] Yeah and this has life and death consequences doesn't it.
[00:02:41] Life and Death without a doubt because 4 percent of the suicide of children under 12, now 12 percent actually, are directly related to being bullied. And then even children 12 and older who commit suicide. It's directly related in many cases to bullying.
[00:03:05] Wow. So this is serious stuff you're involved in. And we really thank you for it. We're going to come back to that a little later to give us some tips on what we can do as regular civilians. I don't even have kids but boy it infuriates me to think that this stuff is going on.
[00:03:24] So, did you ever have a job.
[00:03:28] Oh yeah Tom I had more than one job without a doubt.
[00:03:32] What did you used to do.
[00:03:37] I was a full time teacher and special education in high school. I was in banking and the last thing that I did I was actually an insurance agent for a major company. And I was studying to be a financial adviser getting ready to take the series 66 and the series 7 test and that's not too many years ago. That's recent and I'm going What am I doing. What's my purpose? All this mess is not my purpose. I need to change my perspective.
[00:04:09] Was there a particular moment or did this grow over time. Did it grow out of what you saw when you were a teacher. How did you decide to get into this anti-bullying thing and take it on full blast.
[00:04:23] I decided actually you know it started Tom by accident in 1985 I was teaching special education full time. I was running a martial arts school in Redondo Beach part time and I was teaching the martial arts for one of the neighboring cities and suburbs L.A. and they were having a huge child molestation case going on in the daycare center in that city and the city was in an uproar. And so they asked me and I was surprised. Could I start a program that wasn't a full blown martial art program but one that taught kids safety awareness self-confidence anti bullying and that type of thing I'm going Wow that's interesting.
[00:05:08] This was in 1985? I didn't think they invented bullying until later.
[00:05:17] So I took up the challenge and said OK let's do it. And it started from there was first for kids ages Five to 15. And it was a six week program. Then it graduated. It is now an eight week program and for ages 9 to 17 and adults.
[00:05:36] Now when you say program what does this look like. All the kids go to camp with you or you go to their school. How does that work.
[00:05:44] I basically go to their locations wherever they happen to be. You know let's say that there is a scout troop that meets on every Friday at x y z location and they want to actually do the full program so I says OK let's set it up and we set up the program and I will go to their location and actually teach the program. And now we have it online. So there is an online process too because I can't be everywhere at the same time. I'm also now beginning to certify others to be able to teach the program so we can expand it a lot. You know in a broad basis.
[00:06:25] And how is this funded like if a school or a scout troop wants to bring in. How does that work with sponsors or how does it work.
[00:06:32] The school funds it or the parents fund that we're going to be looking at a grant that just came out a government grant where they cover social and behavior problems. We're going to be looking at that and actually applying for that particular grant. And then the parents pay for it. So it's school funded parental funded and organizational funded.
[00:06:56] So you have to learn grant writing I guess.
[00:06:59] And I'm looking for the grant right now because I'm not going to do it myself.
[00:07:03] I actually know one that was in my mentor program and he's in California. So yeah I can put you in touch with him.
[00:07:13] Please do Tom. Please.
[00:07:13] If he can't do it he probably knows everybody that does this. He's been doing it as far as I've known him 15 years or more so I think his dad that. So I'll put you in touch with him when we get off line. Thank you sir. My pleasure. Anything that I can do to help. Like I said I don't have kids myself but it does infuriate me that these things are going on and I want these children to be able to handle it that's for sure.
[00:07:42] Well you know what Tom I'm like you. I don't have kids either because parents will say you know they'll look at me and I work with their kids and they'll go You must be a great dad. Thousands of kids. And then I give them back to you. No I really don't have any biological kids.
[00:08:00] Well I don't either. I don't either. I have four legged furry ones. Lots of them over the years but that's about it. So what would you say to someone that's thinking about going out on their own. They're sitting in a cubicle somewhere and their wishing that they didn't have the 9:00 to 5:00 in the commute especially if you live in California. So what would you say to them?
[00:08:25] I would say Tom that you know if that's your passion and you feel a burning desire to do it and you think you can make a difference and there's a need, go ahead and do it maybe not diving into it or delving into it 100 percent the very beginning but do it. I mean don't pass it by because if you do, 20 years later you're going to regret it.
[00:08:49] Yup. That's for sure. We never tell anybody to do anything crazy but a lot of folks have said keep your 9 to 5 and let that finance your preparations for your new business and get a little nest egg build up. So give us some tips about bullying what we can do if we see it who do we report it to. What do we do about it. How do parents talk to their kids about it. Give us some insights from your world.
[00:09:22] Well you know I think parents and adults should be more aware at school and schools and other places of and especially at home and in schools especially where when something is transpiring between kids that seem like a problem. Instead of ignoring it or thinking it's just minor stuff that kids normally do when the kid just gets slammed to the ground in the restroom slammed to the floor and two or three other kids were kicking him or her. You kind of passed it by. Well you need to really pay more attention and become better aware of what's going on with the children so that you address it. So if it's not a bullying problem then fine you addressed and it's not a problem. if it is maybe you nipped in the bud before it got really serious because the seriousness and the more severe bullying starts off in middle school and middle school they start really getting severe. I've taken weapons from kids in school. I've escorted a kid. I knew the kid and another kid came to me and says Mr. Johnson so-and-so has a knife in his locker. I go really. So I stayed calm and I walked I went up to the kid because I knew him he knew me. You know someone says that you had a knife in your locker.
[00:10:48] Do you have a knife in your locker just tell me. You know we'll get that squared away but just let me know if you have one. And he hesitated and hesitated and he said yes I do have one Mr. Johnson. I tell you what. Let's go to the locker. And you give the knife to me and then we'll both go to the principal's office. why do you have it in the first place. because I'm being bullied and I want to get back at them.
[00:11:18] So we went to his locker time and he pulled out a knife and it wasn't a regular little knife. It was a turkey Thanksgiving carving knife. It was a turkey knife. You know where you just carved the turkey or the chicken or the hen. And I said Oh my God. But no one got hurt. But it's things like that where teachers and adults need to be aware of signals and signs that arise like that.
[00:11:48] This kid wasn't trying to be an active knifer or an active shooter he was just trying to protect himself because nobody else would I guess right?
[00:11:57] He was trying to protect himself because he'd been bullied over and over again. No one was really doing anything about it.
[00:12:04] You know we hear stories like that all the time that when it goes too far. Well we reported it. Is this something that a lot of schools want to push under the rug because it's embarrassing to the school.
[00:12:16] I think it is embarrassing for the school because they don't quite know how to handle it and when they are handling it there's a procedure. In my research I've found that only up to 32 percent of success, 32 percent success in bullying programs that are in schools now. So at 68 percent that's not successful.
[00:12:36] And one of the reasons why is because they're not really approaching it. I approach it a little bit differently I saw a program on TV, a lot differently actually, I saw a program on TV where they had a young lady sitting in the middle of the table about 14 years old and had two young ladies sitting on the other end of the table and two on the opposite. So as to her right to her left and she was in the middle with a two to the right where the bullies verbally bullying her. Well the whole premise of the program was what are the two to the left her friends going to do about stopping the bullying. Well my approach is first what is she going to do. How is the young lady going to be empowered to solve her own bullying problem and not have to depend on the other friends. If they want to help that's fine, but she should have enough empowerment to do it herself and that's not what's taught.
[00:13:27] And that's what your program is based on?
[00:13:29] That's what my program is based on self-empowerment.
[00:13:32] That's really great. You're doing a really great thing. Thank you. So some of these you know some normal questions that I have. They just don't seem appropriate when we have this. This is a pretty heavy subject. So I think I'm going to skip some of the ones I told you about but let's just go to some of the standard ones. What do you like best about working for yourself and what's the worst part about working for yourself.
[00:13:59] What I like Tom is the independence and being able to make decisions and do what I like to do when I like to do it and not have to worry about Oh I only have a 15 minute break or I have a half hour break. Then I got to get back doing something. I really don't like do that. You know that type of thing. That's self empowering to me because it also gives me the opportunity especially as the program grows to help others and to give back and to be in a position to do that. And so I don't have to worry about who can I help and who I'd love to help them but I can't I'd love to give them a part time job but I can't. Well this gives me the opportunity to be able to do things like that by working for yourself.
[00:14:48] So I think I will ask you in all this heaviness has anything funny come out of it or bizarre come out of any of these interactions with the students and so forth.
[00:15:00] Yeah I've had a lot of funny incidents actually. You know one since it's such a serious serious subject matter when I teach it when parents see me teach it they go wow you approach such a serious subject matter and it's not frightening the kids and they seem to be having fun and learning it. And I said well I try. I let them know without a doubt this is serious I teach a technique called the stop sign technique and I think it's very similar to something that I got from you in the brutal self defense course where people are coming into your space and you're allowing people to come in well I teach children, I say you have a space zoned that yours and no one else's. And so someone trying to enter your space they only have a certain distance to get close enough to you where you need to make sure they don't do this or at least they know you don't want them there. Well at the stop sign technique is about a four or five step situation they learn.
[00:16:04] And the third step first of all they learn how to step back quickly away from the person using the body language and their shoulders go back saying you know the body language saying don't come close to me then I have them I said Now I want you to do to make the strangest weirdest face that you've ever made. Like here's a kid getting in your face that you don't really like this kid. I want to see the weirdest faces you've ever made. Tom these faces are... I can't stop laughing sometimes. I'm trying to stay serious. And these faces are just cracking me up and then some of the kids are cracking up because they know what they're doing. So it's really a funny training situation. But when it's over these kids can react in a hurry. And that's what I'm teaching them to relax react and respond.
[00:16:55] That's really great we're kind of kindred spirits and you've got a great martial arts background. Tell them about it.
[00:17:02] Yeah I started studying the martial arts Tom, when I was teaching special education in high school and I used to pass by When I was teaching special ed as you probably know and maybe the listening audience many of them know, It's tough because you're working with with especially at the teenage level you're working with 12th 9th graders who are years and years behind academically. And as they get older you know they tend to get you know the behavior problems set in and they don't anything to do with read and write and all that stuff. And many times I was so stressed coming home. And I would pass by this martial arts studio every day and I just look at it and kept going. And someone said you know if you want to get rid of the stress maybe you should try the martial arts. I said what? You know I'd rather grab a six pack of something. No no no. You try it. So I actually walked into it took me four or five months to walk into the studio to ask permission to watch a class. So I was sitting and watching this class and these students the structure had them going back and forth and back and forth this was Chun Kuk Do Chuck Norris system you know back and forth back and forth.
[00:18:24] And you know the condensation was coming off the windows and filling the windows. And he wasn't stopping them and I'm going oh my God these kids are 15 years younger than I am. I get up to walk out. And the instructor tapped me on the back and he said Can I help you. I said yeah I thought maybe I want to do this but I'm too old for this and he looked me right in the eye Tom, and says you know what if you think you're too old for this they're probably going to be many other challenges in your life that you're going to think you're too old for and never find out you're not. I'm going oh my god.
[00:19:03] Oh man he got your face, didn't he.
[00:19:04] I signed up the next day. And you know I never thought I would withstand it as long as I did. I never thought I would get to the rank that I am. I never thought any of those things at the very beginning but it was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. And I still do it of course.
[00:19:24] What rank are you. I'm a fifth degree. What's the system? Chun Kuk Do and Hapkido.
[00:19:33] So it's interesting because I started out in Shorin-ryu karate when I was in high school and we were walking barefoot and freezing ponds and breaking rocks things like that. And I was pretty much doing this all my life until I really got my indoctrination when I had a nightclub for six years when I had bikers trying to kill me and gunfights and knife fights. And probably over a hundred violent encounters with bikers. They shot my car up with shotgun blasts. So I started the thing called brutal self-defence which you're aware of and it's interesting because we learn from each other. An old coal miner told me the schoolhouse door is always open. So I learned from you you learned from me and the whole thing is to stay safe because none of this is us being aggressive it's us being actually you can be less aggressive when you know that you don't have to be aggressive. Exactly. And it can defuse situations a lot of the ones that puff up are the ones that are going to get knocked out when they're pushing things. So tell us how a person could participate. Tell us what you got going you say you have an online course that anybody can take?
[00:20:53] 98% percent completion of that online course. But it's being set up and that anyone can take. They'll be able to take the eight week course online. And then of course there's still the live course where I actually go and then now training others how to teach it. So it's a whole broad conglomerate.
[00:21:21] Currently can you go anywhere outside of California and do it or you're limited to your local area.
[00:21:28] I can because I'm set up now where I can travel and travel to do everything set up to be able to do that. And you know if someone wants to have me come and program or teach the program in Texas or Virginia or whatever I can do that.
[00:21:46] Yeah that's great. Now the course is it designed for the parents or the parents buy it and the kids take it or both or what.
[00:21:56] It's a combination. It's both because the books that I have out now the one main book. I approach the great part of it is with poetry. And this is original poetry that I've written because poetry is taught in schools but not like I'm teaching it. These are all anti bullying training poems. And so the kids act them out and train them. They learn the words and which even cover cyberspace bullying. Also what to say how to react to some nasty words coming from the bully online. What do you say to offset that. And as the main book.
[00:22:34] What's the title of it? It's the Bullies Be Gone project poetry book.
[00:22:38] And then there is. A parent teacher guide where the parent and teacher is set up where it can be taught in the classroom. This is where I'm approaching administrators trying to say telling them that look this is supplemental social skills education and it covers a lot of the things Common Core standards that you guys are doing in school because I was an ex teacher so it covers vocabulary covers creativity covers critical thinking it covers reading and all these aspects while they're learning anti bullying and social skills because social skills are not taught in schools. That's for sure. And so there's the parent teacher guide.
[00:23:24] Then there's the main book and then there is a student workbook and my program also has racial harmony and understanding and tolerance so I have another book coming out in two months that is coming together in racial harmony understanding and tolerance. And that has a workbook also which is for schools and homes.
[00:23:47] So all of this stuff will be listed. There are two Web sites one is antibullyingexpert.com. Ok we're going to have all this in the show notes so they can just click on it. OK. And what's the other one? The other one is BulliesBeGoneproject.com
[00:24:12] All right that's great. So we got to take a just a brief break for a message from our sponsor and we will be right back and Al's going to tell us what a typical day looks like in his business and how he stays motivated. We'll be right back.
[00:24:28] Today, almost two billion of you will go online retrieving over 100 billion searches for information, goods and services, and 6 million of you will view a page on the internet before this commercial is over. The world has changed and so is the way we do business. At the Internet Marketing Training Center, you can study online at your pace to fit your schedule, and you can graduate with the skills and knowledge to compete in the global marketplace or start your own home based business. Call us today or go online at IMTCVA.org. Because, it's about time. Yours.
[00:24:59] All right. We're back with the fantastic Al Johnson who's doing a great service for the world with his anti bullying efforts and he's still in business for himself technically so he screws the commute daily. So what's a typical day look like for you, Al.
[00:25:21] I'm an early riser. Some people will say that about themselves. I get up pretty much when I want to get up but usually it's in the morning mid-morning something like that. Check my daily planner to see what I'm going to do and what I need to do that particular day. I check my e-mails.
[00:25:48] So I'm still stuck on mid-morning. Is that like 10 or 11. Is that what you're saying? About 9:30ish. Ok well that's still passed I was going to say passed rush hour in L.A. but it's rush hour all day. All right so you get up you check your e-mail. What else?
[00:26:13] I check my e-mail and then after I check my e-mail I make some calls that are why I feel necessary sometimes you just follow up calls to People asking information to proposals to follow that up and have something planned that day that a session or whatever I prepare myself for that training session if I have one coming up soon I'll see where I am in regards to that particular training session and make sure I'm fine tuning everything in regards to that.
[00:26:48] And I usually exercise myself and physical exercise mental exercise meditation and then have my meals during the day and usually late around in the evening or the afternoon actually late afternoon I'm kind of maybe winding down a little bit. I want to watch something like an event sporting event or something I'll do that. I don't per se look at sitcoms and normal TV shows and all that I think it's pretty much a waste of time I'll listen to some music and that type of thing and then I begin to wind down and I usually don't go to bed until about After 11:00 o'clock or so.
[00:27:33] So it sounds to me unless you had a training session you didn't have to leave the house.
[00:27:38] I really didn't. No. I really didn't have to leave the house. I could do pretty much everything right at home and with the phone with the computer and get everything done.
[00:27:50] That's what we like so how do you stay motivated when you're there isolated.
[00:27:54] I stay motivated because Tom, the kids that need my help motivate me. If I go I know realistically that Probably 95 percent of children and teens do not know the skills that I impart the few skills that I teach. And so when someone people ask me Well how do you know how can you say 95 percent. I said well over since 1985, so it's about 32 years or so, I've been teaching thousands of children and teens and every class that I've had in front of me, I ask them at the end of this eight week program I said do you think your friends, I want you to be realistic, know what you've learned in these last eight weeks. I've had a hundred percent of the kids say my friends don't know this and I'll say do you think they should know it. Of course absolutely. All kids should know it. So since there's 95 percent out there I might be cheating it a little bit might be more. Don't know what the bullies be gone project program training that keeps me motivated.
[00:29:07] Yeah and I can see how it would. And when you put that, would you say 12 percent, Or what percentage of these kids that don't know are not going to make it. Yeah. About 12 percent. That is really really scary. So if someone wants to get a hold of you a school district or an organization that wants to bring in or even a parent or somebody is asking questions about your course your books and stuff how should they reach you.
[00:29:35] They can reach me by my e-mail Al@antiBullyingexpert.com.
[00:29:47] We'll have that in the show notes so they can just click on it and they'll have it.
[00:29:57] 800 number's on the site and regular number's on the site. And of course they can reach me on the Web site itself.
[00:30:05] Well that's really great, Al. I'm so proud to know you. Somebody that's doing such good work. You don't have to be doing this but boy I can just imagine the number of children you've saved and the parents that are thankful that you exist in the world.
[00:30:24] Thank you a lot of my education about all this has come from you.
[00:30:30] Well I appreciate that.
[00:30:33] Over the years and the statement that you just made is an enlightening statement that came out that I hadn't thought about up until a few years ago. I actually had a few parents that came up to me and they said Mr. Johnson do you know Have you ever thought about All the lives of the children that you're probably saving? I'm going Excuse me. I hadn't thought of it that way at that time. You are. And I'm going wow thank you. You know and then it just brought a whole new different perspective to the program that yeah I actually could be saving lives.
[00:31:12] Yeah. Every time you look at a child or talk to one of those children in the program that could be the one that exists now because of you and that's a really powerful powerful thing. I mean I like to rescue animals and stuff but there's nothing compared to what you're doing. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me and I hope it inspired a lot of people out there to get behind this effort to support you. You said I'm going to get in touch with that grant writing person to help that along because there's got to be money out there for something like this. This is such a national and actually international topic and the first lady's I think on board with this too. So that should help stimulate some interest. So thanks Al, we really appreciate you coming on.
[00:32:03] And for everybody else this was Episode 18 with Al Johnson. And coming up next episode is going to be a training session. How to Create Quality products from nothing. That's what I'll be doing a whole session on myself.
[00:32:20] And don't forget the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia is a place where you can get a six month education that won't break the bank but will make some bank for you because it's an in demand skill and many many people need your services to do their blogs do their social media do all these kinds of things that most small business people won't do. So check it out at IMTCVA.org. And we'll see all you screwballs next time.
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