The Soundest Anti-Bullying Advice I Know
Recently I had one of my junior students come to me looking for bullying advice and ask "I have a friend who is always being picked on what can I do to help him".
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The question is a very difficult one because unless the victim has confidence in themselves or there is some kind of intervention, the bullying is most likely to continue.
My student could be helped by standing up for his friend. But even if he is successful in dissuading the bully, he can't always be around and it could just make it worse when he isn't.
We discussed this problem with the other students, without naming who it was that raised it. The answers were all very practical but essentially amounted to the same thing. You have to get some adult help and intervention.
As the night went on, my student confided more information to me. Apparently, his friend got up in the show and tell at school to proudly announce that he had gained his green belt in Karate. He has been picked on ever since.
This child broke one of the most binding Keeping Yourself Safe rules: "Be proud of what you achieve but be wise who you tell".
My student was very happy to announce that he has adhered to this bullying advice and was thus safe from any potential bullying of this nature, but he was still concerned for his friend.
What They Don't Know Won't Heart You
Telling others that you do judo is fought with dangers if you tell the wrong people. This was a lesson I had learned in school many years ago. Knowing Judo gave me the confidence to hold my ground in many situations but telling people potentially opened the door for them to want to test your skill.
I remember one time when I was in year 10 at school and somehow a year 7 student had found out that I knew Judo. He was two years younger than me and not a fraction of my size. Not to mention I was built like a brick wall in those days (or a year 10 brick wall anyway) yet still insisted on trying to goad me into fighting him. This was nuts but it went on for a whole week.
By the end of the week, I had had enough. Remember now that compared to this kid I was a giant. After a week of badgering with him following right behind me, saying "come on fight me fight me", I turned
took him by the scruff of the neck pushed him up against the nearest wall and said: "Leave me alone".
I think what frightened him most was that he was a couple of inches above the ground when I said it. I never heard from him again. But this story could have been different. The aggressor could have been the giant and it was at this point I realized that what others don't know won't come back to hurt you.
Why This Story?
So what's the point of this story? Well, the point is that people are nuts when it comes to martial arts. Especially young, testosterone pumped men. They are willing to do almost anything to prove themselves and when these people learn that you know some martial art they perceive you like someone to prove themselves against.
You may have learned martial arts for self-defence but there is no need to set yourself up as a target. So if you have done any kind of study: