The Big Bully...
I have had occasion recently to be laid up at home while nursing a rather serious injury and have taken to watching the news. I know it’s not the best of habits, however, sometimes it can be quite enlightening despite the monopoly of all the usual “bad news” being continually reported.
One thing that has caught my attention is the recent alarming reports given to bullying. I’m not talking about a short little feature story on the local news, I’m referring about a good deal of major national coverage, as well as a notable devoted lead story on network affiliates as well.
It seems that bullying has reached a national level of attention to the point that actual statistics are being gathered, collated, and interpreted for trend analysis. It has also reached a point where the U.S. Department of Education has issued a letter to schools regarding this trend and the possibility of legally pursuing bullies under civil rights violations. There are sociologists, child psychologists, school board members, lawyers, PTA presidents, parents, and apparently a 'partridge in a pear tree' all putting their two cents into the mix.
Somehow, the parents seem to be listened to the least, I’ll repeat that, the parents seem to be listened to the least on this matter! They seem to only want the very impossible task of keeping their kids safe while at school. I couldn’t believe what I was watching.
That’s right, everybody seems to have some kind of new age hands off or touchy-feely approach as to how to deal with bullies logically and intelligently. In the mean time, there have been several children in our society that have taken their own lives because of the mental and physical pressure brought on by being relentlessly bullied by their peers. It even reaches into the realm of Internet bullying as well.
I have a relatively simple question, just what in the hell is really going on with this and why?
Now, I realize there are any number of circumstances going on with regard to this unbelievable situation and all of them are unacceptable. How can I say that? Well, if children would rather kill themselves than go to school where they are bullied, then the current policies are an abject failure and are useless.
Speaking from a personal standpoint, several years ago a young man in my son’s school was being punched in the head. He brought his hands up to protect his face from the beating and was suspended for three days as well because he made an aggressive gesture by raising his hands.
What the hell is that all about was all I could think of. Any teacher’s nearby? I was informed of the current zero tolerance policy which means that not only does the bully get suspended, but, if the victim does anything other than allow the bully to pulverize him then the victim gets suspended too! Somehow they are supposed to free themselves, being non-aggressive, from the beating and run to get a teacher or supervisor of some kind.
Well, I do suppose it’s now safe to say that doesn’t work. You see, according to national statistics 25% of middle school children are afraid to go to school because of bullies. Looks to me like the bullies are taking over because we live in a society that would rather teach our children to either take a good beating rather than fight back and protect themselves...or, simply live with the torment without complaint.
Well, pardon the hell out of me, but not on my watch!
I have a PHD in Martial Arts Philosophy and Applied Science, which means I can beat somebody up and then write a fancy paper about it. I’m not a sociologist, child psychologist, or a touchy-feely kind of guy. What I am is a fighter, I teach fighters, I teach the Marines fighting, I teach the Navy fighting.
I understand the art and it’s application and quite frankly the time has come, in my opinion, to start letting the kids fight back.
Oh my God, what did he just say? Yep, that was me, now start letting the kids fight back. There’s a lot of talk about children's rights, especially here in California, well how about the fundamental right to defend yourself.
Again, I’ll speak from personal experience...I used to be bullied. I was bullied everyday for what seemed like an eternity, it was only a few years in reality, but, it did seem like forever. When I had finally reached a point where it was time to take a stand. I decided for myself that I was tired of being a punching bag and I stood up. I didn’t win that fight, but I did win self-respect. I was no longer an easy target. The moment I started to fight back the bullies started to hunt some one else. I then started to study the art of fighting and before long the bullies were no longer a threat of any kind.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a student of the arts or not, if you ball up your fist and punch a bully smack in the face, they will feel it and they will most likely go away. Treat them like a balloon and pop them, then watch them go away. If they don’t you still win because you fought back. You stood and said, “I will not be your punching bag.” You may still have fear but it will be less fear than before and each and every day after that the fear will subside and you will be able to hold your head up.
I have had many students through the years and many of those were students because they were being bullied. I would be so bold to say that if you’re a martial arts instructor you have students who came to you because they were the victims of bullies. This is nothing new, what’s new is this whole idea of letting bullies beat on people and then go get the teacher.
Some of those students stay with you forever, some just stay long enough to learn how to fight back. In either case, I have always instructed them to follow a simple rule that they were never, I repeat, NEVER allowed to start a fight. They were allowed, however, to finish any fight that was taken to them. In other words, they had my express permission to defend themselves and to do so in the following manner; ensure that you step back and say stop three times. This identifies to all around that you are completely defensive.
The third time you step back and say stop, when they don’t, POW...let them have it!
I specifically taught them how to do so from a relaxed stance with their hands lowered, this would reinforce the aspect of self-defense as opposed to being squared off in a fighting stance. Sound almost like a set up, huh? Well, bullies are predators. They prey on those they are certain they can control through fear and intimidation, I taught my students to stop viewing the bully as the predator and start looking at them as the prey. This may sound drastic, but it has worked. Frankly, it has worked every time. Granted there have been less than a dozen times my students have had to stand up for themselves, but it has worked.
One of my middle school girls successfully defended herself against three bullies at the same time. She has never had to defend herself since.
Remember, I have never claimed to be politically correct, polite, or any of that other stuff, I merely said “not on my watch” and I meant it!
By the way, if any of my students were suspended for this action of self-defense they would not be in any trouble with their parents or myself. In fact, after one occasion the parents took a day or two off as well and treated the family to a trip to Disneyland.
I realize that there are many folks who will say just how barbaric this approach is, quite frankly, bullies are barbaric. There will be certain circumstances where folks will see the bully as a victim of the child's home or up bringing.
I don’t know about any of that, I do know that if children are afraid to go to school and would actually kill themselves rather than go to the school, then they are not safe and they are being victimized and the policies in place aren’t working.
Sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire and when the time comes to allow children to defend themselves because it is obvious to me that the school isn’t defending the kids.
I am certain there will always be bullies in this world. We cannot allow these bullies to intimidate us. I believe, the more we teach our children that it’s OK to stand up and defend yourself, the better prepared they will be for life. After all, that’s what we’re supposed to be doing isn’t it?
Boys will be boys...
It certainly seems like every news source I read these days has an article about bullying.
To a degree, everyone is bullied at some point in their lives...(even President Barack Obama) by brothers and sisters, bad neighbors, so-called friends and peers, by bosses and lovers... or, by someone or another.
Although it's often said that boys will be boys...and, yes…girls will be girls too, I believe all of us have either been a bully or have been bullied by someone. If not yet, then perhaps it will happen to you eventually.
I think bullying is morally wrong. I think bullying should be addressed and that both bullies and victims deserve our attention. We need to find effective ways to prevent bullying and teach solutions to both bullies and their victims to eradicate such behavior.
But, I don’t think the solution can be found merely by creating some sort of anti-bullying legislation or by making it something else our police departments have to be accountable for either. The last time I looked; Harassment and Assault and Battery were already against the law.
I too was bullied when I was a kid...
I don't know if it was my mom or "Leave it to Beaver" but, some where in my life I learned that I had to stand up for myself? I learned that mom (I was born on Mothers Day 1962) wasn't going to go to school and fight my battles for me.
My dad was in the Marine Corps, I remember now how the message was clear: Stand up for yourself, defend yourself, and fight back if you have to. “You are not going to fight just because you can, but if you fight – you will fight to win. And, instead of getting in trouble, your gonna get a pat on the back and a big 'Atta Boy' from good 'ol dad!”
But, I do remember the old man saying, “Don't go outside and fight in the alley after school. If you have to fight, end the conflict where it started. Hit him right in the “@#$ !@#$%!” He used one of the seven dirty words you can’t say on TV.
Plus, it was closer to the nurse office...if you get your butt kicked and need First Aid.
Then, one day it happened…I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye because fighting was against school policy. It reminds me of an old George Strait Song that I used to sing to my kids called, Love Without End, Amen.
“I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye, cause fighting was against the rules and it didn't matter why”
It was middle school...the kid came up to my locker and said, “After school in the alley, I am gonna kick your butt. So, I hit him right there...three times! He hit the ground and all his little buddies disappeared into the crowd. A teacher then came out of her class and took us both to the principle's office. We both got suspended from school for a few days because fighting was against the rules and it didn't matter why or how it happened.
A few months later, the same thing happened again with a different kid with the same message. He came up to me at my locker and said, “After school Boggs, in the alley – I am gonna kick your butt!” Guess what...yep, (BOOM) I fired the canon and down he went. I got sent to the principle's office and another three day suspension.
Fighting was completely against the rules no matter the circumstances.
After that, no one picked on the little short fat kid anymore. I think the word got around, don’t go up to young Mr. Boggs and tell him you are gonna kick his butt after school because he will hit ya!
Learning to defend ourselves may indeed help us in many situations, but a greater level of understanding each others feelings may eventually help to finally put a stop to rampant bullying. If these types of activities go on unmonitored, it may quickly reach epic proportion in parts of the world...violence levels can easily get out of control.
Bullying happens everywhere in all aspects of life. To keep bullying from becoming any worse, we need everyone to think about their behavior from parents, to neighbors, to police and the teacher in our schools. Our children are learning it from somewhere.
Many parents do not want to admit that their own child may be a bully. And if they do, they often want to pass if off as a childish phase that is a common part of childhood.
Moms and Dads are you listening…as parents we bully (prod, command, nag) our kids to do their homework and chores so that they will grow up to be a valuable part of society.
But, it has to be carefully done or we might be teaching them how to bully. Your Kids just might be learning it from you. Talk to your kids, talk to your Schools and Teachers – let's all help our children to be more tolerant human beings in this world of ours. Stop bullying, or you may find yourself on the receiving end of someone else's unfounded tyrades. Remember, no one deserves to be bullied.
Here are 12 of tips for dealing with bullies according to a respected Conflict Resolution Specialist.
Tip #1 to avoid bullying:
Use good posture. Using good posture is not just good for your health; it also helps you NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #2 to avoid bullying:
Use good eye contact. There are multiple benefits to making good eye-contact with others. It demonstrates active listening. It allows you to make personal connections with others one-on-one or when giving a speech. It also helps you NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #3 to avoid bullying:
Smile and laugh. Smiling at others and displaying a good sense of humor is not just a sign of being a friendly person, it also has two other benefits: it is good for your mental health and it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #4 to avoid bullying:
Practice deep breathing. Remembering to take deep, calming breaths is not only good for your health; it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #5 to avoid bullying:
Save your tears for a safe place. Crying and venting sometimes feel necessary in order to release negative feelings; however, it is important that your child not allow a bully to witness those tears. Finding a private place to cry helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #6 to avoid bullying:
Spend time with friends. Having friends feels good as it gives you allies and a support system. Being a good friend enriches your life even more. Having friends and being a good friend also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #7 to avoid bullying:
Practice your talents and skills. Practicing your talents and skills are not only an important way to enrich your life, it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #8 to avoid bullying:
Tell an adult you’re being bullied. Bullies are counting on the fact that you either won’t be believed or that you won’t have the courage to report that you are a victim of bullying. Telling an adult who you trust helps you to NOT become a continued target for a potential bully.
Tip #9 to avoid bullying:
Practice good hygiene. Using good hygiene is not just important for general good health and well-being, it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #10 to avoid bullying:
Practice your social skills. Learning good social skills is not just vital to having healthy interactions with people all through your life, it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #11: to avoid mob mentality:
Divide and conquer. Divide and conquer by interacting with bullies one-on-one at a calm moment. As a group, that mob mentality takes over and they become overly aggressive. Making connections with each one individually helps you NOT become a target for a gang of bullies.
Tip #12 to avoid bullying:
Self-Mentor rather than getting revenge. Bullying usually perpetuates a chain of pain of bullying back or bullying others. Instead of getting revenge, self-mentor. Find ways and activities to make yourself feel better as this too helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.