On Bullying

There have been several highly publicized news stories on people who were bullied and ended up committing suicide, even one that I read was only 10 years old. There was also a viral video online of a parent interviewing her crying son on the subject of his experiences of being bullied. I am going to look at the topic here today, and I hope this helps in some small way if any of you are or know someone who is going through bullying.

Although it might be hard to imagine when looking at a six-and-a-half foot tall, 255 lbs. 6th Degree Black Belt, but I was bullied in my youth. In middle school, it started, and in high school, it only grew worse.

In retrospect, I think the hardest part about the experience was the feeling of isolation. I had friends, but for the most part, none of them lifted a finger to stop what was happening. No one got involved to help me. This does have long-term consequences for the bullied. To this day I only count a very few people as true friends. In general, there are trust issues that a person who was bullied will carry with them. It comes with the territory.

My story changed when I reached a point of being strong enough to fight back. I trained, grew strong and confident, and I solved my issue on my own and was immune to bullies from that point on.

And I never looked back.

Kids today, they don’t have that as an option. When we, as a society, label all violence as wrong, we hinder the ability of the bullied to stand up for themselves. And then we end up where we are now – wringing our hands over what shall we do about the problem of bullying? 

It sounds good to say violence is never the answer. I understand that. I understand the knee-jerk reaction that we should teach our kids to never be violent. I get it. And I will grant that living in a world completely free of all violence would be awesome! But that isn’t the world we live in. It will not be the world we live in anytime soon. There are a lot of bad people in this world, people who would kill you for your shoes, or over words, or over political differences. Hell, I’ve had death threats and I’m a lovable little nobody! There are crazy insane people out there. Thankfully they are outnumbered by those who would never hurt you, but this does not change the base fact that you need to be prepared and able to use violence to stop the bad people when the occasion arises.

Currently, the option of fighting back has been taken off of the table for our youth. What is left is the harder road of understanding that bullying ends. The bully will eventually get bored and find someone else to bully. Sadly, this does not end the actual bullying, it merely changes the victim. But under our current societal structure, this is how things work. The bullied person would do well to find a group to be a part of. Martial arts classes are great, but so is the wrestling team, or even a chess club. Find a group of friends who have a shared interest with you. Spend time with people who understand you and you can build trust with. Report the bully over and over to anyone with authority. Even when you do not like the system you are working in, you still need to follow the rules. There are ways to make the bully leave you alone. Keep working until something is done. It isn’t easy, but you can do it. Know that you are not the only one to experience it. And don’t opt for a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

In closing, if you know someone who is being bullied, please take the step of notifying someone. Many times, the act of asking for help is not within the field of view for the person being bullied. They see only the constant attack and cannot see the way to make the attacker stop. If you are a friend, be a friend. Help someone.