Zero Tolerance for Bullies

I was asked what I thought about bullies several times on my recent UK visit.

Now - I have to admit that some small part of me wants to try to 'save' them; change them; fix them. And perhaps, I have (unwittingly) fixed a few over the years. The odd bully finds his way into martial arts training - but I have found very few (if any) that have survived in the BJJ scene; they usually get trounced pretty quickly before they make a hasty retreat, never to be seen again. I sometime wonder, where they go? Do they head to other martial arts schools - do they end up terrorising people there - do some of them even end up running their own martial arts schools?

I hate bullies - in fact, I think I have a pathological hatred for them.
I have been on the nasty end of bullying behaviour when I was a child - and as an adult, I find myself completely lacking in tolerance for them.

When someone says 'You aren't man enough ...' that's a bully talking.
When someone pokes a finger in your chest ... that's a bully poking.
When someone says ' Do it or else ...' thats a bully threatening.

I probably took up martial arts training as a way of trying to cope with bullies. So naturally, I find it quite ironic to find the martial arts landscape populated with the odd bully. I have seen them, in their various guises, all over the world. They operate on the belief that no-one will call them out - they operate by picking their targets carefully - they operate on the fragile and easily fooled.

Bullies are dealt with in the same way as the boogie man ... you simply shine a light on them. The bully expects you to turn the other cheek - to walk away - to bend to his will - but when we don't, when we stand firm, irrespective of consequence, it's usually the bully who folds to make a better bet another day. It doesn't usually fix the problem though - because usually, the bully will just run off and find an easier target. But irregardless; I am a firm believer in zero-tolerance for bullies. I will always shine a light on them. JBW


Inger Craven said…
Fantastic John, zero tolerance!

We’ve been teaching our sons, “back off, go away” which Andrew picked up from one of Melissa’s kids classes. I witnessed our oldest son (James, 5) do just that while we were at the rugby club the other day. One particular kid (whom James has mentioned to me before as being nasty) was really getting in his space and trying to bully him into doing what he wanted, and I could see James turn on him, and say “back off” with confidence, and the bully walked away! It wasn’t mat perfect of course, but the concept was there and it worked. Made me proud to realise we can give our kids the skills and confidence to deal with real life situations.

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