The Bully - Preventing bullying through martial arts
By: Dale Norfolk
'A person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are perceived by the bully to be weaker.'
“Fright often occurs, caused by the unexpected. In large-scale strategy you can frighten the enemy not just by what you present to their eyes, but by shouting, making a small force seem large, or by threatening them from the flank without warning
These things all frighten. You can win by making best use of the enemy's frightened rhythm.
In single combat, also, you must use the advantage of taking the enemy unawares by frightening him with your body, long sword, or voice, to defeat him. You should research this well.” - Book Of The Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi1 – Book Of Fire – To Frighten2
As a reason for someone to start training in martial arts or physically improving themselves, bullying is one of the main reasons people often state.3
'at the heart of it, they are all the same; they are scared, scared by their own insecurities and failings'
But a bully isn’t always that big kid down the road that nicks your sweets and pulls your hair. A bully can be big, small, male, female or anything at all. They are someone who sees the opportunity to take advantage of someone they feel that they can dominate physically or mentally, especially if that person has a less aggressive or confident nature. But at the heart of it, they are all the same; they are scared, scared by their own insecurities and failings.
Martial arts trains the body and it also trains the mind, it teaches you the incredible things your body can do when schooled correctly and it gives you the capacity to defend yourself and to say no, in any precursor to physical confrontation.
In fact, as someone who is trained and disciplined, it is more of a challenge not to use what you have been taught to teach someone a lesson. But make no mistake, if it is you or them and your back is against the wall it should indeed always be you that walks away unharmed.
'We learn that the proper application of technique and control is the key to a confrontation not taking place.'
As martial artists we learn that aggression is a clumsy tool of thug and the caveman, and that a confident persona can just be masking a weakness in the bully. A true martial artist is not cocky, he/she is not angry. He/she is controlled and humble in his/her actions. We learn that the proper application of technique and control is the key to a confrontation not taking place. Or even ending a confrontation quickly so that the attacker is shown that there are more ways we could have hurt them and chosen not to.
The same is true from the playground to the workplace, bullies are everywhere in life and the way to deal with them as the example above proves is to make the bully change their ways.
After all, as Ben Parker said “with great power comes great responsibility”4
It is the balance instilled by all forms of martial arts training, whether that be Karate, Kickboxing, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Boxing the list is endless. The hope that you will train and sweat and toil, so that you will never have to face a bully.
The important things to know are that you are never alone in threatening situations; you are stronger mentally than they are - you just need to impose your own will and refuse to be pushed around or made fun of. You have the right to live without fear of persecution, you have the right to defend yourself and you have the right to win.