Roundtable Discussion 010: Bullying

The CombativeCorner authors toss this one out there:

     “Have you ever been the victim of bullying & how did you deal with it?”

We ask:  If you have a story that you’d like to tell, please let us know in the comment section at the bottom of the article.  If you have a question for us, or any particular author of The CombativeCorner, please send us an email at CombativeCorner@Gmail.Com.

George “Rush” St-Pierre on Bullying:

“I was bullied,” says St-Pierre, once a nerdy, studious boy who competed in chess tournaments. “I was not very popular.”
To protect himself, he learned Kyokushin karate from his father. That gave him the striking base he still uses today, he says. He discovered the importance of looking up to other experts when at 15 he watched Royce Gracie, a skinny Brazilian jujitsu master, tap out oversize foes in the early days of the UFC. “I asked myself, ‘How can this happen? How can this small guy beat all these monsters?’ ” he says.  And now St-Pierre has the answer.

“Because of the knowledge,” he says, “that every war is won by the strongest weapon.”

[O'Brien, Luke.  Men's Health Magazine, April 2011. original article]

GUEST:  DEBI PURCELL

[Professional MMA Fighter]

I think every person has been a victim of bulling in some form or another – even the bullies – especially the bullies;  and I am no different.  I once had a fighter set out  to try and hurt my fight career in a very manipulative, vengeful way, because of their fear at the time.  At first I was shattered and kind of let it ruin me for a bit.  I then came to realize that the only person she hurt was herself, because although things happened that did indeed hurt my career, and life for a bit, it was ME that caused it for allowing someone to have that much power.  As soon as I stopped feeling sorry for myself  I was able to heal, & feel more compassion for the girl.

This ultimately led to me doing some different things and finding true happiness, and I would say to  anyone out there getting bullied physically or emotionally. Stand up for yourself… do NOT  be a victim in any way, including and most importantly feeling bad for yourself, or reducing yourself to their behavior.

If you can understand – they must be in a ton of pain for bulling you and try to have some understanding.  They are in such a bad place in life, and in the long-term it sucks more for them then for you.  As cheesy as this may sound, it’s true!  Debi Purcell, FighterGirls.Com


I did get bullied a little as a kid since I had two things working against me: I was one of the few Asians in the area, and I was most definitely one of the nerds. Now that I look back on it though, I realize that I had a few strategies that kept the bullying to a minimum. First, I avoided situations that would allow bullying to arise. Bullies like easy targets. Take away the easy bullying opportunities, and the bullies aren’t likely to go out of their way to harass you.

Then there’s safety in numbers. If you have friends across different social groups, you are more likely to have backup close by.  At the time, I was on good terms with a number of people, both students and teachers. I used my social circle for protection.

Of course, sometimes push comes to shove, and you have to shove back. I did once or twice have to push back just to establish that I wasn’t going to be an easy target. That took care of most of the bullies looking for easy pickings, but that didn’t take care of everyone. I was not the model of size and strength in school, so big bullies might still target me. My last defense was pure good luck. I just happened to be friends with a future football lineman. He was a big boy even when we were kids. I didn’t get bothered that much all through middle school just from that.

I’ve been a victim of bullying in the professional field, and this happened (recently) in the field of law enforcement. I tried to utilize the workplace discrimination, harrassment, and retaliation procedures but it only made things worse for my working environment. I was unaware of the EEOC laws at the time and did not find out about the laws until it had already gotten out of hand. What I advise for everyone is to be aware of the EEOC (more info can be located at the websie EEOC.gov). But either way – I have experienced bullying even when there are laws in place to try to stop such behavior.  The behavior still goes on. It’s a very difficult struggle.  I advise people to be aware of the laws, to stay informed of resources for help, such as the EEOC, and try to seek out individuals who have experienced similar incidents and seek help on how to deal with such situations. Sometimes it may be best to accept the way things are; other times it may be best to fight back the best you can with the laws that are in place. You can take action like Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi and fight back peacefully or you can be like Lao-tzu or Chaung tzu and just go with the flow and allow things to take their natural course.

As someone who was a victim of bullying through most of his school years, the topic of bullying is one of my hot buttons. Just the idea of someone being picked on because of something as stupid as their appearance, how they speak or where they’re from makes me angry. Being bullied was the reason I started martial arts in the first place. I wanted to be able to stand up against anyone who would ever try to mess with me. Little did I know that along with learning how to do roundhouse kicks and punches I would also gain the confidence to walk down the hall with my head held high and the self-control and self-discipline to know that they’re other ways to deal with bullies then with physical force. I still got picked on, some confrontations I chose to walk away from, and others I faced head on. Sometimes I look back and think “Man I should have just fought all those guys that used to mess with me.” but I know that would have gotten me into some serious trouble not only in school but at home as well. Besides all it takes is standing up to one bully to show the others that you’re no longer a target. As a martial arts instructor I see a lot of my students dealing with the same bullying issues that I faced when I was younger and I feel an overpowering urge to help them stand up for themselves like I learned to. No one deserves to be picked on, no one deserves to be demeaned.

I was a victim of bullying a few times in my life. I have always been very tall and I think that had a lot to do with why I was not picked on by others much at all when I was little.

When I was in the 6th grade I was attacked on the bus by 4 kids (all much older and bigger then me – at the time 10th graders) at once. I did what I needed to do and got kicked off of the school bus 6.5 miles from my home. This was also during a very strong snow storm we were having. I was called a dirty, wild Indian by the school bus driver as he pulled away. So I am standing on the side of a dirt road on the Reservation in sub-zero temps and I started walking. Just when I did not think I could make it another step. A car rolls up and it is my uncle who said “Get in here!!”

From that point I was bullied at that school. I was told I attacked the 4 attackers and I would be put out of school for 3 weeks. So my mother pulled me from that school and I went to a private Native-run School. That was what I needed.  I never treated anyone mean because of their race or anything like that but many are stuck in the past and still think that way.  I would not changed how I responded to bullying looking back on it. I take no pride in having to hurt others to stay safe but you do what you have to do to make it out alive.

I was very fortunate growing up.  Loving, somewhat “normal” family, and lived an a very safe area of a friendly, mid-sized city.  I was also fortunate that I sprouted quickly, being either the tallest or second-tallest person in my grade-school classes.  I was also very athletic and played a wide variety of sports (as I still do).  But with all this on my side, I was not immune to bullying in middle school.  For some reason it seemed that noone was immune.  There was one memory that sticks into my mind quite vividly:

I lept off the school bus on what I remember as being a beautiful day.  As I made my way to my driveway, a low-riding car drove slowly past and the driver “shot me the bird”, laughed and drove off.  Without a drop of venom, I spun around and gave him a view of my middle finger as well.  It wasn’t that I was “feeling tough,” I just thought we were exchanging a high-five (or sorts).  I walked to the back of my house, to find that I was locked out.  No big deal, my mom was probably just on her way back from the store.  I sat out my homework and started on my math assignment when 4 teenagers, led by a white, tough guy with a faint moustache and sideways baseball cap came stomping up to me.  “WHY DID YOU GIVE ME THE FINGER, PUNK?” he asked me.  (He was nearly chest-to-chest with me) and I firmly explained, “I did it because you did it to me, sir!” (I was maybe too polite)  He came back with “YOU CALLING ME OLD?”  To which I stupidly said, “No, Sir.”  After some pretty harsh taunts and me just standing there and taking it…. he grabbed my favorite Pittsburgh Penguins hat (right off my head), ripped the bill off of it and tossed it in my yard.  They left without throwing a punch.  But they scared me emotionally.  As soon as I was able to get inside, I remember shaking, crying and then getting really mad.

Many years later, I look back on this situation and marvel at how great I handled it.  I stood up to them without looking weak.  I was mentally prepared to act, if needed… but no such boundary was crossed.  I took with this an understanding that strength comes in different forms.  And just because someone appears strong, doesn’t mean that they ARE strong.

I have always been smaller than the average bear. When I was 9 years old, I tipped the scales at a mere 45 lbs.  I had one or two physical altercations with bullies in grade school, but it didn`t get really bad until grade 5. I was the new kid in school, and I was frequently (maybe twice a week) ambushed by a group of 4 kids 1 year older than me on the way home from school.  I never fought back, I just took it. My older sister at the time was friends with one of the bullies older sister`s, and when my sister found out about the bullying, word spread to the other sister – and then to their father. The bullying stopped immediately after that.

In high school I started taking Tae Kwon Do, and that is when my confidence started to grow, and my transformation started.

After that, I was never the victim of bullying again – mostly because of the way I carried myself and wouldn`t let people treat me poorly (without consequence that is).  If I were to go back in time, I would have made sure to hit hard and fast when being bullied, and then have told the authorities (teachers, parents, etc.) rather than keep it to myself.

If it worked for George McFly, it could work for me :-)

6 Responses to “Roundtable Discussion 010: Bullying”

  1. I was bullied in my younger years going through Elementary and Jr. High. I grew up in a very low class city that was segregated. Even though there is no law segregating people, there are still area’s probably in every state which certain groups of people live separate from others. The types of kids that went to my schools often had older siblings which were in a gang. The gang issue was and still is huge there today. I was not in a gang and I was often bullied by the other “cool” kids. Drugs were spread around at an early age, the earliest I can remember someone trying drugs was at 10 years old. My parents were a little more successful than “low class” and therefore it reflected on me. My father worked for the State, and my mom worked for the county so they made okay money. I was made fun of a lot, called names, and I was afraid of confrontation. I had kids that put me in headlocks, punched me, kicked me, etc. I don’t seem to recall standing up to the bullies at such a young age. I simply was not raised around violence and I was not use to dealing with it. No kid should ever have to deal with it at such a young age. Its a shame. In Jr. High I had a growth spurt. Some of the same kids still bullied me and tried to instigate fights. I started fighting back finally. I never started a fight, and I wish I didn’t have to fight but that’s the reality of the situation. Most of the time you would get suspended and on one rare occasion I did not. I got sick and tired of the bullying and decided to stand up to it is what I told the teachers. I had to fight a lot. I think that parents have a huge role in a child’s life. How you raise a child can have an unbelievable impact. The schools do not encourage fighting and the punishment for both the victim and the instigator are the same, suspension and maybe expulsion. I think the school and its staff should take a bigger responsibility in anti-bullying. Kids are on drugs, they have weapons, and the school knows this. Kids are killing other kids, teachers, and themselves. Anybody who wants to ignore that fact is a fool. I wish we could have a positive place to learn for these kids. Thanks for reading everyone!

  2. [...] had to say about “Bullying” as our Special Guest to our Roundtable Discussion – HERE [...]

  3. I wanted to say when I was young I was always one of the little one in the class. I feel that what helped me alot was I started my wrestling at 5, I learned from a young age to always stand up for myself and earn respect. When I was in High School I was the Team Captain on my High School wrestling team. I went down to the locker room to find one of our wrestlers on our team really making fun of a kid in our school that was little slow, he had hard time talking, and was just pure good loving person with great heart. I seen it and went up to the fellow wreslter that was doing this and stopped him. I told him he needed to say he was sorry, he needed to make sure he never did that again, if not I was going to beat the crap of him. I feel it is not best to goto violence. I feel you have to do what you should, you need to stand up if you can for others, you need to show love and care.

  4. This is a great blog. I represent an up-and-coming non profit anti-bullying organization, and I was wondering if I could use your awesome logo with the hand… Please let me know if you have rights to the artwork, or who I can contact, thanks!

    • Ryan, we do not own the rights to the image. It’s one that has been shared around and fit the needs for the article. Stay in touch and good luck with your organization!

      • Thank you very much for contacting me back I appreciate the info you have given me I will be using this photo on my website please feel free to check my website out and we shall keep it touch
        Ryan Kacer – CEO of bullying is a wound

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