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.
“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.
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 :-)
This entry was posted on April 19, 2011 at 3:34 am and is filed under Discussion Question, Roundtable Discussion, Self-Defense, Violence with tags bullies, bully, bully stories, Bullying, Champion, cyberbullying, Debi Purcell, FighterGirls, fighting, George St. Pierre, i was bullied, Luke O'Brien, Men's Health Magazine, MMA, picked on, Schoolyard Bully, UFC, Victim, violence. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.