How To Deal With A School Bully

This is an email I woke up to read first thing one morning:

Hi David,

At school I get bullied by a boy, he keeps punching me in my head and kicking me.

I have had enough, and am going to fight him, but I need to do something that will cause him pain and make sure he doesn’t mess with me again.

Please can you help?

This was my reply:

Dear Jim (not his actual name),

Be careful that YOU don’t end up in trouble, even if you are defending yourself.

I taught my kids that they should fight back if they were bullied. (My wife had twins, a boy and a girl.) And we both decided Aikido was too complicated for the kids when they were little, and it was too easy for them to hurt someone seriously. (They used to watch us train when they were small and try to copy what we did.)

So when my son Jordan was punched in the mouth by one of the boys at primary school, he did exactly as I had shown him and kicked the boy in the balls.

End of fight.

But…The schoolboy, who was Australian Chinese, told his parents when he got home. I know the Chinese culture, since I lived in Hong Kong for more than 20 years. They are extremely sensitive about damage to their family jewels, after all, maybe their son wouldn’t give them any grandchildren?

(He had been hurt and shocked, yes, but he wasn’t actually injured.)

The parents complained to the school principal, and he lectured my son and called me and my wife to attend the school to discuss the incident.

I told the principal my son had been taught never to pick fights, but he had been instructed to defend himself. And no, we weren’t apologetic.

The headmaster didn’t like that, but the guy couldn’t put me and my wife in detention, could he?

In the end, my son Jordan and the other boy became excellent friends.

But as for you, young Jim. I cannot see what’s been happening with my own eyes, and I won’t be there to step in if either of you goes too far in a fight.

Self defense laws in Australia (and the U.K. where young Jim lives) are very strict about self defense and what you can do to defend yourself. Magistrates get very nasty if they think you have used more than MINIMUM FORCE to protect yourself. And being such protected beings themselves, unlike us mere mortals, the chances are high that the judge or magistrate has neverĀ  been in your situation.

So, Jim… Is there a Judo club in the local area where you can join? And if you find one, you must KEEP YOUR TRAINING A SECRET.

Why? Because it takes time to build up skills, and if the school bully hears of it, he will beat you up all the more (before you have the skill and the confidence to be able to whip him.

I know from my own experience when I was a kid.

Just one thing. When you do fight back, you must hurt your bully fast and keep on hurting him until he is down and he calls out “Enough!” Don’t freak out because now he’s going to be angrier than ever. (I did that once, as a schoolkid, and was walloped for it.)

You make sure it’s YOU who uses anger, and YOU keep hitting and kicking him, until there’s no more fight in the bully.

BUT you must not do any permanent damage. If he is loses an eye, for example, you will go to jail. Teeth knocked out? Broken jaw? Maybe even the same, because it makes YOU look like the aggressor. The bully may also try to sue you for damages, medical bills etc.

You only ever fight if you cannot talk your way out of it or walk or run away. It doesn’t matter what other people think.

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