Martial Arts and Bullying

Martial Arts and bullying are often linked in people’s minds, for two completely opposite reasons.

The first reason people link martial arts & bullying behaviour, is because they think martial artists must be bullies. And certainly many bullies go and learn some martial arts skills so they can put more fear into their victims.

The second reason martial arts and bullying fit together, is that many people who have been bullied seek an answer to their problem by taking up a martial art or a self defense course.

When I was an adolescent teenager, growing up in Hong Kong of all places. My English parents worked there.

I was often bullied at secondary school, King George V School. This was how I got into doing martial arts in the first place.

My mother found out there were Judo classes at the Chinese YMCA in Waterloo Road, Kowloon, and took me along to see the Chinese instructor there, Mr. Fung. (No. he wasn’t a Japanese.)

I started learning how to fall safely and how to throw my training partners (who were very patient and forgiving of my mistakes). And Mr Fung also showed us some self defense moves on top of the regular Judo stuff.

One of these Jujitsu defense techniques involved trapping your opponent’s attacking wrist with your left arm, then slipping to your left and stepping behind him, as you twist his arm back and up.

Your left arm then has him in a hammer-lock behind the back, and your right forearm comes around his neck. This arches his body back and off balance where you control him completely. It’s your choice then whether to add a choke with your forearm to add more pain or to render your opponent unconscious.

We used to practise chokes and strangles in class back then, and there is a difference between the two… A choke cuts off the air supply to the lungs, whereas a strangle cuts off the blood supply to the brain. Some holds do both, but not all. Stopping the blood, and therefore oxygen to the brain, accomplishes a knockout as quickly as 6 seconds. That’s a sleeper hold.

A choke hold takes a bit longer to work, and is a bit more dangerous. If you damage your opponent’s windpipe, he could easily die. That’s why chokes and strangles are only taught to advanced students of the martial arts.

And black belts used to be expected to be able to do Kuatsu resusitation as well. That included first aid for chokes and strangles, plus helping you recover after a kick or punch to the testicles. They would also reset discolations and fractured limbs.

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