WHAT is bullying? It is the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate someone, to force him or her to do what one wants.
Usually bullying happens among school children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Both the kids who are bullied and who bully may have serious, lasting problems.
Have you been a bully? Have you been bullied?
I was bullied in elementary and high school!
It was quite challenging to be of Chinese ancestry at a time when Chinese were ostracized, were known to be hard working and doing menial jobs, or were still simply starting off in micro businesses. “Instik … beho” “ chonga chonga” were taunts that ring in my mind.
I would always be seated in front as I was one of the smallest in class. I remember chalk or crumpled paper being thrown at the back of my head by classmates seated behind. My notebooks or personal belongings would get lost, and classmates would laugh while I would be looking for them. I would often be “kinukutos” (scratched on the head) by bigger classmates. It may have been simple fun for them, but I am sure, I was crying on the inside, and suffered from their behavior. But I never complained nor reported these incidents to my teachers, my parents or to my two older brothers, who I am sure would have come to my defense.
What did I do about it? Nothing much, I took them in stride. I know that it built up my resolve to do well in life and “show” them.
Perhaps, subconsciously, I wanted to be able to defend myself against the numerous bullies in school. Thus, I took up “kung fu” lessons in high school at the Bell Church, then “Karate” at the SiKaRan Club at Mabini Elementary School.
When Taekwondo started to be in vogue, I took lessons and brought my children along. Then I took up Aikido when Steven Seagal showed off his prowess in a number of action films. Unfortunately, I stopped as I couldn’t do the tumbling and rolling stunts that were part of the defensive moves.
Did I ever get to beat those guys who bullied me? Physically, no. I had the skills but never used them in street fights or to get back at them. It is enough that I know I can stand up to them. That is the self-confidence and discipline that true martial arts training develops in its practitioners.
For the past 5 years, since age 59, I have been taking boxing lessons from various trainors, and spar on a daily basis, at Burnham Park.
I can proudly say, that I have been privileged to spar with over 40 to 50 current and former boxing champions and boxing aficionados. Of course, some of them control their punches and their offensive moves, but nevertheless, it is a great challenge not knowing what might hit me when my defense falters, and quite fulfilling when my punches penetrate their defenses.
Nope, I do not imagine punching those who bullied me in the past, but I certainly wouldn’t back down from a serious challenge, but only in self-defense.
With the onset of cyberspace, bullying has taken on a new format. Cyber bullying is now common. My advice is to avoid a cyber altercation. When bullied, and only when a clarification is necessary, let a friend defend you with a short and brief rebuttal, and that’s it. The issue will die down without fuel coming from you.
My Dearest Children,
I am glad you have gone through your childhood without any serious bullying and effects of bullying; at least, none that I know of.
When your kids are of school age, advise your children to inform you of any brats or schoolmates who pick on them or gang up on them. That way, you can guide them on how best to counter those bullying acts.
Encourage them to have good friends who will stand by them and who will positively influence each other.
Help build their self-confidence. Let them know you are around to guide and support them when they are right, but will correct them and not tolerate acts of wrongdoing.
Encourage them to take up martial arts as a sport and as a means of building self-confidence and for self-defense; never as a tool to bully others or to seek trouble. True martial arts teach discipline and develop humility and patience. In sports, you realize that there is always someone faster, stronger and better than you out there; if not today, tomorrow. I would recommend taking up Wushu, Taekwondo, Aikido, and Boxing for sports and self-defense.
Aside from building self-confidence, teach them to be humble, and to keep a low profile.
Romans 12:19 “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay”, says the Lord.”
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on November 11, 2017.
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