There has been a lot of talk lately about bullying. Of course bullying has been around forever; big kids bully small kids, large nations bully small nations. In very rare cases a small guy, or a small nation, has the great honor and distinction of being called a bully.
Due to Israel's tough stand against Arab attacks and terrorism, and to due to the ingenious public relations efforts of Arabs, Israel has sometimes been called a Bully nation. The great poet Bob Dylan (Robert Zimmerman) did this topic justice in his song "Neighborhood Bully."
Of course Israel is not a bully but Israel has done what every victim of bullying must do – stand up and be tough. At this point of course the real bullies start whining and complaining – But you are supposed to be an easy target!
These days there are many "programs" to fight bullying, many very elaborate plans by very educated university graduates, but, they do not work. The solution to bullying will never be found inside a meeting room.
I just read a great book called, "Tough Jews", it is about the unflattering history of Jewish gangsters in America. Yes, there were Jewish gangsters,; poor immigrants who turned to crime. Without justifying their behavior or condoning it in any way I will say there is much to learn from this book, if you want to stop bullying.
Jews were seen as easy, soft, targets. The gangs, the other immigrants, the toughs did not see them as anything but easy pickings. Jews were not supposed to fight back, only to debate, pray and send harshly worded letters to the editors. But some Jews were different.
The famous Italian-American gangster, Lucky Luciano, tells how he and Meyer Lansky, a legendary Jewish gangster became the best of friends; life long friends who always stood up for each other. In fact Luciano became so friendly with Jewish gangsters that his Italian buddies said, "Hey Lucky, one of these days those Hebs are going to get you to join a synagogue." Lucky even introduced many Jews to his Italian associates, creating an interfaith gangster association long before interfaith gatherings became politically correct. His friend Vito said, "What are you trying to do? Load us with a bunch of Hebs?"
How did this unique friendship begin?
Young Meyer, a small built skinny Jewish kid, was walking down Hester street (New York's' Lower East Side) when he was surrounded by a group of older Italian boys, themselves immigrants. They said something like, "Jew boy, give us 5 cents a week for protection money if you want to live."
As Lucky told the story, Meyer looked straight at the leader, and said, "F—k you!" Lucky admired him from that moment, there was something in his eyes that meant "Don't mess with me". Meyer of course was not harassed any more, and he did not have to pay the 5 cents per week.
When news of the Holocaust against the Jews in Europe surfaced in America, most Jews could not believe it. The gangsters believed it, they understood human nature and they understood evil. They understood what one needs to do in order to survive in a harsh environment.
Even before the Holocaust the gangsters saw what was coming, "The Kid" said, "We are out to get America by the pocketbook…Hitler and Mussolini, they're trying to do the same thing, only they're trying to get the whole world. And they will kill people by the millions to get it."
The gangsters knew that this kind of behavior "could not be fought with reason or treaties or sanctions…they knew the only way to deal with Nazis was the way you would deal with them on the street." "We knew how to handle them…the main point was to teach them that Jews cannot be kicked around." (Meyer Lansky) (Tough Jews, by Rich Cohen page 189 -190)
I think the gangsters make a good point here, when dealing with bullies, on the street or on the world scene, talk is cheap and useless. You will never be able to talk a bully into not being a bully. So what am I suggesting? There is no short cut. When a child, or adult, learns Krav Maga, they learn to be tough, they learn to take blows and give blows, they learn to stop whining and start fighting. I do not cuddle anyone. As my teacher used to tell us, "Cry at home, not on my time."
I have seen the change in countless students. Over nearly 19 years of teaching kids I saw them change and become real men and women. I had a boy who was so scared to walk home from school he used to shiver in his pants. At home he wanted to sleep in his parent's room. His parents did not know what to do; no "therapy" helped him. He was too soft and wimpy for Krav Maga, they thought. And then, they tried it.
Years later his mother thanked me. "We brought you a boy and you gave us back a man. He now has many friends, is popular, and loves going to school. "
As Rocky says, "There is no easy way out, there is no shortcut home."
You want to learn how to deal with a bully? Come to Krav Maga and become the kind of person that no bully will want to approach, and if one does – you show him once why this was a really stupid mistake.
With the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948, the world saw a new Jew arise from the ashes of the Holocaust and from millennia of persecution in Arab lands. From the four corners of the earth, the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, returned home. The "Dry Bones" came to life creating a democratic state and a powerful military.
But this was not a new Jew at all. It was just the old Jew getting up from the ruins of his destroyed life in the exile, dusting himself off and returning home.
Much has been written about Jewish history but rarely has the Fighting History of the Jewish people been told. Known as the "People of the Book" few know the age-old fighting spirit of this nation.
From the first Hebrew warrior to the Israel Defense Forces of today, we trace the fighting heritage and history of the Hebrew warrior.
We examine the modern Israeli close quarter combat system; Krav Maga, analyze its components and attributes and why it is sought after by security forces worldwide.
"Israel, A Nation of Warriors" takes a look at the society that has produced a military, security system and everyday civilian/warrior heroes that have amazed the world.
e book $10.00