I am on the road now, Krav Maga Fall Tour 2010, staying at a wonderful hotel in Ohio, Miami Inn. I am downstairs enjoying breakfast with a Starbucks coffee. I am watching a news report on bullying in schools; a sad topic indeed.
The report says that over 50% of kids in school suffer from bullying; being harassed by the tough kids. The experts say that most of the kids never say a word about this until they are nearly at the breaking point.
Sure, I understand. Bullying is terrorism, say, terrorism for beginners. The whole point of terrorism is to inflict fear. Living in Israel and dealing with on a daily basis I can certainly understand. The school bully is basically terrorizing your child.
So what are you doing about it?
How do you deal with the young terrorist, or bully?
I watched the program, while enjoying my coffee, and of course no real solutions were offered, as I fully expected. Sadly, this is a sign of our times.
When Israel used to fight back against terrorism, and refused to negotiate, the entire world criticized us, but it worked. Today's governments are afraid. They are afraid of world reaction, they are afraid of "politically correct" people who will get us killed in the long run.
So the point of terrorism is to inflict fear, yes, we know that in Israel. Terrorism is designed so that young people are afraid to go out to clubs at night, terrorism is designed so that people are afraid to ride buses or travel. Terrorism is designed to paralyze us with fear.
So is Bully-ism. So your child does not speak up, why? Because bullying works, because he is ashamed that he is so weak that he becomes the target of bullying. He is so ashamed that he prefers to be continually bullied rather than admit to anyone that he is the victim of bullying. Do you understand? He prefers being bullied to admitting that he is being bullied. That is the ultimate success of bullying.
The weak are targeted. That is why Israel must be strong and fight back with heavy fire against every single terrorist activity, without mercy. That is why your child must be made strong and be able to stand up and fight back. He must learn to carry himself as a warrior and inspire respect among others.
I have taught hundreds of seminars and observed thousands of participants whom I have never met before. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist, or whatever, but I watch people, as all Krav Maga instructors should.
I watch the participants and I say to myself, "That one is either military or law enforcement". "That one is an athlete or a martial artist". I am hardly ever wrong.
Warriors carry themselves differently. Only a fool would attack them. Stop bullying, but how? C'mon, you know the answer.
Transition to Manhood in Traditional Society
I recall the classic TV series, "Roots"; in one episode the elder of the tribe in Africa takes the boys for "Manhood Training". They tell the parents, "You give me a boy, I will bring you back a man."
That becomes the time to separate the men from the boys. It is a time to grow up, it is time to stop being a victim. Ironically this type of training is good not only for the victim, but also for the bully. Both will learn discipline, both will learn respect, both will learn responsibility. In that training they will be pushed to the edge, without their parents there to "protect" them. The leader will push them to their limits and show them the inner strength they posses. They will learn humility and respect.
In today's society we no longer have this tradition. All we have are relics. At a boys' bar mitzvah at the age of 13, he declarers to the community, "Today I am a Man!, but you know what? He is not. He is not even close to being a man. He is just a little boy who just had an ostentatious, grotesque, party where his parents displayed their wealth.
So what can we do? The closest process we have to this ancient manhood training is martial arts training; Real martial arts, not some watered down version that does not really teach one to defend themselves.
Now I use the term "man", but it applies equally to women. Girls too are victims of bullying and girls also need self-defense.
But no only boys and girls, also men and women. Bullying does not end when you graduate high-school with a bunch of bitter, humiliating memories, sadly it continues into adulthood, into our work places, our relationships.
Train hard, make no compromises, and become one of those people that command respect; when you walk into a room people will look at you and say, "That guy is either military or law enforcement, or a black belt of some sort". Stand up and be proud.