Bully, Anti-Bullying, and Self-Defense in Today's Youth Culture

For as far back as I can remember, bullying has been a part of every kid’s life. Growing up in the Age before the Internet (typing that made me feel REALLY old), bullying was pretty simple: During School hours, people made fun of you, picked a fight, sucker punched you, or maybe you get jumped by several people. The escalation of that is that people come to your neighborhood or your house and coerce you to either hide in fear or come out to fight. Back in those days, the best way to deal with bullying was to present an equal or greater threat back to the aggressor that, at the very least, forced the bully to hesitate for fear of being overpowered in whichever method of bullying he/she chose to employ against the victim.

Nowadays, bullying is SIGNIFICANTLY worse. Sure, there may be less physical altercations statistically. However, the impact of bullying extends past the 35-40hr school week into the ageless and undefeated Internet. There is no escaping the bullying. All of the incidents from the Generation-X days are still present; however, with the introduction of social media (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LiveLeak, WorldStarHipHop, etc.), bullying has evolved into an issue that works overtime. Worse, social media and the Internet gives the Original Poster (OP) the ability to brand their posts with the now-infamous “Hashtag”. Within seconds, a verbal or physical berating can be hashtagged and available for 7 BILLION people to see and comment on - often times joining in on the verbal onslaught exacerbating the already-terrible situation.

Just SOME of the striking statistics about bullying (Source: www.stopbullying.gov):

  • There are generally 4 types of Bullying: Verbal, Social/Emotional, Physical, Cyber

  • 28% of U.S. students in grades 6-12 experience bullying

  • Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others

  • 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying

  • Only 20-30% of students who are bullied notify adults about the bullying

Recently, the staff at The Compound BJJ | Muay Thai | Combatives taught at an elementary school-level Anti-Bullying assembly for Red Ribbon week in Montgomery County, Maryland. We were able to our 2-fold vision of Self-Defense for Elementary School-aged children with the Administration: Talk-Tell-Command and Demand, and “Get B-I-G” (Base, Isolate the problem, Guard yourself). The School Administration chose to omit the latter method of anti-bullying techniques because of a fear that it was too aggressive. This highlighted a major concern to us.

  • How can schools encourage self-defense without actually telling them to resort to fighting every time there’s a bullying incident?

  • Will bullies ever TRULY stop bullying if they aren’t presented an equal or greater level of threat by the victim?

Being a martial arts school that is rooted in REAL and EFFECTIVE self-defense disciplines, bullying is something that we PASSIONATELY want to help stop.

Thoughts?