A Letter to Zangief Kid, the Bully Crusher

Zangief

Hey, Zangief Kid. Millions of people are talking about you these days. They are talking about that final bullying event, captured on video two weeks ago, that made you Internet famous. Reporters, school officials, and other so-called experts are discussing how such events should be “handled” or “managed,” as if they indicated a simple policy failure.

I think you know better, Little Zangief, and so do I. Now, rather than adding to the punditry, I’d like to say a few words to you directly. But first, a quick recap, and please correct me if I am wrong…

School bullies hounded you for years. They tormented you daily, to such an extent that others were reluctant to be seen as your friend, lest they be forced to share in your suffering.

When a group of bullies ambushed you, their scrawny leader throwing punches while the rest stood by in approval, you finally snapped. They had your back against the wall, both figuratively and literally, Zangief. So, on the fifth punch, Continue reading A Letter to Zangief Kid, the Bully Crusher

“This I Believe” On Martial Arts

This I Believe

This I Believe is an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays that describe their core values. More than 90,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, are archived on their website.

Naturally, some essayists shared their beliefs on, and experience with martial arts. Here are a few of their stories.

Life Is A Spiritual Struggle
by Joseph Laycock (Brighton, Massachusetts)

Over the din of boxing gloves pounding against leather bags, I struggle to hear this Brazilian explain yet another way to choke someone unconscious. This is a martial arts gym. Most of the regulars are amateur fighters with dreams of going professional. When they’re not here, some of them work as firefighters or bouncers. I’m definitely the only schoolteacher in the room.

My students take interest in my training. Sometimes I’ll enter the classroom with bruises or a slight limp from the gym. In world history, I’ll discuss the cultural significance of the fighting styles I study. In Thai kickboxing, the eight striking weapons — fists, shins, elbows and knees — represent the eight-fold path of the Buddha. Brazilian jujitsu has more improvisation than Japanese martial arts, which reflects different cultural attitudes towards tradition.

Every class asks me the same questions, “Have you ever beat anyone up?” And, “Why are you a teacher instead of a professional fighter?” When I tell them the truth — that I have never been in a fight and have no aspirations to go professional — I get a range of reactions from disappointment to accusations of cowardice.

“So why do you do it,” they always ask.

I believe that life is a spiritual struggle. My battle is not against another fighter but against the unjust and apathetic system that is attacking my students… [continued]

Continue reading “This I Believe” On Martial Arts

The Snake and the Angry Swami: A Cautionary Tale

Rolling Thunder

The following short story was excerpted from Rolling Thunder: A Personal Exploration into the Secret Healing Powers of an American Indian Medicine Man. In this section, Doug Boyd sits by the campfire with Rolling Thunder, sharing stories he heard from other spiritual teachers.

On the train to Brindavan a Swami sits beside a common man who asks him if indeed he has attained self-mastery, as the name “Swami” implies.
“I have,” says the Swami.
“And have you mastered anger?”
“I have.”
“You mean you can control your anger?”
“I can.”
“And you do not feel anger?”
“I do not.”
“Is this the truth, Swami?”
“It is.”

After a silence the man asks again, “Do you really feel that you have controlled your anger?”
“I have, as I told you,” the Swami answers.
“Then do you mean to say, you never feel anger, even–”
“You are going on and on–what do you want?” the Swami shouts.
Continue reading The Snake and the Angry Swami: A Cautionary Tale

Bullying and Harassment Prevention Tips

Two weeks ago, I asked Martial Development readers to share their bullying and harassment stories. Here are the responses:

Of Brick Walls and Petty Tyrants by Karen Shanley
How I helped my daughter deal with a difficult teacher.

How to Deal with an Office Bully by The Career Counselor
…I really need to keep this job but I’m dreading going to work everyday because she is so mean. What should I do? Continue reading Bullying and Harassment Prevention Tips

How Do You Deal With a Bully?

Big dog, little dog

A Bullying Blog Carnival
At some point in our lives, we’ve all fallen under the predatory gaze of a bully.  Maybe you’ve suffered some verbal harassment or minor physical abuse.  Or, if yours was a severe case, you may have been physically and emotionally crippled.  Hopefully, you managed to learn something from the experience.  Will you share it with us?

How have you dealt with bullying and social dominance rituals, at school, in the workplace, or elsewhere?  Were your responses effective?  Do you have any prevention tips for the rest of us?  I invite you to write a comment below—or a post on your own blog—about your bullying and harassment trials.

Two weeks from now, I’ll write up a summary of your stories and strategies (with links to your blogs). Thanks for your participation.

Breaking The Drama Triangle

The drama triangle is a model of dysfunctional social interaction, created by psychotherapist Stephen Karpman. Each point on the triangle represents a common and ineffective response to conflict, one more likely to prolong disharmony than to end it.

The Drama Triangle
The Drama Triangle

Participants in a drama triangle create misery for themselves and others. By applying the physical principles of martial arts to the psychological realm, you can transform this lose-lose situation and create a more positive outcome for everyone. Continue reading Breaking The Drama Triangle

The Three Craziest People I Met in Aikido Class

Martial arts is one of those rare arenas where people show their true personality, without disguise or pretense. Unfortunately, some of these people are real nut jobs!

Here are three short stories of artifice and cowardice, taken from my experience in the gentle art of Aikido. Continue reading The Three Craziest People I Met in Aikido Class