Friday, December 08, 2006

Fighting without fighting

I've read that the ultimate karate is to be able to vanquish your enemy without fighting. I would like to share with you a true story of how my children achieved this phenomenal achievement just a few days ago.

My three youngest children were walking home from school. My 9, and 10 year old daughters were walking ahead of my son who dawdled by looking at the snow on the bushes, and skipping around happilly in the snow. My little 7 year old son bent over to pick up a snow block that was laying on the ground of the sidewalk. He didn't realize that he had done this directly in front of a sporadic school bully who happened to be non-chalantly swinging a stick at the time. The bully decided to strike my son on the small of the back.

My son stood up in shock and pain calling out "Hey! That hurts!" My 9 year old daughter, and 10 year old daughter stopped walking when they heard this, and turned around to see the bully say "Yah? that hurts? What about this?" as the bully swung the stick over and over striking my son over a dozen times.

At first, all 3 of my children froze at their first experience of such violence and brutality, but then my 10 year old daughter unfroze.. she rushed in yelling "Stop this! It's wrong!" and had the bully disarmed within seconds. She tossed the stick far away, and started pulling my son into a safer distance. The bully started striking at my 10 year old attempting to get to my son. My 9 year old daughter ( who trains more frequently in karate) came in between the bully and her siblings. She put on her fiercest face, and commanded the bully to "stop, and go away" in a very loud kiai voice. Now.. this bully was a good head and a half taller than my girl, but that made no difference to my daughter. The bully decided that my 9 year old would make as good a target as the others, and proceeded to try to strike her. My daughter went into defensive stance, and managed to block and thwart all of the bullies attempts to harm her. Quickly the bully became frustrated that the 10 year old was getting my son to safety, and that the 9 year old was successfully avoiding her strikes. The bully spit out swear words, and made a strong attempt to push my 9 year old daughter down onto the ground. My daughter set her stance even more strongly to absorb the shove.. and felt... nothing. The bully had put all of her strength into this attack, and my daughter was taken by surprise that there was no strength in it. Looking back in retrospect, my daughter admits that her next reaction was not the most appropriate, but she just couldn't help herself. She burst out laughing at how patheticly weak this bully's attack was for all the scary noise the bully was making. At this moment, my daughter realized that it would have been easy for her to hurt the bully quite badly if she wanted to... but then she remembered her Sensei teaching her that karate is to be respected for the damage that it can do, and that you should focus on getting away from a fight as soon as you can, if you can.

The bully stopped in shock at my daughter's laughter. She pulled away, retrieved her stick, and walked away sending some swear words into the air in futility.

The whole scene took less than a minute to happen. My daughters supported their younger brother with their arms around his shoulders as they walked him home. The winter parka, and ski pants had protected him from any bruises or injury.

I had taught my children that silence is the bully's helper, and if something bad happens to my children that they have to sound an alarm by telling an adult. When my children arrived home, they instantly told me all the details of what happened, and the names of some other children that witnessed the event. We contacted the school, and each one of my children went into the principal's office to give their account of the event. The school pulled in the bully, and handled the discipline quickly and efficiently.

I'm very proud of how my children had handled the whole situation.


Anonymous said...

You should be proud of your kids. I'm glad they confided in you - too many kids are either ashamed or afraid to speak up when they really should. Thankfully, the school responded in the proper manner.

supergroup7 said...

Yes, John.. Many children are ashamed, and/or afraid to speak up... so the bullies continue their nasty behaviour. The key to ending any injustice is to speak out the truth loudly, and persistently.

I also warned the teachers of the school that my children will alert me to any further interactions with this bully that needs attention. If the bully so much as approaches them in a frightening way verbally, or physically in the future, no matter how trivial, I will be at the door of the school office so fast that the wind of my movement will precede me. This was not said to the school in a threatening way, but more in a manner that bespoke the fact that I expect that my children can turn to the adults around them with confidence that the adults will work towards creating a safe environment for children to learn.

[Mat] said...

Smart kids.

Hope that works out.

I remember not being bullied much. Only once, in fact, and I pushed the guy so hard, he actually fell down without realizing that I could push that strongly. I got quite lucky that it ended there.

It's really saddening that stuff like that happens... But it's great how they reacted.

Cheers to them!