Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Of wrestling, bullying and the nuclear option

We hesitated in posting the following video as we try to hold postings of two kids knocking each other around with one ultimately getting the better of it to only one or two a month.

The video first and then the accompanying story. (If embed no worky, please go to the link provided below)

THE virus-like spread of a video showing a bullying attack and retaliation in a western Sydney middle school may be glorifying and even encouraging violence in the schoolyard, a leading bullying expert has warned.

The video, watched by thousands of people on Facebook and YouTube, shows a slightly built 12-year-old student antagonising a larger 16-year-old, punching him in the face as a friend records it on his mobile phone and at least four other students watch.

Advertisement: Story continues below Suddenly the 16-year-old grabs the other boy and throws him head-first on to the concrete. There is a cracking sound as the 12-year-old's ankle connects with a timber bench.

The school, Chifley College's Dunheved campus at St Marys North, has suspended both students and called police after seeing footage of the fight, which took place on school grounds about 10.30am on Monday.
(italics, ours)

How is that going to encourage bullying? That would appear to be the ulimate PSA against bullying as agree or not with the retaliation tactics, we imagine the bully will be thinking long and hard before he starts smacking around anyone ever again.

Before our round of questions, while watching this we had a confirming observation. While back at Seminary, our roommate for 3 years there was a wrestler and often we would work out with him serving as a sparring partner. Besting him by a good 30 pounds and about 5 inches, it was a great workout for him and an absolutely grueling workout for us. We've at least tried them all and there are no more gut-wrenching, cookie toss-inducing sports than wrestling and boxing (OK, never tried rowing but we've heard stories).

Now, when we were out doing, um, community outreach in town or in Queens or in the City itself, one of the things you were always mindful of in these scenarios was what you were going to do if things went south and the locals turned against you. It was never at the forefront of your mind but a spilled drink or a cross look might turn the evening's proceedings towards some unseemly outcomes and if it did go down, you were looking for the most obvious and efficient way of defending yourself. And a handful of times, it did go down and for the most part it was a lot of pushing and shoving or a few wild haymakers that were strewn about. None of this ever scared us but the one person that we never, never... wanted to have to deal with in a situation like this was a wrestler. In a close quarter scenario, where if you got yourself off-balance and were left vulnerable, we cringed at the thought of getting "fireman"-ed and tossed onto a table or the floor like a rag doll not in an unsimilar fashion to the lad above. Those are the memories that came flooding back to us while watching this video.

O.K. Now for the questions? Bullying is pretty much the "it" topic of the day and just recently the President made some strong remarks regarding bullying so unlike unrest in the Mideast, a flagging economy and an incoherent energy policy in wake of $100+/barrel oil prices, we know it must be a big deal.

As a parent, what are you supposed to do when you know your child is the object of bullying?

Do you go to the school administration to get them to step in? Now, that would seem like an invitation for more ass-kickings.

Do you tell your child to restrain himself and act in the best of Christ-like passiveness? Or do you teach your child proper self-defense techniques so that the bully will know your child is no longer an easy mark without having to necessarily resort to the nuclear option as the boy did so in the video above.

We'd love to read everyone's opinions in the the comment section. And, please, no CW - we want to hear what you would do or did do and how it turned out.

And do remember... stay away from those wrestlers.


drozz said...

rowed and wrestled with success in both. wrestling is much harder in terms of physical endurance. however, wrestlers tend to be much more psycho.

what would i have my kid do? drop that bully on his head every time. because if there is one thing a bully loves is a kid who willingly takes a beating.

drozz said...

BTW, my above evaluation includes rowing head races.

Foxfier said...

Standard issue dark Irish runt here, and I've responded effectively, but without thought.

First time: about six years old, a 14 year old known chronic bully guy hauled me off the jungle gym to beat me up; I went ballistic on his knee. (About the only thing I could reach.)
Result: NOBODY assaulted me afterwards, school tried to expel me. (When my mom found out that the bully would not be punished at all, SHE went ballistic, and it somehow all vanished.)

Years pass, we move when I'm a teen.
I'm quiet and bookish, and I'm waiting for the late bus. A guy two years ahead of me tries to steal my backpack. He finds out that 1) that bag is full of all my school books AND half a dozen "enjoyment" books 2) I'm a heck of a lot faster than he is 3) being grabbed by the arm and spun so you trip into the floor, by a small girl, hurts.
Amazingly, he didn't go to the teachers to complain about the result of the glorified purse-snatching.

Only one physical assault after that, unrelated and because the guy was a man-child who stabbed me in the hand with a chisel. (Not very well-- I still have the scar, since it was on my thumb-joint, but apparently the fact that I got angry instead of scared got through to him. Guy avoided me until he finally went to juvie again.)

As an adult:
quad-mate's emotionally abusive exboyfriend showed up and was stalking her. I confronted him when he was camped in the community room and she was trying to get out her window. When he raised his hand and I smiled and told him I would beat him senseless and drag him to the police station, it apparently startled him. Thank God for insane bluff-- I have no training in fighting beyond being one of three kids.

What am I going to do when my daughter has to deal with bullies?
Tell her to never start a fight, defend herself and the weak, and we will back her up to the gates of hell.

Foxfier said...


Concealed Weapon?

Meh, that's escalation, and if the other guy has it he's probably good with it; he's definitely more willing to use it.

Mutnodjmet said...

Two things I am planning to teach the Young Prince: 1) Never start a fight. 2) Never lose a fight.

Dean said...

Foxie, my bad. I forgot the context. CW = conventional wisdom.

Foxfier said...

In the "ignorance" sense or the "what teachers say to make you do what they want" sense?

Curious, more than anything.

Harrison said...

Video got removed!

Secular Apostate said...

When I was young:I was a light-heavyweight boxer in high school, so I didn't get bothered very often. the only time I got bullied was by a local junior college weenie. My advice... go berserk. Worked for me. It helps if you're less drunk than the bully.

Now that I'm old: Carry a weapon. Preferably one with about a 1/2" hole in the front end.

SarahB said...

I'm right there with the Goddess...my kids will learn to walk away when able, to hit back HARD when necessary, and to step in when others can't do it for themselves. The schools and their limp handed policies can deal with me if they object. Since Daddy can rip a grown man's heart out via martial arts, I'm pretty sure that will be the school of self defense for this family.

P.S. yes, rowing is a great total body work out...but since no one teaches you how to club a mugger with the oars, I wouldn't put it in the same category as wrestling or boxing. (although dodging a oar that has caught a crab does improve the 'ol reflexes)