Dealing with bullies.

A closed fist always seemed to do the trick for me.
I know this isn’t going to go over well with milquetoast hand wringers who feel violence never solved anything. My experience says otherwise. I’ve had my fair share of punch ups with bullies of various stripes and I have yet to go on a shooting spree.
Growing up I was always the new kid in school. With all the moving around we did I must have changed schools eight or nine times. It was good training.
On the subject of fighting at school my dad always told me if I were protecting myself or sticking up for someone else it was forgivable. He would go to the mat with anyone who said otherwise. On the other hand, if I were the one picking on other kids he would grind my bones for his bread. My father was pretty convincing.
In sixth grade I attended a Catholic school in up state New York. It was the kind of institution where all the boys had to wear ties. To this day I hate wearing a shirt and tie. The playground was a large dirt lot in back of the school surrounded by a chain link fence. Sounds like prison doesn’t it? I’m sure Catholic school grads will sympathize.
I have never been accused of being a large person (save from the neck up). There was one kid who towered over the rest of us by a solid mile. Passing clouds would get hung up around his ears and in the spring you could still see a little snow on the top of his head. He introduced the new kid to the dynamics of the schoolyard by spitting on me. You hear a lot about walking away from trouble but sometimes trouble won’t let you be and follows you across the playground spitting the whole way.
Finally having had enough, I reached down and grabbed a fist full of dirt and hurled it into my assailants face. He sputtered and swore rubbing his face trying to clear his vision. Had I just escalated the situation? Certainly. Was this going to end in a fight? You bet.
I figured this was a beating I was going to have to take. I braced myself as a freight train of 11 year old fury crashed into and over me. After the dust up he lectured me saying it was what I got for throwing dirt in people’s faces. Ah, sweet irony.
My detractors will point out I not only was spit on but got my tail kicked too. Both of these facts are true as well as this: no one ever spat on me again either. Go figure.
Taking action on your own behalf always seems a better course of action than sitting around waiting for someone to do it for you. Here’s an example of what I mean.
Semper Fidelis,
America’s 1stSgt
/ / / /


  1. You bet. Back in middle school, Lance Criminal decided to risk expulsion by neutralizing his bully. He had our blessing. All it took was one little green-belt throw in front a classroom full of peers. (Yes, he was a brown belt in karate and he had a bully.
    Bullies really are stupid.)

  2. Your playground sounds nice. Ours was a blacktopped pad with a chain link fence around it. This was in the middle of farm country Oklahoma. Been there with the bully. I fought back against the first of mine in 6th grade. It was a draw.

  3. Our society doesn’t really reward people who act on their own behalf. Anymore, you have to be worried about being sued, or thrown in jail for defending yourself or your property. It’s a shame.

  4. Color me wrong but I’ve always suspected that that “be the better man, just walk away…” thing was invented by ivory tower types who had no other viable option, even if the aggressor was no stronger than an unruly 4 year old.

    Meet aggression with aggression. Always worked for me.

    Re: the example you linked to. Good initiative on his part. The bad part? The villagers that helped him are probably going to be messily and horribly dead soon.


  5. Never had a problem with bullies growing up. I have four brothers and they held it as an article of faith that they were the only ones allowed to hit me.

    Anyone else got pounded into the dirt.

  6. Dear 1st Sgt,

    Taking this in another context, as an Indian citizen, we constantly face the regional bully, China, who just does not believe in live and let live. I appreciate what you and your troops are doing to uphold liberty and democracy.

  7. Suz, why didn’t they just talk it out? 😉

    Okie, I think I’ve probably had more losses than wins as a kid. Sometimes sticking up for yourself is the tougher route.

    Saker, you 1%ers need to share your stuff anyway. At least that is the mindset as I understand it.

    Grimmy, maybe if the villagers open opposed Abu Sayef. Then again, if Abu Sayef craps where they eat then surrounding villages may no longer tolerate them either.

    Shay, I heard a Marine say he never hit anyone as hard as he hit his own brother. The other guys may have gotten off lightly in comparison.

    Rohit, my pleasure and thank you.

  8. My son is really, really good at martial arts. He’s also totally easy to bully. He wants to be a good boy at school, and he’s totally internalized the school’s message that he’ll be harshly dealt with, whether he acts in self-defense or not.

    I keep telling him that he will not get in trouble with me, even if he’s suspended, if he acts to protect himself or another person. And he will always get in trouble with me if he’s a bully.

    I think your Dad and I would have gotten along just fine. In fact, maybe your Dad can get this message through my son’s head.

    Fortunately for my son, he’s at a nice school where he’s got an established group of friends and there is no trouble. I do worry about his self-defense mindset, though, when he’s older and finds himself in less congenial situations.

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