Principles of Bullies

  • Verbal bullies know how to say things that hurt you at just the time your guard is down or when you are in the presence of others.
  • Practical joker bullies have the ability to crack jokes on you or play games that put you down in front of others and make you feel ridiculous.
  • Athletic bullies use physical prowess to abuse you, hoping they will embarrass and hurt you.
  • Authoritative bullies are in positions of power and use this position to create a double standard, putting themselves outside the rules.
  • Intellectual bullies have learned to express their gifted mental talents and abuse you with them to feel superior.
  • Spiritual bullies use the words of the Universal Creator to beat you down, trying to prove that they are right and you are wrong. They have no concern for your feelings.
  • Chemically dependent bullies are involved with drugs and alcohol and do everything in their power to make you feel less than them because you choose not to use drugs and alcohol.
  • Sexual bullies make you feel uncomfortable for not having sex or try to persuade you to have unsafe sex.
  • Patriotic bullies try to force their political beliefs on you.
  • Financial bullies try to make you feel less than them because they have more money and believe no one without money is of use to them.
  • Whining bullies try to make you feel sorry for them so they can get what they want.
  • Prejudiced bullies put you down because they feel as though their race, religion, or way is superior to all others, and they will go to any lengths to prove this.

Defensive Tools

There are defensive tools that you can use to protect yourself. Remember, today the youngest kid has weapons, and some will come back for revenge after someone stands up to them. So be careful and do your very best to prevent fighting.

  • Conduct yourself in a positive manner, being careful that you don't respond to bullies negatively. Treat them as you would like to be treated.
  • Be humble, making sure you aren't a show-off when you make new friends. Take charge of your behavior by working the first two defensive tools.
  • Never underestimate anyone, because sometimes the quiet or weak-appearing person is the most dangerous.
  • Try to be friends with bullies by using humor in a nonthreatening way. Walk away from bullies and talk to someone in authority the first time you feel insulted.
  • Never give bullies a chance to treat you the same way twice.
  • Hang out with people who strive to be of good character like you and make no exceptions.
  • When feeling threatened, use trickery or be in agreement with bullies to resolve the conflict.
  • Do your best to prevent conflict by working the previous steps. Even yell, scream, or become tough by acting like the experience had no effect on you. You can reason with bullies, trying to teach them in a nonthreatening way why their behavior is wrong.
  • If all else fails, stand and fight to protect yourself and control the situation.

Show Respect for Others

In the projects, this was a time when everyone was close. They looked out for each other and for each other's kids. This was a good time to be growing up—we just played differently. The values and character traits that I have today came from this family village upbringing. They lived the saying, “It takes a whole village to raise a child.”

Things mellowed out between the gangs, and I got interested in playing baseball, basketball, and football in my neighborhood. I joined a Little League baseball team put together by a community not far from ours called Little Italy. These Italian Americans were reaching out to the African American community, hoping that we could come together in a spirit of peace and harmony.

Neighborhood store owners gave us free soft drinks and candy, and the coaches had cookouts for us and invited us to their homes to watch the major leagues play on television. During these times of fun and excitement, no one ever thought that someday these fun-loving kids would get into the deadly game of drugs.

In my family, my parents taught me the right way to treat adults and gave me a foundation of principles. I think what my parents taught me gave me an edge over other gang members. I talk with many people today who honestly believe that if you grew up in the projects, you had to come from a bad home. That just isn't true. My mom and dad worked hard to provide for us. They always found a way for us to have good holidays and the necessities of everyday life. I never went without food or clothes or, most importantly, love. We were a family that did everything together—even sitting down together at mealtime!

This is the way I was taught to show respect for others, and I teach the same principles to my students. Most people think I learned good manners from studying martial arts, but that only complemented what I was learning at home. My dad, regardless of his personal choices in life, was a great teacher for me in every aspect of my life. He is the toughest, yet the most honest, man I have ever been around. If he doesn't like you, he lets you know it. At the same time, he would do anything to protect his family, even if it meant dying.

You'll never reach a sense of peace and balance in your life if you do not show respect for others. Display trust and love to others to make a positive influence on their lives. Practice being part of the solution; otherwise your part of the problem.

The above excerpt is from The Complete Martial Artist: Developing the Mind, Body, and Spirit of a Champion—Self-Mastery Empowering Youths by Willie “The Bam” Johnson and Nancy Holt Musick, Pub Date September 2019, by YMAA Publication Center, ISBN13: 9781594396533.