“After watching Bully, the movie you both strongly recommended to me, I felt compelled to write this e-mail to the two of you and any parent with a child between the ages of 10 and 17. This movie was not a feel good movie, with a happy ending, but real people sharing their stories with regard to their children’s endless torment at school at the hands of a Bully/Bullies (to the point they felt absolute despair with no light at the end of the tunnel). I highly recommend to all parents that they watch it with their kids!
What was so interesting to me during the movie was that I certainly related to several of the parents with my own child. David is an easy going, and empathic kid, who was picked on due to his weight and was perceived as being an easy target. Of course, I would tell him to try and reason with the Bully and defend yourself as a last resort. However, when you have a really good kid, who is intimidated, they have a tendency to yes you to death (instead of taking action they don’t believe will help the solution).
In my case, there is a happy ending with my child David. I have been in martial arts on and off for the last 35 years; however, it was joining Tiger Schulmann’s that truly enforced the words I have been telling David for several years. First, I sent David to the Bully seminar that you ran and David thoroughly enjoyed the class (he brought his friends to a subsequent seminar). Next, I addressed his nervousness in taking classes, telling him that he will work-out with kids his age and at his level (I was studying at Tiger Schulmann’s for several months at the time). Once he started, you can see the change in his confidence almost immediately. You could tell that the words kids used had much less effect on him (certainly this was a combination of Tiger Schulmann’s teachings and constant positive reinforcement at home telling him that it’s the Bully who has the insecurities and not you…you are a wonderful and positive kid).
Fast forward to today, not only will the Bullies avoid David for the most part but when he defends one of his friends they leave them alone as well. I am not saying he will not get picked on in the future; what I am saying is the Bully will have their hands full if they want to push it to the next level (Bullies tend to pick on the “sheep” in the group).
To further illustrate my point, let me tell you the last incident I had with David’s school and two Bullies in his class. As usual, David initially took a passive role in interacting with two completely disruptive and nasty kids (they were physically and verbally abusive); however, this time David told me that if these kids didn’t stop touching him and/or verbally berating him he was going defend himself.
Instead of telling him everything will be alright, I told him if either one of these kids touches you again with a pencil to defend yourself (I certainly don’t condone violence but these kids were out of control in his class…my wife was not very happy but understood my logic). The 2nd thing I did, I wrote a letter to his teacher telling her that my child trains at Tiger Schulmann’s and if either kid goes to stab my kid with a pencil again I am giving him permission to defend himself….of course, this was after David repeatedly asked the teacher to move his seat). As you would suspect, the teacher stepped in and took care of this issue beautifully.