Thursday, March 24, 2011


Reader Wil, a favorite blogger of mine from the Netherlands, recently did an interesting post on Judo. Funny how one word will open the closed doors of our memory banks. I haven't thought of Judo in over 50 years. Thanks Wil for the memory jog.

My father had studied Judo when he was in college. He was not a runt but he wasn't a large man either. Judo is excellent for the not particularly burly person as a means of self defense.

With Judo's principals, a weaker person can prevail over a stronger and larger opponent. Instead of trying to out muscle the attacker, you use his own strength and aggression to put him in an unbalanced position where your balance and quickness can subdue him. The theory and practice can be managed by anyone.

We kids never took classes, Dad just taught us what he knew. Being with out TV in those days, occasionally our evenings entertainment was to pile on Dad in a wild wrestle mania. Mom was always the first to back out of the pile as she had always been in poor health but she still gave it a try.

As she withdrew to the couch to watch, she would then subdue our toy Fox Terrier Susie, who took any battle seriously and bit who ever was on top. Have no idea why we never penned her up in another room before starting, maybe it was because she would bark nonstop regardless.

I was the baby so I pretty soon joined my mom and Susie on the couch and rooted on my two brothers. Jim was three years older than I and usually next to leave the fray.
Finally the last combatant would be my older brother Jack who was 10 years older than I. Jack had most male children's desire to best their father and hung in the longest. Of course he never won.

When it was over, Dad would have us practice Judo moves. See what you miss by sitting on the couch watching TV? We weren't always this scrappy. Most often we played parlor games but sometimes it was fun to let lose.

The Judo move in which I was most proficient was Ashi Guruma. Actually I just learned what it was called. Here is a link that describes the move. Basically you pulled the opponent off balance into you, cock your leg behind his knee, twist and throw him to the ground. Sorry to say, my brother Jim fell for it quite often. The playing field for Jim and I was finally level.

Sorry that is as big as I could make it.
I had a neighbor named Alan who was a year younger than I but since we went to a small school that had two grades in each room, we shared a classroom.
Alan was brilliant but not very likable. He tended to be quite arrogant about his intelligence thus he was not popular with the anyone, particularly the boys. They in turn gave him a pretty rough time. Not physically, though he was sometimes teased, but even worse than the teasing, he was often blatantly ignored come recess. He had no friends.
To compensate, when Alan came home from school, he would torment and dominate a much younger neighbor boy who lived on the other side of me. Tommy was small and a perfect foil to boost Alan's ego.

I saw Alan one day pushing Tommy to the ground, stepping on his hand and making him cry. I yelled at Alan, stopped the attack and walked Tommy home. He was still crying as he told me that he was afraid to come out of the house any more and was too ashamed to tell his parents.

Over confident little me said I could help and I made Tommy my Judo disciple. We practiced daily till he mastered Ashi Guruma with confidence and ease. That was all we worked on since it was my speciality and I thought that would be enough to tame Alan.

Actually, it turned out to be exactly enough. The next time Alan approached Tommy to push him around, Alan was quite surprised to find himself suddenly on his back with an equally surprised but grinning Tommy standing over him. Tommy was no longer afraid to leave his house.

Sadly I wasn't smart enough then to realize what the progression might be for Tommy. Alan had become a bully to a weaker child because he was being ostracised at school. Tommy was to soon take a similar path as he gloried in his new advantage and power.

It wasn't long before I saw Tommy pitching his play mates on the ground at school and standing smugly over the fallen former friend. The bullied had become the bully. I was feeling quite Dr. Frankenstein'ish. What had I done? By taming one bully I had helped to created another.
It took a lot of talking to bring Tommy down off his power high but he eventually settled down. Think my best selling point against his being a bully was that as long as he kept pushing kids around, he would eventually have no one to play with. He was basically a good kid, he just got caught up with the power.
I saw him again in 2009, almost 50 years after the fact, and he had no recollection of the events. Strange what we remember but also forget. 
Bullying is becoming epidemic these days. Movies like “Mean Girl” almost glorify the act. Though I was never bullied as a youngster myself, I did have the misfortune of marrying a proud, self proclaimed, childhood bully. They do age but don't necessarily grow up.
I do hope we can stop this growing trend. Surely we are better than this.

Were you or your kids ever bullied??


  1. Hi Patti, Neither I nor my sons were bullied --other than a little neighbor boy chasing me with a big stick once... ha

    BUT--bullying has gotten worse and worse. They talk about it on the news ALOT these days. Kids are committing suicide over the bullying. Isn't that sad?

    Too bad that JUDO is not taught now --because there are alot of kids who need to be 'taken down' a peg or two....

    Great post...

  2. I was not really bullied, but I was not popular either and felt often lonely.Sometimes there were a group of children whom I met by accident, who were bullying me. I didn't say a word. Just looked at them waiting for them to leave me alone.After a while they did. They never touched me. I must have had a guardian angel.

  3. I think you're right--bullying is much more prevalent these days. I'm glad to see that school administrators are finally tackling it rather than saying it's just a part of childhood.

    Hmm. Wonder if my husband will let me try that move on him?!

  4. Interesting post. I laughed about Susie biting anyone who was on top. Dogs are so much a part of the family. Well, there were certainly bullies when I went to school, and when my boys were little they had their brand new fishing rods stolen by older boys in the neighborhood who were bullies. But now there's bullying on the internet and cell phones, which seems to be making it worse. I hope the heightened awareness of it does some good.

  5. I remember several stories of bullying from school and my brother and I used to fight like cats and dogs, but the bullying of today seems much worse than those stories of yesteryear. So much violence is portrayed on TV and life seems to be shown as not so very important, I wonder if some of this is a learned behavior from what is seen daily on TV.

  6. You were quite the Judo gal. Even teaching it. You did good but Tommy didn't learn the humility part. I took Tai Chi for 10 years. But now...... if I were attacked, I'd hit em with my purse and run.

  7. I remember being teased, but no long term tormenting. Both my kids were bully victims at one time or another, but they were able to stand up to it so that it did not continue. I was quite proud of them for that confidence.

  8. I was never bullied, but when I was growing up in school, nobody I knew was on either end of it. I was sometimes ostracized because I was often the new girl at school (we moved a lot in the military). I learned to deal with it, but these days the school environment is totally bewildering to me.

    Judo was popular for awhile but I never knew anybody who practiced it! This was very interesting, Patti!

  9. Ry my grand is a taller than his age group kid but he does have Aspergers, which makes him have difficulty socializing in a "normal" way. He usually plays alone because of it. At school there have been the physical altercations but only a few. I think he is a little big to be messed with for the most part. GK his sister was in the middle of a terrible mess of mean girl trouble last year and the only reason it ended was because the ring leader moved away.
    I kept a low profile as a kid when it came to the bullies on the playground and so never had a problem.
    Now days it is just out of control. The Olde Bagg

  10. I can't say that I was bullied and having no children..Well,they were not bullied!
    I do think bullying is a terrible terrible thing and can be truly injurious to a young person, for the rest of their lives. I know 'bullying' has been in the news a grat deal lately and I hope that brings it to the for, more... and that parents and schools will really do something to stop this very injurious practice.
    It probably wouldn't be a bad thing to know that Judo move, Patti..though one would hope it would be used sparingly...!

  11. I don't remember being bullied as the term implies, but was certainly treated differently. I was the "country girl" coming from a one room school and they were the "town" girls and therefore in their minds superior to me. The boys liked me, tho, which didn't exactly endear me to the girls either. I don't mean to suggest that ALL the girls were superior acting, but a lot were.

    Don't think either of my brothers were bullied. They were pretty tough themselves and not shy like me, so they wouldn't have stood for it.

  12. I wasn't bullied but it grieves me so much for the children who are bullied by friends or even parents.

  13. I can't recall any bullying while I was in school those many years ago, but I know it happens with sickening regularity these days. One of my granddaughters was bullied (sexually harassed) by fellow students to the point that she had to leave her H.S. when she was a junior; despite quick and repeated complaints from her parents, the school authorities would/could do nothing to protect her. She completed her senior year as a home-schooled student, got her G.E.D. and is currently enrolled in the state university.

  14. Because I worked in education I saw bullying quite often I'm sad to say. It's almost impossible to stop because the bully intimidates others to the point that they won't tell and if they do the bully hides his escapades and they can't be proven. Too often parents close their eyes and say my child would never do that - children are children and will do what they learn and can get by with. Parents sometimes set very bad examples and aren't even aware. blessings, marlene

  15. I work in court with kids. There is a lot of bullying. The schools that I deal with really don't seem to recognize it. Some kids get to the point of being fed up and resort to hitting the bully-like we used to teach our kids....but now they get charged with assault. The victims end up getting victimized again.

  16. Betsy,
    I know, it seems rampant today. I certainly don't remember it being this bad and can not ever remember a suicide.

    Reader Wil,
    If I remember correctly, those kids were armed. You were so brave.

    Yes, all the attention seems to at least be making people aware and they are no longer ignoring it.
    Try it on your husband, just make sure he has a soft spot to land.

    My ex-husband was one of those types of bullies. He used to terriorize kids into giving up their lunch money. Yep a jerk.
    Susie hating violence was the reason I was punished and never spanked. She would attack my parents if they tried to spank me.

    Linda Starr,
    I do believe TV and video games don't help. They make it seem normal.

    I am not at all sure what I'd do if attacked but pretty sure fighting back would be last on my list. I break to easily these days. Maybe if I sang to them---It has been know to break the strong.

    Yes, you can be proud of your kids for that takes a ton of courage but is one of the few things that will stop it with out adult intervention.

    Yes, bullying has increased through the years or perhaps it is better recorded.
    Judo was replaced with the other martial arts that became more popular.

    Linda in NM
    I am sorry Ry has been bothered but fortunately he is big. Bullies thrive on the small and weak.
    I am so sorry GK was vicitm of mean girls. Hate to say it but girls can be worse bullies than boys. Boys hit, girls fill your life with misery. Thank goodness the ringleader moved away.

    All this attention has got to help. For one, the bully can see how his actions are viewed by others. Not cool. Also, it may give the bullied, the courage to speak up.

    I had a similar experience in that I went from a small school to a large high school. What saved me was that through my older brother, I knew a lot of the cute senior boys. When the girls found out, they wanted to be my friend to get closer to the guys.

    I know, it is so awful that these kids will sometimes resort to suicide it is so bad.

    It seems that your grandaughters age group is where it is prevalent. How awful that she couldn't finish in a public school because of it but she and her parents did the right thing. Now she will be a success while her bullies are probably serving fries with that.

    You are right in that it is often a hidden act. Tommy was ashamed to tell his parents or his brothers. I just happened to see it.

    Oh my gosh, that is awful that the bullied get records for defending them selves. This is spinning out of control. We really need to stop this for each bully will certainly breed and spread the stupidity.

  17. I am on-alert to the current problems with bullying because of my young grandchildren. I encourage them to accept differences in people and talk to them openly about bullying. I believe some parents are obtuse about recognizing bullying problems with their own children. Or - perhaps they are bullying personalities, too, and think it's fine to act out a dominant/aggressive stance with others. Unfortunately, I think what you say is often so true: "he just got caught up with the power"

  18. I never was bullied in school. I don't remember it being a problem when I was young. I'm sure if it occurred, the teachers intervened and dished out severe punishment to the bully.
    My older brother and his friends would tease me, but it was all in fun so it didn't bother me. I always knew that they had my back and I could count on them to help me.

  19. Having been a teacher, I have seen a lot of bullying in my day. The hardest part is that the parents of the bully rarely believe that their darling is a bully. It is always the other kid's fault. I've also found that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The bully's father or mother thinks they can bully the teacher for calling out the bully.

  20. I was bullied by some girls in my class when I was 9-10-11 year old, and lies were told about me that took a long time to recover from. I talked to my kids about it and hope that they never did anything like it - although I'd have no way of knowing that now.

  21. I don't remember anyone ever being bullied when I grew up, or when my children grew up. But then, those were different days, everyone knew everyone else, and parents had the same philosophies.

  22. No, I was never bullied and I remember only one child who was in just one instance. His life was short because of kidney failure. I remember trying to be nice to him because he was so shy. He died before high school. I still remember him. His name was Irving. I don't remember a whole lot of my grade school classmates, but I remember him.

    And no, I don't think my kids were bullied because they belonged to the swim team who supported them.

  23. Patti, you made me remember horsing around with the family when I was a kid and doing the same when my kids were little. Great memories! Thanks.

  24. Do not remember being a bullied but I do remember two girls who were bullies, on physicially, and another by certain actions.

    I would have been a candidate as I never was strong physically nor athletic. Marching in a band was about as physical as I ever was.

  25. Another wonderful story, Patti. I am one of four kids, all close in age. None of us were bullied because we were our own little gang for good. We defended other kids. My parents raised us to be protectors of each other and others. I don't understand the violence in our culture, but it is pervasive. Little kids grow up with it and learn terrible lessons from the world they see around them. It's very sad.

  26. Greetings from Missouri!

    I'm over from Naomi's as I've seen your moniker "Arkansas Patti" and wondered if you're in the vicinity of Harrison and Newton Counties. My younger son (age 11) and I just got back from a marvelous Spring Break Trip to Newton County, one of my favorite places on the planet.

    If you're near Harrison, kudos to the Arkansas State Welcome Center on U.S. 65--first rate.


  27. Yes indeed. I gave my eldest son, then in 2nd grade some unteacherly advice to punch this 4th grader who was picking on him, hard in the nose and then run. He did. It worked.

  28. Barb,
    It must be concerning to have youngsters in school these days. Hopefully with the attention bullying is getting, they will be more willing to tell someone.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze,
    Weren't brothers great. They might tease you but don't let anyone else do it.

    Retired English Teacher,
    Think you are right about some parents of bullies. If they are aware of it, they may actually be giving their little thugs a thumbs up.

    I do believe girls are the worst for they don't hit, them just make your life miserable. Mean girls have been around a long time.

    I think small towns made bullying harder for like you said, everyone knew what you were doing.

    Isn't it odd how some people stay in our memories.
    Sports is a wonderful way to have a protective group. Built in buddies.

    Glad to meet a sister tussler. Those were the days all right.

    Good on you for not being bothered. Sometimes when we know who they are, we can avoid them. Besides, you had the whole band around you.

    I love your phrase "our own little gang for good". Siblings are the best defense.

    R. Sherman,
    Thanks for stopping by. No, I am from the north central part. I do know of that Welcome Center though for I stop there when I go to Branson. Glad Arkansas treated you right.

    That used to be the very best way to stop it. "alwaysinthebackrow" mentioned that now days, defending your self against a bully can get you slapped with assault charges. Yikes.

  29. I always wonder...what became of Tommy and Alan? Did they grown up to be bullies?

    In 1st grade, I was bullied on my way home from school by a weird kid in the neighborhood. It went on for a few days, then he backed my up against a fence. I leaned back and kicked out his two front teeth. Then, I was afraid to go TO school. After my "illness" was found out, and I was sent to school, nothing ever happened. Can you believe it?

    Thanks for the crazy memories!

  30. I remember one almost bullying experience. i was a skinny, shy first grader. Sixth grade boys were "patrol boys" who would direct the younger children who walked to school. They would have kids wait and then motion them to crosswhen it was safe to cross side streets on to the school campus. The patrol boy where I crossed lined everyone up one day. I was the last of six or so kids and realized he was taking their lunch money as they filed past.

    I just eased away down the side street and crossed farther away in the middle of the block. I never said anything to my parents, but others must have have because that was the last time I saw him.

  31. I never was. I still have the same abject fear and horror when I witness anything like a fight. I guess it's good I didn't get inured to it.

  32. Patti you amaze me. You know Ashi Guruma well enough to teach it is even more impressive. lol
    That of course is one of the first things we were taught and the academy. I think I still have the bruises from every man there practicing on me. The Ashi Guruma that is...hahaha
    Glad you were around though to influence that Tommy's life he needed it badly and yet it is strange what we choose to remember.
    If my kids were bullied they did not tell it but I too married one my first husband. What a jerk he was
    Love ya

  33. Yes, I was bullied, and abused as a kid. Yes, my daughter was bullied and yes, my granddaughter was bullied. It gets old after a while, very old. I don't know if it is really worse today or whether folks recognize it for what it is. No one knows, but bullying is bad, nevertheless. My husband's son was bullied and killed himself. I don't like to think about it. Dianne

  34. Our Granddaughter that is living with us at the moment was having some problems with this one girl at school. Our daughter (her Mother) sent an email to the school, but no one seemed willing to talk or take any action. So when it happened the second time, our daughter called the local police and asked if something could be done. So he met her at the school, and I guess the school finally knew she meant business. So did the other little girl that was being so mean. Now it seems they are friends, go figure.

  35. Jenny,
    I'm sure Alan is an astrophysicist somewhere and Tommy was quite popular in school, so I guess he gave up his brief career as a bully.
    Hay girl, you are one tough cookie. That is one quick way to stop a jerk. Bet he lied about how his teeth came out.

    My ex-husband wasn't a crossing guard but that was his way to bully also. You were smart and I am glad he was stopped.

    Murr Brewster,
    I have morphed into a totally non-violent person. Seeing the mobs on TV just terrifies me.

    I'm still laughing about the guys practing on you:)) You should have been throwing them.
    We sure picked losers didn't we?

    Dianne, I am just so very sorry. This has to stop!!!

    I am glad your daughter stood up so fiercely for your grand daughter. I am impressed that the police chose to get involved and think while it is strange, it is also wonderful that they are now friends.

  36. Hi Patti,

    I read this earlier and have been thinking about it all day. You write so well. Thank you for taking the time to write this story and for sharing it with us.

    Bullying is so bad and always has been. I think it is easier in some ways now due to technology. I have seen first hand the damage that it can do. Girls can be super mean! Boys are too, but girls seem to be more vicious.

    It needs to be actively dealt with in all situations. I figure if it happens in front of me, somebody has now made it my business and I need to figure out how to do something...even if it is only for the short term (as in somebody that I don't really know).

  37. The armed boy was alone, he had a knife. The group of children were not armed but they stopped me, when I was cycling home, and took some of my books from the schoolbag. I got them back and they let me go. But it was a nasty experience.

  38. As I read these comments, I guess I may have been bullied but didn't realize it. My brothers and older sisters always had my back, so I was fortunate.
    Bullying is a huge problem. One of the neighbors is a teacher and his daughter was bullied by 3 bad girls to the point that she shot herself in the stomach, lived and will be in a wheelchair the rest of her life. Her dad, the teacher, well respected and loved by the kids, was told by the school system to keep his mouth shut or he'd loose his job. He's still teaching there, and the school is in the middle of a huge lawsuit for not protecting not only his daughter, but many others due to bullying. It's a mess.
    Thanks for the JUDO lesson. I think it's a good thing so long it does not back-fire.

  39. Oregon gifts,
    Thank you. The more people are aware of this problem, possibly a lot can be stopped. I know I won't pass it by with out intervening.

    Reader Wil,
    I still say your are brave to stand up to more than one. What ugly kids they were.

    That is just a terrible story. That poor family. That school needs to be sued. Their behavior in trying to cover it up was as bad as the bullies.

  40. I was bullied on occasion by some boys in the neighborhood gang, and then some mean girls -- never figured out why, and it was a miserable experience that thankfully was not made worse by the internet or Facebook since it was 'back in the day' -- but I still remember it and wonder why they were so horrible...I find it interesting that most bullies don't remember their behavior later...

  41. I Wonder Wye,
    I am so sorry about your experinces.
    I think those who do remember like my ex, carry the behavior into adulthood for they found no problem with it.
    Those who don't remember, I think feel shame for their actions and want to put them out of their minds.