How the gym solves bullying

I haven’t had a serious “life or death” fight since I started training MMA. That’s a combination of luck, stupid people, and having the guts to walk away.

While going through school
I did have to deal with bullying.

There was a time where I looked like a nerd: glasses, braces, tall and skinny. An easy target, except I fought back. Between kids being assholes and teachers not doing anything, I even wound up getting suspended once.

Coming full circle

Last fall I was working as a photographer doing school pictures. I had to go to a poor ghetto school. Now, when you have to photograph hundreds of kids, there needs to be a level of efficiency. But kids like to hang around and distract their friends. I tried to shoo a group away, and ended up facing a mob of angry black kids threatening to beat me up.

That moment brought me back to when I was in school, facing similar situations. I remember feeling scared, helpless. Wanting to cry. I just wanted to stay under the radar, I didn’t want to deal with this shit.

This time was different

I was in a state of cold aggression, I had my body angled in a camouflaged fight stance. I stared down the mob. Their leader started whining about how “You can’t tell us what to do” and a few back up wanabe thugs started dancing around.

I didn’t move, I just kept staring as adrenaline surged through my body. These punks have no idea how much I’ve gone through. I was ready to unleash hell.

I heard one kid say “ooooo he mad!” and start laughing.

I waited for any of them to take a step.

Teachers finally got involved at this point, and took the kids away in to the crowd. I felt awesome, I realized I wasn’t powerless anymore. My old demons could die.

Everything paid off

That’s the success you want. Sam Sheridan wrote, “Most guys get into fighting, not to dominate, but to avoid being dominated.”

Those kids have no idea that I spend my nights forging myself through the hellfire of training. I didn’t need to have a showdown with my former tormentors. Even before the incident at that school, training in martial arts and the gym had evolved into it’s own purpose for me.

I train for myself. Forging my body to match my warrior spirit. It’s helped me enormously with self-confidence. It’s incredibly comforting to have the safety net in the back of your mind that if the shit hits the fan, you can handle the situation.

What got you started training? And have you had a “coming full circle” moment?

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