Who’s the villain when it comes to bullying?

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It wasn’t even that good a fight, but the two students starred in one of the most watched videos on the planet that month. The attack suffered and duly returned by Australian Casey Heynes against Ritchard Gale brings to the forefront the intercultural and persistent issue of bullying – intimidation by ruffians, especially in schools.

Bullying is such a commonplace and persistent problem that Rener Gracie, a few months ago and with great repercussions, presented an antibullying project on American talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s television program. Jiu-Jitsu does indeed appear to be an excellent tool in combating this sad practice that afflicts children and teenagers the world over, even driving them, in some cases, to suicide.

But who is the big villain? I can tell you there are no villains in this story, since I was the victim of this practice when I was a kid, and I am fully aware that the aggressor too is a victim of misguided (and natural) human aggressiveness. I have also followed cases in the Abu Dhabi school system where I teach Jiu-Jitsu.

We’re naturally aggressive, which is why Jiu-Jitsu is important to all kids, as it controls the aggressiveness of those most out of control and stimulates competition in those most passive. Children need positive stimulus and disciplinary control, elements intrinsic to the gentle art.

The boy Ritchard Gale is now suffering from bullying just as cruel as what he delved out, as he has taken the brunt of what is possible with the internet. It’s up to us to provide greater access to Jiu-Jitsu so that cases like this one may become rarer and rarer. And so that youths only face off, driven by mutual respect, on the mats.

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