“Secrets” of the Filipino Fighting Arts
Words from a Modern-Day Warrior

The “Other” Kid

Also known as “One Reason Why Your Kid Needs Martial Arts, Part II”

Anyone remember the first article?

I made myself a note to write about the “other kid”. In case you didn’t catch the clip (go back and watch it!) closely enough, at the end of the altercation between the boy who body slammed the bully the other boys approached as if they were going to fight him. But something not many people noticed. A girl walked over and got between Casey Heynes and the approaching boy. She’s the “other” hero in the clip, but it appears no one noticed.

How many of us watch an injustice occur and do nothing? I doubt many of you have actually done nothing. The reason for this is that if you are reading this blog, you are a martial artist. We are not the kind of men and women who will do “nothing”, therefore we are the “other” guy in someone else’s altercation. In my entire life, I have only pulled a weapon on a few occasions and the first time I pulled a knife with the intention to use it was at the Baltimore Inner Harbor when I was with some students and a man was being beaten on the sidewalk. I wanted to walk away. (Yes, I was guilty of minding my own business) We didn’t know if those guys had a gun or not, and then getting involved with an altercation is scary stuff. But the young woman who was with him begged some passers-by to help, and I couldn’t do nothing. So I pulled my knife, and without a fight–the guys stopped. Thinking the knife did the trick when I turned to look at the guy, I saw that my students had run across the street behind me. Good work guys.

But what is it that makes people do nothing? Fear. And two things usually help you overcome fear–self-preservation, and fear of not doing anything. Often, for the untrained man, even those things will fail to empower him to fight back or assist, even when the person being hurt is himself or a loved one. Training then, helps you face that fear and do something. Lack of training intensifies your fear, and this is what makes victims and witnesses to victimization. I have broken up fights on several occasions when the fights are “fair” fights, that’s the easy part. The hard part has been to break up fights where they weren’t fair fights, and I regret to say that I have failed to do it more than I have gotten involved. This is a demon I fought against as a young man, and I have done it more lately than I did when I was in my prime. It is something to think about in your training–and in your own level of courage. One thing to fight when transgressed, but what if you encountered a stranger? And you know nothing about it? You don’t know if the man being beaten has done something to warrant his beating. You don’t know if the beating will result in the victim’s death. You don’t know if you will feel the torment of guilt if you don’t involve yourself and something worse happens.

Tell you what I’d done in recent years. I watched, and when the altercation looks like it had run long enough, and the combatants have had their fill. I step forward and assure the winner of the fight, “You got him, he’s had enough. Don’t go to jail over it.”  It works. You stop the fight from going on, you’ve reassured the winner that he’s accomplished what he set out to do, and you did it without being confrontational and was able to calm the guy down. Plus it gives you a chance to be nosy and find out what happened. But most of all, you know that you’ve stopped the beating from becoming fatal. Some may criticize this because it isn’t soon enough, but to each his own…

Back to my topic, few people will involve themselves in an altercation that is not close enough. The martial artist–excuse me, the warrior–should have one extra factor helping him overcome the fear (or “hesitation”, call it what you want), and that is duty. If we have the ability to stop a man from being hurt unnecessarily, we should act on it. Imagine how you would feel, as the witness to a fight or beating, doing nothing, and then discover that the man being beaten was a father who was just minding his own business and going to work? Well, a good friend of mine had this experience. His brother-in-law was beaten, but not robbed, by a group of thrill-seeking teens while walking home from work in Southern Maryland. He ran while being beaten and chased, and finally a woman blew her horn from her vehicle and the boys ran off. This man–in his 40s with a teenaged boy himself–is a good man. He is raising three young children and a teenaged step son, on two jobs so that his wife can stay home with the children. He had lost his home and had to swallow his pride to live with his mother-in-law. His second job was a weekend job at a fast food restaurant, where he was mistreated by his uneducated, immature and young manager–but he endured it to take care of his family. He is a gentle man who had never been in a fight in his life. His pride was hurt, and who knows what emotional or psychological issues he may suffer today as a result of the humiliation? Would you have done something to help? Of course, which of us wouldn’t? But when the altercation happened, no one knew this about him. All they see is a middle aged, pudgy man being chased and beaten by young punks, and no one helped.

Well, one guy did, but in my opinion–he helped himself.

While licking his wounds, he was approached by a witness offering to give a statement to the police. The man then handed him a card for his business, offering discount Tae Kwon Do lessons. Excuse me??

Yes, a martial artist saw it, and then did nothing but seize an opportunity to try and recruit a student. I’ll let you ponder on that one.

We must train ourselves and prepare ourselves to do what is right, even if the idea of fighting for someone else frightens us. What’s the use if we don’t use it? There is a saying about blessings: that often we are not blessed with gifts to be used by us, but to share with others. Perhaps we were led to the martial arts–not because we may become victims, but so that no one around us would become victims? Ponder over that one as well…

So, the girl in the video was the real hero, along with Casey Heynes. She was unlikely a martial artist. And she was a girl. Yet she still got between those bullies and the victim, as if to say, “no you won’t–not today.” Without a doubt, other children saw Casey Heynes being bullied. Sadly, the only two people who raised a finger to do something besides himself were two girls–his sister, and the little girl in the video.

Mrs. Mom, Mr. Dad–your child taking martial arts lessons keeps more than himself/herself safe. It gives your child the courage to protect his siblings and the other children around him. To act when most others won’t. Let your kid train with me–even for just one year–and he will never be a victim or the do-nothing-witness to a victim, again.

Thanks for visiting my blog. For your entertainment, I found this commercial on Youtube, that addresses school bullying. Hope you like it!

 

 

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One Response to “The “Other” Kid”

  1. I know that I have said at least once that, as an intermediate student at my school, I get my ass handed to me every class by my teacher and the more advanced students. I have had torn ligaments, strained tendons, cuts, and more welts and bruises than I can remember. I truly believe, because of the hard training we do, that my green belt is the equivalent of a brown belt at many other schools. And I am certain it gives me really good odds against an untrained fighter.

    This in turn makes me very aware of my responsibility to protect others from violence. I am a teacher at a gang-infested high school. I have had occasion to intervene in fights and bullying, and it did not take much effort to end things without injury to anyone due to the quality of my training. As a result, I have gotten the reputation of being “the guy not to mess with.”

    I will tell you, it is a joy to see innocent kids talking easily and enjoying their break time when they see me in the area because they know that with me around , shit ain’t gonna happen. It is not an ego thing in the least. I remember being bullied as a kid and the relief I felt when some “protector type” was around. It almost brings me to tears to be able to sense the relief in the air when students see that I am patrolling the area. I makes me feel worthwhile. Nothing to brag about, because I get battered again at practice. Just nice to contribute in a positive way.

    Respectfully,
    ~Ray


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