“Please believe me. I’m real. No, really. It happened. It hurt.”
-Amanda Palmer, ‘The Art of Asking’
Bullying is a violation. It is an assault on a person’s mind, body, or emotions, an assault on a person’s boundaries and willingness to participate. It is willful antagonism, provocation, mockery and harassment.
Bullying is the act of seeing a person’s vulnerability, his or her differences, flaws, or weaknesses, and honing in on those, focusing on those, picking on those, and digging in, poking and prodding over and over again until that person can find no refuge, no comfort, no safety, no escape and, taken to its extremes, no reason to live.
Children can bully other children, adults can bully children, adults can bully other adults, and the mob can bully an individual. It can happen at school, at home, at the office, in public, in private, on the road, on the playing field, courts, or mats, and it can happen online, but, regardless of where it happens or from whom it originates, it happens without the consent of the bullied.
Bullying is pushing someone beyond their ability to stand up for themselves, whether that ability is physical, emotional, or psychological. It is the act of taking a position of power over someone else’s well-being, of violating their integrity, their space, and their security until they are backed into a corner with nowhere to turn. It is removing someone’s ability to speak up, to say ‘no,’ to say ‘stop,’ to be heard and to be seen as a human being with a voice and a life that matters.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.
Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.
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