The summer I turned 6 years old, some of the neighborhood boys started bullying me. Back then, I owned a pair of cabbage patch kid roller-skates and my favorite activity was skating around the block singing nursery rhymes at the top of my lungs. One day, a few boys in the 8-10 range thought it would be pretty humorous to push me around and watchme flail. I tried to run from them, but I couldn’t skate faster than they could run. They taunted me for a while and then knocked me down. Angry, humiliated, and with two freshly skinned knees, I did what any 6 year old girl would do in my position.
I went home and told my Dad.
My Father was an ex marine and always preached the benefits of learning self defense. Unlike most parents, he had no interest in calling the parents of my bullies to ‘open up a dialogue’ or some other such tripe. Instead, he planned to teach me to kick a little ass.
My Mother balked at this idea. She didn’t think little girls should be fighting. Little girls were supposed to have tea parties and then play dress up. Fighting was for little boys.
“What if someday a vicious serial killer kidnaps her?” my Father asked, “Do you want her to die weeping and begging for her life? Or would you rather she have the courage to wrench the knife from the killer’s hand and stab him in the throat?”
He paused, mid tirade, and said to me, “If that ever happens, V, stab and twist. Stab and twist.”
With my Mother temporarily mollified, My Father took me into the back yard to teach me how to fight.
Nervously, I explained to my Father that not only was I outnumbered by the boys, but they were bigger and stronger than I was. There was no way that I could beat them. My Father merely brushed my fears aside. He said that while they had the advantage of size and strength on their side, I could develop my own advantages. Here are some tips that he gave me:
1. Always Respond to Threats with Complete Confidence
Sometimes all it takes to make a bully re-think pounding you into a pulp is to make it very clear to him exactly how unafraid you are of a physical confrontation. When a bully threatens you, he is trying to invoke in you some fear in which he can feed off of. If you respond to his threats with confidence, even eagerness, it will give him a pause. If he doesn’t chicken out right then and there, he will enter the fight with a slight feeling of unease. His apprehension is your advantage.
2. Fighting Dirty is Fighting Smart
A fist fight isn’t the same as a karate tournament with judges and points. Your opponent is trying to hurt you, so don’t let some silly moral argument prevent you from kicking the little bastard in the nuts. Throw sand in his eyes, kick him in the back of the knees, bite him, or punch him in the stomach hard enough to knock the wind out of him. If he’s got you pinned down and you happen to see a rock out of the corner of your eye? Don’t be afraid to grab that rock and smash his face with it. There is no shiny trophy waiting for you at the end of this fight, so everything goes.
3. Talk Some Shit
Nothing will rattle your opponent faster than you screaming a steady stream of shit at him while you’re engaged in combat. The crazier you sound the better. If you can’t think of anything tough to yell, yell nonsense like, “I’m going to eat your eyes!” If you can’t think of any nonsense to yell, just plain scream. The second your opponent suspects that you’re a freaking lunatic he’s going to get scared. Fear causes people to make mistakes.
4. When You Lose, Claim It Didn’t Hurt
Sometimes you’re just outmatched. But even losing a fight can be used to your advantage. When it’s over, feel free to spit blood in his face and tell him that it ‘didn’t hurt.’ Laugh when he walks away. You might have just gotten your ass kicked six ways from Sunday, but I guarantee you that anyone watching that fight will think twice about ever messing with you in the future. No one wants to fuck with the crazy kid who feels no pain.
Armed with my new tips and tricks, I laced up my skates and headed out to face the jungle that is childhood. When the boys confronted me again, I dared them to mess with me. One ballsy kid lunged towards me with the intent of pushing me down. Quickly, I kicked that kid squarely between the legs with my skate. He crumpled to the ground as I hysterically screamed at his friends, “I’LL EAT YOUR EYES! I’LL EAT ALL OF YOUR EYES!” Terrified, those boys got up and ran like Hell. I’ve never felt so empowered in my entire life.
In retrospect, I think my Father was just trying to teach me a little something about fear and courage. Back then, and even more so today, it became quite popular to advise your children to: Run. Hide. Look away. Go get someone bigger. Be afraid. As a result, modern children and adults alike are easily paralyzed by fear and have no idea how to defend themselves.
After reading certain articles on my website, I’ve even seen people comment, “What is she going to do if she says the wrong thing to the wrong person? She’s going to end up getting hurt or killed.”
I feel sorry for those people. So paralyzed by fear of what might happen, that they lack the courage to stand up for themselves or for someone weaker. I refuse to live my life afraid to say what I feel or do what is right because there might be some mysterious villain lurking in the shadows who is bigger and stronger. Better to be dead, than to live your life afraid.
Besides, I could just as easily spend my life acting meek and compliant only to still end up with a bullet in my head. However, because my Father taught me courage, it’s not likely that I’d go down without a fight. Who knows? I may even end up wrenching a knife from some psycho’s hands and stabbing him in the throat with it.
Of course, I’ll remember to stab and twist.