As many of you Daily Hustlers know, my Dad was a 4th-degree black belt in Kenpo Karate and much of my childhood was spent in a karate studio where my Dad taught for over 20 years…
Discipline, honor, and respect were a few of the basic principles implemented in me at a very young age, but as an over-emotional, very competitive young Go Hard, I was often challenged to understand what was acceptable and what was not.
One of the things that my Dad taught me was to NEVER use any karate moves unless I was in a position where I needed to protect myself or somebody else who was in immediate danger.
That said, when I was in grade school, I had a tough time with the older kids… Many of them didn’t appreciate the aggressive nature in which I played sports or the fact that I wasn’t afraid to stand up to any of them, at any time.
For several weeks, there was one kid, in particular, that wouldn’t stop taking verbal jabs in school, on the playground, or even whenever I would see him and his friends outside of school.
Bully is a term that we throw around loosely these days, but this guy gave meaning to the term and could have been the poster child of the anti-bullying campaign…
He was not a big kid, but he was an avid shit talker and had an incredible false sense of security by hanging out with all of his friends, all of whom were a year older than me.
Ultimately, when I was walking to Joe Kavanaugh’s house one day after school, the kid came up from behind with his group of 5 or 6 friends and began to pipe off…
“Hey Byrnes you p*ssy, you’re not so tough without the teachers around.”
Knowing that I was way outmanned, I tried to ignore them and simply continued to walk…
Possibly thinking I wouldn’t do anything because he was surrounded by all his boys, he continued:
“F*ck you Byrnes, HaHa!!!”
At this point, all his other boys started chiming in, laughing and talking crap as well.
I realized at this point there was a chance I could be jumped by all of the kids and there was no way I was going to let that happen from behind. I then thought about what my Dad had said about being in “immediate danger,” and felt like I didn’t have much of a choice but to take action.
As they continued to trail closer and closer, the guy popped off one last time with a sarcastic laugh…
“You don’t want to fight me.”
I immediately walked off the street and onto the front lawn of a house on Shawnee Pass, tossed my backpack on the driveway, turned around and said “Let’s GO.”
All of the other kids got deathly quiet and then began to encourage their friend to fight…
Seconds later, the ring leader came flying at me with a gigantic right kick that I was able to snatch in mid-air and then flip him on his back. I put him in a pretzel chokehold and held him there as I eyeballed each and every one of his friends who could clearly see his tears and hear him cry for air…
When I finally let his face off the grass and gave him back a full oxygen supply, I looked to see what the other kids were going to do and had no choice but to be ready to take on every one of them if they decided to come at me.
Yet, instead of jumping in, they all put their heads down and quickly walked away almost as if nothing happened…
I actually remember feeling really bad for the kid… His boys egged him into the fight and then basically abandoned him as he was humiliated in front of them.
I didn’t tell my parents about the fight, sorry Mom, and I’m pretty sure I was playing tackle football back at Kavanaugh’s house 15 minutes later with Joe and his 2 older brothers, Bob & John.
For years, I had been harassed by that entire crew, but that was the last time anyone of them ever fucked with me.
No matter who we are and no matter if we even recognize it, we will be constantly bullied throughout the course of our lives…
As much as we would never condone violence here at the Daily Hustle, there comes a point in all of our lives where we have no choice but to take some sort of action.
Ironically, I just came across a Kenpo Karate binder of my Dad’s and the first page was the Ed Parker Kenpo Karate Creed that he had told me about but I had never actually read before:
“I come to you with only karate, empty hands. I have no weapons but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor, should it be a matter of life or death, of right or wrong, then here are my weapons, karate, my empty hands.”
Although it is not always physical, we are often faced with the dilemma of whether or not to defend ourselves over our principles and honor as well as our belief of right and wrong. We don’t necessarily have to physically fight the neighborhood bully, but let’s always make sure we find a way to stand up and defend ourselves whenever we have no other choice and we are FORCED INTO ACTION.