Bullying victims fight back with BJJ

by Steve Henson | source: thepostgame.com


UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro this weekend will rightly include homage to the iconic Gracie family, creators of Brazilian jiu-jitsu nearly 100 years ago, creators of the Ultimate Fighting Championship nearly 20 years ago, creators of legendary family fighting figures and jiu-jitsu instructors that span the globe.

But the Gracies' most positive impact might be felt at a middle school in a Denver suburb where a seventh grader is unafraid of bullies for the first time since he can remember.

Wendy Hendrick learned about the Gracie Bullyproof program through the online video above.

She called Rener and decided to take her son to California. "I finally felt like I found somebody who gets this," she said.

In addition to attending daily three-hour group classes, Martin was given private jiu-jitsu instruction by Rener each evening for a week. Then there was the mental training. Rener helped Martin understand that his fear of a bully hurting him was sensible. So was his fear of retaliating when he had no fighting skills.

Rener asked him: "If we can eliminate the fear of injury through technique and preparation, would it make sense to stand up to the bully?"

"Yes," Martin replied.

"Let's do it."

Four days into the school year and Martin was getting bullied again. He'd asked the bigger, stronger boy to stop calling him names and throwing a water bottle at him. But the abuse continued.

Rener called and delivered a pep talk. "Martin, would you rather fight one time and be protected for the rest of your life, or do you want to get bullied for the rest of your life?"

Martin sighed. "I'd rather fight once."

"Do it, my friend," Rener said. "The bully still thinks he owns you. Tomorrow he will do the same thing. And when he does, you will engage. You don't ask permission, you don't stop, you just engage."

The next day the bully not only bothered Martin, but he pestered Martin's friend so much that the boy shook his head and said he might commit suicide. The bully then asked Martin if he could practice some new punching techniques on him, and hit him. Then he threw a water bottle at him.

Everything Martin had learned during his week at the Gracie Academy bubbled to the surface. He jumped off the lunch bench and while in midair pushed the bully in the chest with both hands as hard as he could. Both boys landed on the ground and Martin pinned the bully by placing his knee on his chest and holding his arms down with his own.

It was a classic jiu-jitsu combination -- decisive and effective without causing trauma or blood.

The bully was shocked and as he struggled in vain to get up he yelled that Martin was crazy. The bully's friends told Martin to get up, but as he told the principal later: "I chose not to."

The principal took both boys into his office and called Wendy.

"I was absolutely thrilled," she said. "The school, of course, thought I was nuts. But I explained that this was a long time coming for Martin. He's still that kind kid. He stuck up for himself and for his friend.

On Monday the principal called Martin into the office and let him know he wasn't in trouble. Fighting was not tolerated, he was told, but in this instance the response was appropriate. Neither Martin nor his mother told the school about his jiu-jitsu training.

The bully sought out Martin at lunch and apologized in front of other kids. Word got around the school. No longer is Martin the target of bullying -- from anybody.

Martin had one more piece of business. He called Rener to thank him.

"I couldn't have been more jazzed," Rener said. "He went through the entire cycle of standing up for himself verbally first, then physically, but not violently. He kept it humble, and allowed the bully to save face.

"No punches. No kicks. He just held him with Gracie jiu-jitsu. It's the gentle way."

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tags: Rener Gracie   Ryron Gracie   video   


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Recent Comments »

RobbieH site profile image  

8/26/11 8:22 PM by RobbieH


shen site profile image  

8/26/11 8:17 PM by shen

Honestly, who better to teach about bullying than a family that built it's reputation on challenging people to street fights?

Freakin 10er site profile image  

8/26/11 7:10 PM by Freakin 10er

100% truth. In Middle School we had a zero tolerance too, and thus I had to put up with this kind of crap cause my hands were tied. I think school's need to wake up and realize we don't live in a teletubbie world

SKARHEAD site profile image  

8/26/11 6:38 PM by SKARHEAD

Also, if you aren't willing to send your kid to Brazil you suck as a parent and should have HRS called on you.

Stackdoe site profile image  

8/26/11 6:36 PM by Stackdoe

SKARHEADVP of MarketingGracie JJ AcademyRio de Janeiro, Brazil

SKARHEAD site profile image  

8/26/11 6:34 PM by SKARHEAD

What kinds of bullies did you have in school guys ? sound like some soft ass bullies. Kids in my schools growing up, not all, but many just didn't give a fck. Acting tough, but not being able to back it up is NOT gonna save you against a big strong bully is is not a pussy.And before you guys start saying that all bullies are pussies that can't back it upKeep in mind that Mark Coleman, Tank Abbott, Jens Pulver, and a ton of others started off as bullies in school.Not that every bully is Mark Coleman...but they might as well be to a scrawny dork if the bully is not a bitch and has the ability to back up his threats.GJJ is actually REALLY great for kids and adults in real life encounters.And if you've never actually went to GJJ academy, signed up, and put in the work....you simply CANNOT offer much in terms of opinion. Too many on here are just Gracie, Brazilian, or BJJ haters that are VERY close minded and ready to talk shit about ANYTHING to do w/ the Gracies or Jiu Jitsu...but have never even tried it.

SKARHEAD site profile image  

8/26/11 6:28 PM by SKARHEAD

WOW ! You're anti-bully techniques are CLEARLY FAR MORE EFFECTIVE than anything Gracie Jiu Jitsu has to offer in terms of self defense for smaller guys against bigger bullies ! You should open up a school !LMAO, please....your tactics wouldn't work if the kid getting picked on looks like a pencil necked geek and the bigger kid just doesn't give a shit...LOLPlease, enlighten us on your mental jedi mind tricks that can make any bigger, stronger, heavier, meaner opponent run in fear against even the smallest, scrawniest wimp.Victim: " I...will hurt you ! Look in my eyes...I mean it ! I can really do itBully: "Oh yeah ? LOL"*CRACK*ZZZZzzzzzzzzz...hate to break it to you, but Gracie self defense technique have been proven in real life encounters...your secret techniques ?lol

SKARHEAD site profile image  

8/26/11 6:21 PM by SKARHEAD

uhhhh. there are GJJ and BJJ schools ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. Rener is in Cali, Torrence. How did you not know this ??

SKARHEAD site profile image  

8/26/11 6:20 PM by SKARHEAD

You're an IDIOT and an OBVIOUS hater.And boxing will NOT help your kid if he happens to be weak, slow, unccordinated, or athletic....In boxing you either have it...or you don't...and NO AMOUNT of training will keep you from getting KTFO if you don't have it.GJJ was made for everybody and has been PROVEN to work and is one of if not the best defenses against strikes and attacks from bigger, heavier, stronger, more athletic opponents. Won't make a weak wimp a ninja...but will give him FAR more of a fighting chance than boxing (as anyone that has trained both knows).Boxing is great and I personally love it...but not everyone will find success with it. GJJ was created and developed so the little guy can survive and make it home when he would have gotten trainwrecked otherwise.Also, you suck.