To beat a bully, you’ve gotta fight like an animal, right? Wrong! You have to be a human. I’ll explain; but first, watch this video:
In the animal kingdom, creatures of the same species often go through an elaborate ritual when they fight. It often includes a lot of vocalization, posturing, chest-thumping, etc., and this is all designed to instill fear into the other animal. We human animals are not much different than our wild counterparts, particularly when studying the behavior of bullies. The video above is a good example of what happens when one person (the bully) engages in all the ritualistic intimidation behavior, while the other (the intended victim) short-circuits that approach with quick, decisive, and violent action. I would argue that the bully, caught up in her ritualistic behavior, never saw it coming.
Although this fight video is a mere 53 seconds long, it speaks volumes about bullying. I’ll break it down for you as quickly as possible.
1. Like animals that live in groups, bullies like to make their fights public events. They do this because they know that every person they hurt, shame, and/or humiliate in front of a crowd furthers their own reputation as someone to be feared, which to them is as good as being respected.
Before a push or punch was ever thrown, the bully in the video had a crowd of young ladies standing around, recording the event with their cellphones. No doubt this whole confrontation was pre-planned and pre-meditated by the bully.
2. Much like animals, bullies shout and yell at their intended victims before engaging them physically. This is to instill fear and make it easier for the bully to be victorious because in most cases, the intended victim is afraid of the bully, and the verbal ritual helps instill this fear and adrenaline response, which often makes people freeze up.
Of the total 53 seconds of this video, roughly 20 seconds are dedicated to the bully verbally accosting her intended victim. That’s nearly half of the total time it took for the confrontation to begin and reach its inevitable conclusion.
3. Animals will often puff their chests and stand as tall as they can to appear larger and more fearsome to their opponents. Bullies do this too, and it’s to their detriment. Most proven martial arts – boxing, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, etc. – stress standing at an angle to your opponent. This is smart insomuch that it makes it easier to attack and defend from while presenting yourself as less of a target to your opponent. Bullies, on the other hand, will often square up in front of their opponents with both feet next to each other. While this certainly helps make an impression, it’s a stupid move tactically, especially if someone chooses to counterattack. People using this stance often find themselves off-balance and at a distinct disadvantage when this happens.
The bully in the video stands over her intended victim in this manner. Notice how ineffective her defense is when her intended victim leaps up and begins punching her? Standing squared off like this also allows the intended victim to score a good kick to the bully’s thigh (at the 27-second mark), knocking the bully off balance for a second and allowing the intended victim to maintain her superior attacking position.
4. Generally speaking, the more elaborate an animal’s posturing instincts, the less able it is to actually fight. Check out the hognose snake:
When confronted, it puffs its head up similar to a Cobra and coils up, making many false attempts at striking. If this display isn’t enough to deter a potential threat, it will eventually roll over and play dead, which is a far cry from the threatening displays it showed earlier. Bullies aren’t much different; they’re threat displays are a lot more intimidating than their actual fighting prowess.
You saw the video, right? Besides a lot of barking and posturing, did the bully do anything significant? Her best shot was a weak-ass push that only resulted in triggering her intended victim’s fight response. From that point, she got punched, kicked, and eventually ragdolled to the ground, where her intended victim continued to make a mockery out of her for everyone to see. In other words, the bully was nothing more than a hognose snake… who was stupid enough to pick a fight with a mongoose.
So there you have it, good people. To win a fight, you don’t have to be an animal because acting like an animal will likely get you knocked out. Be a human and learn to shortcut the bully’s posturing and other pre-fight rituals to catch him/her off-guard and commence to whippin’ dat ass! But always remember, once you commit to a fight, you have to be willing to go all the way. Even though the bully in this video was outmatched, she didn’t go down without a fight. If her intended victim had let up at any time during their brawl, this video could have had a different ending.
Stay safe out there!
J.P. Ribner is the author of three novels: Legacy of the Bear, Prophecy of the Bear, and World So Dark.