A Tai Chi Approach to Bullying

I do tai chi – it’s a martial art form where the masters are able to win by not fighting. They don’t even break a sweat and the reason for that is because they are masters of yielding.

A little girl playing queen of the mountain

When people think of tai chi – they think of old people doing kind of a really slow dance in a park in China. It’s a form of exercise for old people. Except that it’s not. It’s a real martial art.

It is practices slow for 2 reasons. First: It’s done slow to make the muscle movements automatic for the person practicing it. Second, when you spar and practice these moves on a human, you have to go slow or you could really hurt them. Even done really really really slow, there are moves that will pull you to the ground and there isn’t anything you can do to resist it.

What makes these moves so efficient is that they are designed to use the physical motion of the attacker against them. This way the tai chi practitioner doesn’t really have to do much to throw their opponent. I’m including a video here. What I want you to understand is that the master is exerting very little force and yet his opponent is flying. And no – his students aren’t jumping for show. They are really being thrown.

The reason I am talking about tai chi here on a bullying blog is because it is a martial art based in compassion. The whole method of tai chi is to not fight. If the other person attacks you, you aid them in destroying themselves by getting out of their way.

While it’s cool to see the throws it’s actually the yielding that the master is doing that gives him the upper hand and allows him to win. Watch the video again and you will see he almost always takes a short step back or to the side whenever he is approached. He does this for 2 reasons. First: to get out of the way of the attack so he isn’t hurt by it. Second: he yields to reset the interaction so that he is in control of the attacker so he can force him to the ground so that the attacker cannot continue fighting.

You can do the same thing with bullies. You can’t always stop them from attacking, but you can yield to avoid the attack so that you don’t get hurt by it.

People in the west tend to think of yielding as weakness. We are supposed to stand up to bullies and confront them. But sometimes you win by not fighting and this is true with bullies. If you fight them, they win. But if you yield strategically you reset the interaction so that you are in control of it.

Again, I have a ton of free material on this website to teach these techniques of how to respond to bullies so that a) you aren’t harmed by them and b) so that they will be forced to stop. Learn this, teach it to your child and share it with others so that more people can learn how to successfully defend themselves from bullies.

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  1. Pingback: Yielding is Strategic – The Bully Vaccine Project

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