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Martial Arts Bullies



It’s common knowledge that I don’t like bullies in the martial arts in life or social media. When people go on about ‘standards’ and ‘McDojo’s” in the arts my first thought is ‘people in glass houses’… They are usually the people who should be putting their own house in order!

We may not like what some people teach, but if they’re not breaking any laws we don’t have the right to bully, slander or libel them. What we do need to do is everything in our power to raise the standards of the arts generally in whatever area we train and teach in and continually encourage others to improve and point to what is good. All the time we point at others in a negative way we only demonstrate our own failings.

If we work together instead of against each other and share our knowledge and systems it can only be for good. Martial Arts have a lot to offer the public, but when they see senior people arguing like children in a school playground and those that teach anti bullying, pointing, laughing and ridiculing others it really puts us all in a bad light.

Let’s stop bullying in the Martial Arts as well as outside.

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Stop Bullying!

Grace intense guard

Stop Bullying!

I get very worried looking at a lot of social media posts by martial art instructors who have never undergone the holistic training of traditional martial arts and are still stuck in the neanderthal, excitable and violent mindset that the only way to deal with bullying is to become like the bully and hit them.  I grew up in that mindset on a South London Council Estate and would probably in prison for violence now if it hadn’t been for traditional martial arts.  For the past 45 years I have taught extensively in the education system, to police and security operatives of all kinds, in the UK and internationally and many social groups, from that broad base of experience I have drawn a few simple rules to start with.   Let me explain…..

Fear is contagious and violence begets violence. In traditional martial arts we start with the person and work outwards. Our first 3 commands are ‘stand tall, breathe deep and focus the mind’ – body language, calmness and a focused mind are the essential places to start.  We call this neigong – ‘inner work’.

Body Language
Child or adult, the first lessons are how not to be a victim, drawing yourself up to your full height, looking everyone in the eye and using an authoritative voice, moving with confidence and not looking hunched, vague or dithery means that you are unlikely to picked on in the first place.

Emotional Intelligence
In our Zan Zuang ‘standing post’ practice we work on getting a connected strength and also the yin and yang aspects of emotional intelligence training the emotions to be patient, kind, tolerant and compassionate alongside resolve, determination and courage. This teaches students courtesy, good manners and how to be helpful and function well with others but if pushed will not be afraid to stand their ground and deal with aggression and negativity without becoming aggressive and negative themselves. The last thing you want is a child or adult who becomes a bully to deal with a bully.

Personal Space
We teach that your body belongs to you and no-one child or adult has the right to touch you without your permission. Your ‘reach out and touch space’ is your personal space and inside that is the ‘red’ zone where you will be actively defending yourself, the perimeter is the amber ‘highly aware’ zone where you are ready to act and further away is the ‘yellow’ zone where you are aware and watching mindfully – we are never in the lazy or distracted ‘white’ zone.

Traditional martial artists are ‘peacekeepers’, the law says that anyone is allowed to use ‘reasonable’ force to defend themselves and this requires all the skills listed above. First we teach how to not get bullied, body language, emotional intelligence and social graces are essential, then how not to get hit or held, use of distance, angle and principles like the ‘wedge’ and ‘spiral’ are essential to make it work. We teach strategy for all occasions in school and personal life so everyone has a toolbox of ‘street savvy’ appropriate to their age and environment. Finally we teach the ‘last resort’ techniques of punching,  kicking locking, throwing and restraint to be used with the trained resolve, determination and courage rather than negativity and aggression.

Traditional martial arts is a lifetime study and contains all the depth and knowledge to keep you studying over the years, no ‘quick fix’ but a bank of life skills built over the days, months and years of study put together by people that learned in the same way.

Being a ‘peacekeeper’ gives you a life of health, happiness and social skills, far better than immersing yourself into a world of negativity and violence.

Articles, Uncategorized

Kung Fu Kids Codes


Below are listed the Kung Fu Kids codes that we teach at our club listed in the briefest and most memorable way to help you remember….

Our 4 Rules (recited in Dojo every lesson)

Practice every day

Never attack anyone

Balance training, nutrition and rest

Good behaviour at all times

Good Values

Respect yourself

Respect others

Value the environment

Seek Knowledge

Achieve your potential

Contribute positively


Good Manners

Say hello/goodbye

Say please/thank you/excuse me

Be on time

Wait your turn

Sit properly

Ask before using

Ask before moving

Don’t interrupt or yell out

Don’t swear

Don’t embarrass others


Good Behaviour

You are responsible for your actions

We all have rights and responsibilities

Negative behaviour = consequences

Care courtesy respect responsibility – code of behaviour

Bullying and harassment aren’t fair and hurt people

Positive behaviour = reward

Our rules protect your rights


Good Social Skills

Develop self esteem

Develop good values

Use good manners

Develop good people skills

Communicate effectively with others

Build and maintain friendships

Work cooperatively in groups

Manage and resolve conflict

Make good choices in challenging situations

Avoid anti social behaviour


Good People Skills


Use good manners

Acknowledge others

Use greetings

Use people’s names

Look at people when talking


Accept differences

Respect opinions of others

Give compliments


Code of behaviour


For others

For the school environment


Acknowledge others

Speak politely

Use good Manners


Others and their property

School rules


Be well presented

Be punctual and prepared

Do your best





How To Stop Bullying

steve adam

How To Stop Bullying

Simon was 13 years old and usually an enthusiastic and happy member of the adult class.  Tonight he really did seem ‘off his game’ – he was quiet and messing up his timing and distance by blinking and seemingly scared of being hit.  Sensei noticed this and followed him down to the changing rooms.  Simon was sitting staring into space.

“You alright Simon?” asked Sensei

“Yeah… sure…” said Simon in an uncertain tone.

“What’s up mate, it’s unlike you to be off your game like this?” pressed Sensei.

“Just an off day I guess,” said Simon.

“C’mon mate, open up, you can’t hide anything in here, your emotions always show up in your movements, anything I can help you with?  This is my job you know, take advantage and talk.”

“It’s these kids at school… they just won’t leave things alone..”  Simon looked empty and dejected.

“What are they doing?” asked Sensei.

“They just don’t like me, they don’t like the way I walk, talk, dress, the fact that I do Karate….  They just keep pushing and pushing…”  A tear almost bubbled up but Simon swallowed it down and looked away.

“Are they physically pushing you?” asked Sensei.

“That and a lot more, they’re always taking the p***, always behind my back, sticking stupid notes on my back, spitting at me from behind, always commenting on my clothes and hair, playing practical jokes, bumping into me, saying that my Karate is stupid and that I couldn’t punch my way out of a paper bag, making kung fu noises every time I pass…  They’re looking for me to fight; I just can’t stand it anymore.”  Now a tear trickled down his agonised face and he wiped it away

“You’re right not to give them what they want,” answered Sensei.

“But it is going to happen isn’t it?” said Simon yielding to the inevitable.

“Have you been to the teachers?” asked Sensei.

“Yeah….  They just said to stay away from them and that it was six of one and half a dozen of the other and that we were all to blame” said Simon angrily.

“A common first response, have you discussed it with your parents?” asked Sensei.

“Yeah, done that, my Dad told me to walk up to them and punch them on the nose and my Mum went down and spoke to the head teacher who told her that they don’t have any bullying in the school and they had looked into it and think that we’re all to blame.  Do you think that I should punch them on the nose?”

“Not unless they attack you” replied Sensei.  “I would suggest a two pronged attack.”

Simon turned to look intensely at Sensei and asked “explain….”

“Firstly you must play it by the book, keep a diary, record everything that’s said and done, photograph any damage or harm that they do to you.  Get your parents to see the head teacher and record his response in writing, if you’re not happy with it, take it to the school governors, if you’re not happy with them go to the education department and your local councillors and MP.  Keep going and NEVER give into bullying, not from these kids or the teachers, be determined and keep going until this despicable behaviour is stopped.”  Sensei was quite animated and Simon could see that he despised bullying.

“What’s the other prong Sensei?”

“Confront the bullies at the time, don’t play their game.  Use positive body language, look them in the eye and ask them why they are doing the things that they are, ask them what their problem is.”

“Won’t that cause a fight Sensei?”

Sensei looked at Simon quite intensely.  “No, you’re standing up for your rights; no one has the right to treat you in this way, you must not allow it to happen, if you give in once, they will just do it again and again.  If they try to physically abuse you and no one is there to protect you, it’s important that you defend yourself making sure that you use ‘appropriate force’ so they are unable to continue the abuse.  If your defence is supported by the inaction of the teachers and school authorities, you are in the right.  Never – and I repeat never, let anyone abuse you in any way.”

“I see where you’re coming from now Sensei, I’ll talk to my parents when I get home.  Why do you think these kids are so nasty?”

“Because they have a very low self esteem and were probably bullied or got their own way by being nasty, either at home or school, we must feel sorry for them to a certain extent, but also make sure that the strategy doesn’t work for them by confronting them in a way that they can’t deal with.  Your determination and courage must be twice as much as theirs, they must be defeated by strategy and not coming down to their level.  They need to know that trying it on with you will not give them an easy time.

You might end up with a few thumps, but probably no worse than you’ve received accidentally in here, and if you do… it’s more ammunition for the other ‘prong’ of your attack.

In life, some people will like you and others won’t, you have to accept that.  But it doesn’t give anyone the right to abuse you.  You don’t want to ‘use your Karate’ on anyone, you’re happy to train in here and don’t want to hurt anyone – and that’s good.  If someone wants to abuse you then your training here will help you to control what you have to do to the other person, remember it’s them that dictates the level of violence you have to use to prevent their attack.  The authorities are supposed to ‘clear up’ the mess created by the incident, but they aren’t there at the time, so you have to be in control of what happens.  The level of violence is dictated by the attacker.

But NEVER, and I repeat NEVER let anyone abuse you in any way.  It’s your right as a human being.  Stop it before it gets out of hand.”

“Thank you”, said Simon, “now I know exactly what to do, and how to do it.”


Revenge Of The Stolen Pen


Steve Rowe talks to well respected Doorman and Shi Kon Martial Artist Dennis Jones. This interview was done in March 2005.

Dennis visited the centre and bought a videotape with a collection of violent confrontations taken from his huge archive of footage from 25 years of door work on some of the most violent night clubs in the Medway area to help the students understand how violence starts and how to avoid and deal with it.  Whilst he was here I asked him to talk about how bullies single out their targets.

SR  Dennis, we’ve just watched a videotape made up from over 100 confrontations that you’ve filmed – and I understand that’s just a snippet from your archives – the thing that strikes me is how violence seems to start from something stupid or trivial….

DJ  You’re not kidding!  You could be walking down the street and someone could pick on you just because he doesn’t like the jacket you’re wearing.  For you, that’s not acceptable within the bounds of civilised society, but for the person causing the problem, it’s a legitimate reason!

Some people just want to start trouble, they go through life in pubs, nightclubs and so on using “angles” to the way they talk, they want to “hook” onto somebody, measure that person and then do something to them to make themselves feel good, look good (to their mind) and satisfy this weird craving.

SR  Can you give a specific example?

DJ  Oh yeah… For instance I can remember there was a guy in the club where Iwas working and he was in the toilets grooming himself in the mirror and acting strangely.  I slid into one of the cubicles to find out what he was up to.  He was saying out loud to himself in the mirror:“Look how good I am…  Look how ******* good I am, I’m gorgeous!” what he was doing was not so much saying it for himself, but to see if anyone else was going to hook onto it.

People avoided eye contact with him and didn’t say anything.  He was getting off on the fact that he was scaring everyone who came in, as they walked past, he was saying “Oi!  Look at me I’m ******* gorgeous!  Who wouldn’t fancy me!”  Some of the guys walking past were big but I could see they were still scared.  One hesitated and didn’t say anything, so he put it straight on him saying “Don’t you think I’m *******good looking then?  Are you saying I’m ******* ugly?”

When the guy answered hesitantly “Erm no…. I…”  he walked straight over to him and started because he knew he’d hooked his victim.  The poor guy stammered “No no…  you’re not ugly…” and that was my cue.  I came out, grabbed him by the throat inadvertently sticking my finger in his eye and said “You’re too ******* good looking for this place – you’d better go” – and slung him out, catching him on the doorpost on the way out!   I ended up having to eject him in quite a violent way to prevent him from picking the fight he wanted with a weaker person

He ended up standing outside shouting “Why did you throw me out….  I was only saying that I was good looking!”

SR  What a strange guy!

DJ  Exactly!  Most people just can’t get their heads around the trivia.

SR  What advice can you give people who want to avoid idiots like that?

DJ  Actually you’ve just said it….  Avoid them!  People tend to go out in groups and if you don’t get isolated you shouldn’t become a target for these predators. You probably stand a good chance of having a good night out.  Avoid eye contact, keep out of their range and if you identify one these people, leave the premises! Fights often start because someone thinks that they aren’t going to put up with this sort of behaviour and it plays into their hands.

SR  Watching the tape, it’s amazing how many of these people having been ejected by the doormen – and often, physically sat on and then ejected, still come back for violence!  It seems that a lot of them are high on drink and drugs, as a Doorman how do you recognise the first signs of violence?

DJ  There’s an old Zen saying, “You fear first and then know you’ve feared afterwards”.  My gut instinct tells me – I feel it straight in the pit of my stomach.  I can stand on the door and instinctively pick people out, you may have a nightclub with a thousand people in it, but you’ve only got maybe 20 violent people in there, I’ll be able to pick them out.

Then you’ve got about another 20 on the periphery of being violent that are just waiting for a situation and the term that we’d use for that from the old days is “snipers”, they play the game with respect and manners until they see that you’re down, wrong footed or hurt and then they’ll stick a glass into the back of your head, your face, or put the boot in.  And yet half an hour previous to that they’d have sat down with you, bought you a drink and told you that you’re the greatest person in the world!  They are the worst people…  and in life the worst people to have as friends – certainly in that environment.

SR  It seems to me that the first taste of this sort of bullying for most people occurs at school and seems to stick with people for the rest of their lives.

DJ  That’s right!  In fact let me relate my own experience on the subject.  As a kid I was bullied.  I’m half Chinese and when I came to the Medway Towns I really suffered at school.  I didn’t have much and when my Aunt from Singapore gave me a really good pen I loved it. At school the bully took the pen out of my pocket and wrote something on a piece of paper with it and then put the pen in his pocket.

I asked him to give it back to me.  “What pen” he said.  I pleaded with him to give it back, told him it was special to me, that my Aunt had given it to me, I tried to appeal to his better nature, of course he just didn’t have one!  “I haven’t got your ******* pen” he said.  I asked him for it back again and he said: “Are you calling me a ******* liar?”

Now this is interesting Steve, see how he and the guy we spoke about earlier twist the situation to justify themselves, to make it look like the victim’s in the wrong?  I didn’t realise it at the time of course but this is a typical bully strategy.  I didn’t do anything about it and that hurt me.  That pen is probably why I took up Karate and started work on the doors.  You know how if you cut yourself as a child, you may get a small scar?  As you grow, the scar grows with you – and believe you me, this one grew and festered.

Well….  Guess what… 22 years later when I was working on the doors, he came into my club.  I went over to him and said “you stole my ******* pen!”  And I paid him back.  He probably didn’t remember it or me but I needed justice.

A couple of years later, he lost a hand in a motorcycle accident and it might be a terrible thing to say but this is how deeply it affected me – I couldn’t feel any compassion for him because he shouldn’t have stolen my pen!  Years later, he died of a drugs overdose and when one of the other doormen showed me the article in the newspaper…  guess what….  I felt no remorse.  I screwed up the paper, threw it into the bin and said…….  “he shouldn’t have stolen my ******* pen!

I know that sounds terrible but I want to make the point that how we react to these people and this type of situation can really affect us so deeply.

I despise bullies.  They made my life a misery when I was young and so many people suffer such terrible unnecessary indignity during what should be the happiest days of their life that these people shouldn’t get an opportunity make others suffer and end up being victims for the rest of their life.

SR  Agreed. This is why Martial Arts training for all ages is so important.

DJ  Yeah, but the right kind of Martial Arts training Steve, this is why I want to give the readers a reality check.  I want them to think about these columns and make sure they put some of the forthcoming ideas and strategies into their situation and self defence training.



No     overlay

Bullying is not always obvious,

Sometimes it’s physical abuse,

Sometimes it’s verbal and persuasive,

And sometimes it’s on the screen you use.

The punching and kicking is obvious,

The name calling, taunting and rumour,

Destroying someone’s reputation can be more hidden,

Done by nasty gossip and humour.

Recruiting others makes it seem legitimate,

Peer pressure makes it seem right,

When many agree to make one suffer,

Surely that makes it alright?

Bullies often have high social standing,

This empowers them with the crowd,

They are quick to be aggressive,

And the majority are scared to speak out.

The victim will be lonely and nervous,

And never seems to fit in,

The emotional damage is permanent,

And goes very deep within.

The bully will suffer the same,

But have learned to hide it well,

Be manipulative nasty and narcissistic,

And really as dark as hell.

To make sure we don’t bully or assist,

We have to be emotionally secure,

Be ready to stand up for the bullied,

And not give in to our fear….


How To Deal With Bullying At School

This a guide from the UK Government on how to deal with bullying at school.

How to deal with Bullies



Some forms of bullying are illegal and should be reported to the police. These include:

  • violence or assault
  • theft
  • repeated harassment or intimidation, eg name calling, threats and abusive phone calls, emails or text messages
  • hate crimes

Call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.


By law, all state (not private) schools must have a behaviour policy in place that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils.This policy is decided by the school. All teachers, pupils and parents must be told what it is.


Schools must also follow anti-discrimination law. This means staff must act to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation within the school. This applies to all schools in England and Wales, and most schools in Scotland.

Northern Ireland has different anti-discrimination law.


You should report bullying to your school in the first place – or someone you trust if it happens outside school, eg in a club or online.Tell the police if the bullying involves a crime.


School staff will deal with bullying in different ways, depending on how serious the bullying is.

They might deal with it in school, eg by disciplining bullies, or they might report it to the police or social services.

Any discipline must take account of special educational needs or disabilities that the pupils involved may have.


Anyone can make a complaint to the police about bullying but it’s usually a good idea to speak to your school first.

If you’re reporting cyberbullying, keep a record of the date and time of the calls, emails or texts – don’t delete any messages you receive.

Call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.


There are lots of organisations that provide support and advice if you’re worried about bullying:


Head teachers have the legal power to make sure pupils behave outside of school premises (state schools only).

This includes bullying that happens anywhere off the school premises, eg on public transport or in a town centre.

School staff can also choose to report bullying to the police or local council.


There is no legal definition of bullying.

However, it’s usually defined as behaviour that is:

  • repeated
  • intended to hurt someone either physically or emotionally
  • often aimed at certain groups, eg because of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation

It takes many forms and can include:

  • physical assault
  • teasing
  • making threats
  • name calling
  • cyberbullying – bullying via mobile phone or online (eg email, social networks and instant messenger)

Your school should have its own definition of bullying.