There are undoubtedly a few Maniacs among you that have suffered at the hands of a bully in your younger days. It's an epidemic at schools the world over. Young children of all ages are forced to deal with bigger and stronger kids that feel it necessary to pick on them relentlessly.
This often leads to disastrous conclusions. Some kids retreat into themselves and become a shell of what they had been before. Others never quite reach the potential they may have shown. The absolute worst outcomes involve death and destruction.
It's ugly. And there's no place for it.
The problem is that it goes unchecked all too often. Schools are overcrowded and authority figures can't be everywhere at once. And running and playing tattle tale does nothing for a child's confidence and mental stability. It actually hurts it, in many cases.
And that's where Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or more specifically, Gracie jiu-jitsu is most effective.
The Gracie family teaches discipline, self-defense and non-violent combative techniques that are best put to use in situations like the one facing a 12-year-old boy in Colorado named Martin Hendricks.
ThePostGame.com recently detailed his plight and the way he hooked up with Rener Gracie, grandson of the grandmaster of jiu-jitsu himself, Helio Gracie, to put a stop to his being bullied at school to take his life back.
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."
It took until Thursday for Martin to convincingly respond to a taunt by walking up to the instructor posing as a bully and saying with conviction, "Don't ever do that again."
Rener taught Martin the three T-steps: TALK to the bully and ask him to leave you alone. TELL the teacher and your parent that the bully won't stop even after you've talked to him. TACKLE the bully and use jiu-jitsu to gain control of him without resorting to punches or kicks.
"If you draw that line with your words and the bully respects it, the case is closed without a physical altercation," Rener told Martin. "But if you draw that line and they slap you, kick you, cross that line again, you don't think twice. You take both of your hands and push him as hard as you can in the chest. You blast him. Knock him off his feet.
"Then take control using jiu-jitsu and tell him you will let him go if he promises not to bother you any longer. If he won't say it, wait until a teacher or another adult shows up before letting him up."
Martin nodded. Rener had given him a plan and taught him enough jiu-jitsu techniques to take control of a bully. Still, Martin wondered, would he be able to execute the plan when he returned to Colorado and started school the following week?
The article, which is superb and I strongly encourage you to head over to The Post Game to read it in its entirety, goes on to detail the exact sequence of events when Martin was again confronted by the bully.
Suffice to say, the adolescent used his training to not only defend himself but bring a happy ending to his plight.
It's seems we hear the flip side to this story entirely too often. A kid gets bullied and his cries for help go unanswered until he does something rash. And the world wonders how this could have possibly come to be and how it can be prevented in the future.
Surely that will happen again. And when it does, Martin Hendricks will have an answer for them.