“Bullying, Consequences and Recourse” by Nev Sagiba

Every year a considerable number of young people commit suicide following nasty remarks directed towards them over the internet.

Threatening and crank phone calls can be as disturbing as emails and nasty remarks in cyber chat rooms. In some places the culture of bullying is more physical. This also is followed by suicides in some cases.

The old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” was advised to children long before the internet when other forms of bullying existed. Or simply “defend yourself.”

Indeed, most of us who took up some form of Budo mostly did so, not for “spiritual” reasons but because we were sick and tired of the bullies, sexual perverts, angry people, lunatics, sociopaths, dysfunctional parents, and the vast range of damaged and damaging members of society who would occasional drop the nice act when perceiving a prospective victim to take their pathologies out on. We simply did not want to become victims of these unwell bullies.

The pathology of domination resides in the chimp genes we inherit. It had its place in forming natural hierarchies for the survival of a stone age clan in the rough and tumble of natural survival.

In today’s mostly cushioned world this instinct is obsolete in as far as having any useful purpose. I personally doubt that getting bullied and bastardized develops character. What it does do is to breed revenge, the precursor of the deep mind state that makes criminals, terrorists and all violent activity.

On the other hand, with the more gentle souls it can implode hence leading to withdrawal, agoraphobia and sometimes suicide.

This also happens in the event of physical assault and “martial artists” who often become victims of assault (read the statistics) are not immune from such symptoms.

The risk to society, indeed the world, is that following a period of surviving withdrawal symptoms, rage will erupt. This rage will be irrational, hateful, violent, disrespectful and destructive.

Bullying is everywhere in some measure and part of navigating life is the ability to transmit the fact that you have made a clear decision to not play the part of being a victim.

It takes two to tango. And also to contend or play the bully, victim game. Children however have no choice and must be protected.

Bullying can happen anywhere. I won’t comment about priests except that the treatment they meted out in medieval times would suit most of them. Used car salesmen specialize in bully tactics to close a sale. There are as many people in politics who obviously have domination issues as there are those with an authentic desire to serve for the best for humanity’s welfare. So also police, doctors, lawyers and just about any career which carries a position of responsibility, custodianship and duty of care.

And don’t underestimate those misfits who pretend to be “pacifist.” The “pacifist” act is one of covert, smoldering passive-aggressive violence based on the strategy of knowing that they are in fact weak. So they sneak around and manipulate whilst dreaming of having the ability to bully, dominate and be violent.

In reality there are no “good” people as such. Beware the most those who have mastered the art of pretending to be good. They most often hide the greatest evil. They implement it “nicely” and do much harm.

The dark side is alive and well and will always exist. The trick is to understand this and strive for honesty and balance. Goodness is possible but only when awareness of badness is understood.

To every action there will be a reaction. Consequences can never be avoided. They are inevitable.


“I send a voice.. ” The prayers to the Creator by indigenous tribal elders would begin like this.

All people should have a voice and we should take care to make it a human duty to make sure that everyone does have a voice. People without a voice or an opportunity to communicate grievances tend to become what we now like to call terrorists.

What drives terrorists?

Having no recourse makes a person both dangerous and destructive. When there is no creative outlet for communicating their anger they find a destructive one.

Lying, cheating, theft and imposition, within the framework of a civilized context can be dealt with through due process.

Where due process is not available, a dangerous vacuum is made where rage will express with the law of the jungle and this is then art risk of being escalated when exploited by political interests.

Human relations are a delicate balance. We cannot afford to ride roughshod over anyone.

We as a species should go out of our way not only to refrain from covert injustices, just because we can, but also, in the event our injustices may be the result of unconsciousness, to afford a voice to all people alive. And to listen And to play fair.


No matter who or what, a human being should be allowed to preserve their dignity.

Except bullies. Bullies will never know or understand empathy until meted a severe dose of their own medicine. The conundrum is that in doing so one has to become a bully.

Is there another way?

Yes? By not being a coward. By developing the skill to not be a victim, the bullies intent returns and they are forced, by arrangement of nature, to deal with the energy they have generated to impose. This requires acquired skills and practice and is the principle of Aikido..

In the world there are as many who bully, as those who refuse to bully. There are various extremes of each. Some people are merely distressed and not having handled their own distress are reactive. This too can have a similar effect to that of bullying.

Such practices as Aikido training build internal bridges between the gaps of unconsciousness which give rise to fear and reactivity and serve to awaken the mind and heart.

Hopefully this will enable bridge builders in the world.

Nev Sagiba


  1. bruce baker says:

    There is another thing that has happened in our culture … stupidity on a massive scale, but maybe I see something most people do not.

    Anyway … I was one of those kids that the Bullys used to pick on from time to time. My solution was to get the better of the bullies and occasionally stand up to them either verbally, or when a situation put them in the moral wrong accentuate that wrong. For the most part I avoided fights because my mother would beat my ass for getting into fights, but there were opportunities to mentally and physically best bullies in high school.

    Some people can’t stand the fact that someone they thought inferior is their equal in something else or that they, the chosen ones, are just like everyone else. Then again, there are those people whose minds play tricks on them and every little thing someone does makes them suspect, but then over time and distance we reveal our true selves.

    Ya can’t fix everything, but you can ENCOURAGE people to do the right thing, and encourage cowards to move towards gaining insight and courage. It then becomes “their choice” if they wish to change.

    In some ways, Aikido encourages us to gain confidence, to confront the fears of our minds, our lives, and to reach for better person who is more confident thinking with a clearer mind.

    Realize … you aren’t gonna be a movie hero. You may have to walk away from fights, from violence, and you may be seen as a coward by some people when you seek justice over injustice because sometimes justice is not found in a physical fight but in doing the right thing morally.

    Bottom line … hopefully you will recognize the bad things in your life, in you as we all have something bad thing to deal with, and you will learn to deal with these things. If your training in Aikido clears your mind, gives you moral support to better yourself as a human being … fine … go for it … just don’t use training as crutch because eventually you will have to walk without that crutch if you want to walk and run.

    You have to figure out how far you can go against a bully, what you can say to have society step in to correct a situation, and what you need to do to preserve not only your moral compass but you should protect your physical life should a situation endanger that life.

    Walking away is an option.

    Putting up with the slings and arrows of insults will indeed hurt worse than fighting, but then what are you gonna do after the incident occurs to push a situation toward the best outcome with words and actions? It all adds up over time and distance.

    You can build a bridge without tools, but with tools … gee .. it sure is a heck of lot easier … isn’t it? Train for whatever time you can … get some tools, eh?

  2. My Mom was a WWII pacifist. Her mantrum was, “It takes two to fight.” (Didn’t mean she spared the rod.) I wasn’t especially strong or coordinated or socially adept so became the object of bullying. It might take two to fight, but only takes one to kick your butt or something more humiliating. Why I train: “My name is Chuck and I over-compensate for youthful victimization…” At least it keeps me fit and is interesting, sometimes even useful.

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