Yesterday, a video of a high school bully assaulting a blind classmate before karma intervened went viral. The video, which was shot at Huntington Beach High School in Huntington Beach, CA, showed a bully punching Austin, a partially blind student, several times before a third student intervened and dropped the bully with a single punch to the face. The punch that dropped the bully named Noah, left a bloody gash above his right eye. The student who decked the bully is Cody Pines, a former member of the high school football team, was reportedly suspended for sticking up for his blind classmates as others just filmed or watched the assault go down.
Pines, who is 17 years old, was the only student to stand up for his classmate as he was being assaulted. While Pines did courageously intervene when other students watched and teachers were no where to be found, he could have gotten into serious trouble if his punch led to Noah the bully getting knocked out or suffering significant head trauma from his head hitting the pavement while falling from the blow. If Noah the bully was seriously injured, it would have resulted in assault charges from police and a civil lawsuit for Cody’s family. While many school administrators are now utilizing a “zero tolerance” policy on bullying and violence, there might be more leeway in punishing Cody if he used his football skills to take down his opponent with a tackle and control him from top position rather than punching him in the face.
When school administrators and concerned parents view video of the incident, one of the last images isn’t the bully assaulting a smaller and weaker opponent. Instead, it is the image of the floored bully moaning as blood is visible from a cut above his head. While the cut isn’t life threatening, the raw image of blood is a visceral reminder of why schools have zero tolerance policies on violence while overlooking that Cody was forced to act since teachers and security weren’t present to prevent the first assault from happening.
The beauty of Jiu Jitsu and grappling is that a smaller and weaker opponent can use technique to defend him/herself against a bigger and stronger opponent without injuring the opponent. Decking an opponent isn’t the only option when you known Jiu Jitsu and grappling. While we all enjoy the karma of a bully getting owned, Cody could have gotten in serious trouble if the punch caused major head trauma. Teaching kids like Austin and Cody effective body locks and take downs as well as top control from guard, side control and mount can help neutralize bullies while reducing the chance of serious injuries and school administrators leveling unfair punishment to students defending themselves or helping bullied classmates.
Here are a few alternatives commonly used in Jiu Jitsu and grappling that Cody could have utilized to neutralize Noah.
Marcelo Garcia showing a cool back take.
Renzo Gracie showing takedown from Clinch
TriStar Head Coach Firas Zahabi
Would grappling be viewed as less violent in an anti-bullying and self-defense scenario than punching?