Grant Wagar wrote:
I think, perhaps sadly, in most cases of this a school yard bully needs to be confronted and "beaten up" before the problem stops. Avoiding them only elects more punishment.
I basically have no problem with the rest of your post. When you are faced with unreasoned, unreasoning violence, sometimes (usually?) your only option is to return it in kind. Even then, though, it's really about surviving and stopping the violence rather than vengeance (or should be).
But schoolyard bullies are a different situation, IME. If you beat up the bully, you'll generally just be faced with another - possibly several - bullies. Basically, you enter into a bully competition. No one ever wins in such bully competitions. Sooner or later, you get your head handed to you.
But I have several students who've dealt with bullies and ended the problem, at least of the bully beating them up.
The two cases where I know the story (I just found out about at least one other case and I don't know the whole story and probably never will) my students didn't beat anybody up. They simply foiled an attempted attack. The bully didn't get hurt, neither did my students. But the bully was embarassed.
Even then, though, the embarassment wasn't about being "beaten". It was about getting himself into a situation which he didn't control. They're all about control.
In both cases where I actually know what happened, bullies (multiple in one case) attacked, my student simply turned out of the way of the attack and the bullies fell down. Okay, yes, it was kokyu nage - sort of. The bullies didn't get hurt, so their friends wouldn't intervene on their behalf.
You know, on some level, this is really where we should be thinking when we're thinking self defense. In a conflict involving a knife or gun or really any other attempt to seriously injure or kill you, there is a lot of luck involved and you can only ever hope to reduce the luck factor, not eliminate it. Moreover, most of us never have to deal with such an attack and if we do we're likely to have to do things we aren't going to like.
But the drunk at a party. Or the schoolyard bully. These are credible threats for real people. More than "are my skills adequate to the task", is the question, "will my skills make the situation worse".