that's exactly what happened to my son (9,5) some two weeks ago.
He was attacked by some other boy in school, and instead of taking up a fight he just made some sideward movement and the attacker ran into the wall
. Big laughter from the side of my boy (he told me the story with great pride - "Mama, Tai sabaki WORKED!")
And afterwards the attacker complained to a teacher, saying that my son pushed him into the wall...but apparently the teacher did not believe him and didn't punish my son.
I think teachers generally know who is a bully and who is not.
At the family dinner table, when I was a youngster, I used to occasionally kick my younger brother under the table, and then he usually would hit me with his fist, in my shoulder, so my parents would see my younger brother hit my shoulder. Often I would claim innocence, "I didn't do anything!" and my brother would be admonished to behave himself.
Glad your son was not punished by a false accusation.
Stepping aside, or stepping in and taking ahold of the attacker's arm, allows you to guide him.
A co-worker was horsing around at work today, so I practiced a wrist lock and moved my position in relation to his. When I walked away, it was not in retreat or in fear. Just changing positions.
The objective of the phrases I am teaching to sub-teens is to create a dialogue, and a tone of command. The dialogue could help the attacker to think through his actions, by being asked to talk.
The questions are rhetorical, partly a statement, so that witnesses catching a glimpse, can understand the reality. Giving the attacker a chance to explain his actions, gives the victim a chance to apologize, if an untended harm has appeared to have been caused by the victim. The victim asking questions gives the victim an appearance and feeling of being in control, and should diminish a sense of fear, and foster rational decision making. If several kids are ganging up, it may be time to run for it.
More Confronting a Bully:
Why are you trying to scare me?
Why are you trying to make me afraid you are going to hit me?
Why are you trying to hurt me?