Kids are mean. Adults can be meaner. We all probably had to deal with bullies while growing up. I did. My bullies wore faces of silent exclusion and judgment on the school playground, in the gym during PE, and in math class when I raised my hand to answer most of the questions. My bullies were family members. They were girls I thought were my friends in elementary and high school. Boys who called me “freak” when lined up for a fire drill on the soccer field.
Ignoring bullies carries a high price, especially among the younger demographic. When I was much younger my parents enrolled my sister and me in karate, but neither of us stayed with it for long.
I wish I had. I wish my parents had put us through jiu-jitsu and encouraged us to keep with it regardless of the rollercoaster of emotion that accompanies childhood.
But martial arts, regardless of how cool they are, are not the only way to protect yourself against bullies.
A lot of it comes down to emotional protection, boundaries, knowing when to walk away, and knowing when to get help.