The Bully

The Bully

Dear Boys,

Ian didn’t have a good Secondary One, the transition was rough as the primary school years were kind of rough. and you wanted to put all that behinds and start afresh, eager for a clean slate. a bit too eager I’d say.

As your parents we remembered your Sec One form teacher telling us on your first Parent Teacher Meeting (PTM) that you are great, assimilating well into secondary school life, but a bit too fast to raise your hands, and perhaps working a bit too hard to try and fit in and get accepted.

Poor judge of character

In the early months of your Sec 1, you were grouped into a team to do some work, and you told us about these few boys whom we singled out a particular individual- let’s call him Johnny. I told you to be wary of Johnny as he don’t look like someone I’d consider decent, based on your account of him and his behavior.

You decided to go ahead with his group and true to our opinions, you didn’t have a good time.

Bad to Worse

It turns out this Johnny was of all sorts of wayward character, making things difficult in class, and turns out to be the kind of delinquent we warned our kids to not become and warn our kids of. Unfortunately, he decided to pick on you, since you’ve sort of worked with him earlier in a project, and looked like you can be pushed around for being amiable and nice.

Over the school term, we keep hearing you coming home to tell us about the things Johnny did in class, and things got so bad he was caned in class. That was his problem but he also decided to embarrass you by ‘pants-ing*’ and gets physical through rough play.

No use going to the teachers

We mentioned this to the school but it was no helpful, despite of the school telling him not to come near you, he still continues to harassed you. It looks like there was little that could be done to deal with him.

One evening while you were talking about him, again. and we got quite agitated because Johnny is really getting on my nerve, and yet I cannot do anything about him. In exasperation, I asked:” Why is he still messing with you!?” Something like that.

You finally blurted out, with tears in your eyes “Because I’m scared of him!”

The Truth is Out

That revelation puts things in perspective. Now we know we need you to deal with your fear, otherwise you will never overcome this bad experience and it will haunt you for a long time to come.

We also knew that the establishments will not be able to help you anymore, so we need to take matters into our own hands.

Last Straw

Towards the end of Term 4, you came back and told us that Johnny started another antics of trying to hug you from behind, and tried to be ‘friendly’ in this way towards you. We knew you didn’t like it and he is not at all that friendly, so he’s just being him.

I told you this- take the fight to him.

You have my full blessings to beat the living daylights out of him, and apply necessary violence to send the message, not to trifle with you anymore. Our rules of engagements is simple: ‘Don’t start a fight, and if you found yourself in one, you need to end it with you standing.’

So I give you my blessings, Take Him Out. I would expect a call from your principal informing your parents that you are involved in a gnarly fight and I have to go to the school to sort this out.

The End

So the next day I came home and asked you about it, you nonchalantly told us that you knocked him out.

We were like “YOU WHAT!?”

You proceeded to tell us that Johnny was up to his usual nonsense and tried to hug you again, from the front this time, you saw that coming and pushed him away once, and warned him not to do it.

Johnny ignored you (no surprise there) and came at you again. You did the same thing pushed him away and then swung your small bag, with a half filled water bottle in it at him. It caught him at the side of his head and he went down, lights out.

He wasn’t out for long and got to his feet groggily. It happened so quickly no one has got a chance to even register what happened. According to you, some other naughty kids saw you did that as well, but no one said a thing.

Training paid off

While your dad is an Aikidoka by training, I’ve never taught you boys anything martial arts, instead I teach ‘dirty fighting’ getting you boys to punch, kick and deal with a larger opponent, getting pinned to the ground and fighting your way out and up. Fighting is very physical and overwhelming and I’ve always prepare you both to fight someone larger faster and better than you. The only way to prevail in such a situation is to throw the rule book out, and fight like hell.

Of course part of these trainings is about timing and distancing, which paid off when Ian took out Johnny. While I never wanted any of you boys to get into a fight, I’m glad you could get out of one, quickly and expeditiously without being hurt.

Smooth sailing

After that event, Johnny learned to stay away from you, thankfully that was the only year you were in the same class with him and it did helped to minimize interactions. I think the other confidence builder is that you know you can stand up for yourself, and people has seen you done that, and the rest of your secondary school says, no one decided to pick on you anymore.

That fight, thankfully didn’t change you for worse, you’re still that good natured, often goofy, aloof boy, but I think word would have spread that you can do what is needed to protect yourself.

*Pants-ing is a trend back then where kids tries to pull down each other’s pants in a bid to embarrass them

Do not get into fights

Do not get into fights

Dear Boys,

While this might sound like a no-brainer, sometimes emotions can get better of us, and we get triggered by overwhelming external circumstances to act in a hurtful and violent manner.

Just recently, there are 2 case of such altercations. one of them involved a 36 year old Stanchart staff called Chua who hit a 74 year old smoker, Ng, who wasn’t happy that he was filmed smoking at places he shouldn’t be smoking. The older man kind of attacked Chua, who charged at the guy, knocking him to the floor. Ng sustained head injuries and died later in hospital. Chua received a jail sentence of 4 years for voluntarily causing hurt which causes grievous hurt. The other case looks similar, a 53 year old man, drunk, punched a 66 year old guy, who died when his head hit the ground.

There is no winner in violence

We lived in a generally civil society surrounded by laws and rules of all sorts. sometimes it may look as if the people are breaking the law, and we would like to take some self-righteous actions, and be civic minded. Chua, in the earlier case, took pictures of Ng, who was smoking at non-designated area. One man ended up dead and another one jail. Is it worth it for a moment of being indignant of being right?

That doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to blatant flouting of the law, or right the wrong when we can. It is really a judgement call. Use all your sense and don’t get blinded by wanting to do the right thing, and end up doing the wrong one. When you need to resort to violence to uphold the law, or stop crime, then we might have crossed the line and we become the lawbreakers instead.

Civil society

To be honest, I need to keep myself in check as well, since I can be passive aggressive and vocal in telling people off, but as I age, I took a more mature perspective. Recently I started to quietly count the number of infractions I see on the road while I’m on the road, cycling. I lost count.

Cyclists, pedestrians, pram pushers, all sorts of walking humans crossing the road when the Red man is on

Motorists sees the zebra crossing as a ticket to speed

Drivers on their phones when they are driving

School children crossing the road looking at their phones

Illegal parking

The list goes on…

The whole point is this, I didn’t give up, I choose to look for good behaviors instead, and be thankful that I get to my journey safely. Surely there are times I can’t help it but feel angry when a car zipped pass me instead of stopping at a zebra crossing for me, it’s my right of way after all! These days I let it go, really no point arguing and get into an altercation, the motorist needs to get somewhere and so do I, it’s just unfortunate that our fate intertwined at that junction.

Lose/Lose in any fight

There consequences, unfortunate and unforeseen if we get into a fight. Like Chua, he will leave jail at 40, with a criminal record for the next 30-40 years of his life. One guy is dead because of his rash act. For me, at my age, it will be stupid foe me to get into a fight with a younger guy. If I win, that guy will look bad being trounced by a older guy, he will bring more friends the next time to even the odds, and if I get whacked by him, then I probably deserved it, going fist to fist with a younger guy. Like I said either way no one wins. If I happen to be the younger guy fighting an older guy, the outcome is still the same, I win, I still lose.


Back in the days when I just started out in Aikido, everyone who is practicing Martial Arts have to have this from the Martial Arts Control Unit (MACU) as martial artists are somehow common bedfellows with triads and secret societies. This was abolished in the later years, but the point I want to bring across is that if your dad, a trained Aikidoka gets into a fight and someone gets hurt badly, the newspapers and social media will have a feast. Imagine the headlines: “Martial Arts Expert kills/maimed/ hurt, cripple old man.”

There is an additional level of restrain for my case as people will hang me for the slightest atercations I unwittingly find myself in. So it is better that I don’t get into a fight, especially when most fights are totally unnecessary and a simple clash of egos.

More importantly, my life will be disrupted, if I go to jail, like Chua did, I’d lose my job, and put the rest of you in hardship, all for a matter of ‘principle’?

Just live and let live so that everyone can go their way and live their life. Yes, I might get angry, but acting on anger is the a very bad idea, holding on to anger only feeds it more and it’s a slippery slope down. Nothing good usually comes out of anger, so remember to deescalate internally, play your own harmony movie in your head instead of a violent vengeful one. Have a happy cartoon to play when you come across a totally unnecessarily tensed or angry situation. Learn to defuse your own bad temper and always let go of the bad.

Act only when the reality of you or your loved ones are close to being harmed. Or you need to put a stop to a dangerous situation, but most of the time err on the safe side, and the safe side often means doing nothing too vengeful or angry.

Stay safe and be safe.


Man admits tackling elderly smoker at void deck who later died

Man punches 66-year-old who later dies in hospital

I got my 4th Dan

I got my 4th Dan

No one knows this but I was close to tears back in November last year when Horii Shihan announced that we have passed our grading. ZZ got his 1st Dan, Tri- 2nd Dan, MJ-his 3rd Dan, and me my 4th Dan.

I’m not sure why I wanted to cry, perhaps it is because Harry sensei just died back in April? If it hadn’t been for his demise, I would be getting the 4th Dan from him, like how I got my 1st to 3rd Dan.

Perhaps it is because if it had been Harry sensei grading us, getting my 4th Dan would be an platonic reality, and now with Horii shihan grading, I’m not so sure if my standards meets his expectations. Maybe it was an overwhelming wave of relief to hear Horii shihan announced that all of us got our grades and pass his scrutiny.

Harry sensei’s legacy

When he died, we were in kind of a limbo, as an Aikidoka, I was already thinking of hanging up my hakama, my days on the mat ends now that Harry sensei is gone, but as fate would have it, I continued his work on the mat, stepping into this role.

While I can somewhat sit in his place, doing my atomic bit to continue the class, I cannot fill the void left behind by him in the bigger larger Aikido universe. Harry sensei is very connected and his loss is certainly felt. He has made many, many friends through his Aikido practice.

Horii shihan is one of Harry sensei’s friends who came and answer our limbo. He came to our humble dojo, trained with us, and graded us. With his guidance, we are able to see a bit clearer into the future as a dojo.

It’s so true to say that we exists because we are standing on the shoulders of giant, for our case, we move from the giant shoulders of Harry sensei to another. This is the true spirit and soul of of Aikido. That peace, love and harmony really works, to build friendship, bond and support; this is perhaps the reason why I continue to train and carry on the good work Harry sensei has left behind.