Bullyproof Chess?

Lisa Suhay wrote an article dealing with the playground phenomenon of bullying. In her piece, she attempts to use chess as a metaphor for strategically out-thinking a bully. The ideas are interesting, but it would be more interesting if they put the ideas to the test.

Today, if a bully can’t intimidate you with words, they will be forced to act. Apparently, this is where bullyproof self-defense comes in. Unfortunately, bullying also involves groups. Bully #1 may gather some friends to threaten you or flash a weapon. Fortunately, there is a self-defense mechanism for just about any attack.

There is a mixed debate on whether to alert authorities, but the stakes are much higher than what is depicted in the article. Kids can be a lot more brazen than in the past given the societal influences and exposure to violence (i.e., TV violence and video games). However, here is the idea as she describes it:

Bullyproof chess started in San Francisco, California with, Adisa Banjoko, a competing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt and founder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF). He was later joined by the Gracie family who created this “gentle” form of martial arts called Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Hip-hop chess fuses music, chess and martial arts to promote unity and non-violence. The Gracie family, originally from Brazil, changed basic Jiu-Jitsu into a way for the smaller, smarter, more patient opponent to win over the bigger, more physically powerful bully. Mixed martial arts (MMA) pioneer, Rickson Gracie, says he draws much of his strength on the mat from the chess games he plays. He often calls Jiu-Jitsu, “a physical game of chess.”

Visitors of The Chess Drum will have heard of Adisa Banjoko’s Hip Hop Chess Federation. He has built an organization which is designed for teaching life skills through chess, martial arts and hip-hop. Being bullied is certainly a reality for many children and there are many strategies. What is offered in the “bullyproof” method is… “Talk. Tell. Tackle.” Gracie was featured on Oprah and offered Bullyproof as a way to combat the issue.

Suhay captures this idea in her article. It will be interesting to see these techniques put to the test. One can certainly use this technique while going to a park where chess is played. Go to Washington Square Park and see the chess bullies try to take lunch money from unsuspecting visitors. Interesting to watch this spectacle unfold. Sometimes it is the bully who gets bullied. A word of advice… show no fear to ANY type of bully or thug.

In chess, use the Sicilian. 🙂

Lisa Suhay, “How to Safely Checkmate a Bully,” Chess Life for Kids, 6 August 2010.

One Comment

  1. In a previous life, I bullied and dished out beatings to several classmates until they started fighting back. Not my proudest moment as a youngster, but I was a bit rough. However, once they got the courage to fight back (even unsuccessfully), I moved on. Certainly there are techniques and perhaps Jiu Jitsu is very effective if a bully puts his hands on you.

    Aikido or judo can do the same if a guy finds himself flying in the air. Being thrown is a humbling occurrence for an assailant. Watch these techniques from Anthony Muhammad. Notice the leverage… makes it look easy. Bullying is a lot more dangerous and weapons are widely available. Someone flashed a knife on my nephew. If this happens, get the authorities involved.

    For a chess bully, use the Sicilian. 😉

    Video by XS Sports

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