I just came to my new school, where I feel like a loner and there are some students who are professional boxers. The bullying is common here. I'm afraid that they can beat me. I am a weak one unlike most of them, they have good muscles. So, after watching the movie Drunken Master, I want to learn Kung Fu, so that I can protect me at least. My age is 15 and I'm weakest in my class. I want to learn self defense in Kung Fu which is the easy and fast to learn style.

  • You may want to look at martialarts.stackexchange.com/questions/159/… Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 14:53
  • 1
    @Abhas -- Fwiw, I was bullied as a kid in school before I got a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Honestly, dealing with bullies is going to be more about learning to be calm when you're afraid and being willing and okay with feeling fear and anxiety. That kind of confidence and self-awareness is impossible to teach quickly, but I promise you -- you don't have to beat your tormentors in a fight to be safe. As terrible as it sounds, the worst they can do to you is cause physical pain if you resist them. They're broken and taking things out on you, but you don't have to let them make you afraid. Ever.
    – RoboBear
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:19
  • 3
    Gong fu (kung fu) translates to skill obtained by hard work over time, which is the opposite of fast and easy.
    – mattm
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 12:43
  • You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Do not try to fight bullies, that is not how you deal with those kind of people. If you do not give them a reason to bother you then you should be fine. My one friend used to always say when someone asked him what he would do if someone wanted to pick a fight with him: "Why do I want to fight? I can drive, I will just run him over." Basically stick to what you are good at. If you are good with people maybe you can have some friends around that would discourage bullying.
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 23:56
  • 1
    @Chris said "If you do not give them a reason to bother you then you should be fine." Um... no. Bullies pick on people they feel that they can dominate. People who are smaller, introverted, physically or socially awkward, unusual physical appearance, wearing hand-me-down clothes, being of a different ethnicity, not good at sports? Those are great reasons, in their minds, for them to bully you. Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 20:30

12 Answers 12


Protecting yourself from bullying has more to do about confidence than about martial arts. Learning martial arts will raise your confidence, but coming across as unsure and uncertain, even if you're a grandmaster, will still get you bullied.

Because of that reason, the style of kungfu matters less. The club you go to and your trainer matters more. Make sure you feel good at the club and during the trainings. Make sure the trainer has a positive attitude. That way, you'll reach your goals of not being bullied while getting better at kungfu.

As a sidenote, plenty of semi-professional or professional fighters actually are really kind-hearted people. Don't take "professional boxer" as a sign of them being a bully. Of course there are bullies amongst competitive fighters, but they're in a vast minority.


Source: Black Belt in Ju Jitsu

First, I completely agree that learning to fight won't fix your problem; it'll probably just get you into trouble. However, learning a martial art is a great way to build confidence and THAT can definitely help with the bullying (speaking from experience here). One thing to note though, is that NO martial art is "fast and easy" to learn; they're all disciplines that require lots of training and focus. Without that discipline, you're in danger of hurting yourself or seriously injuring someone else which, even in a fight, is not what you want to do.

All of that being said, one discipline that I would recommend is Ju Jitsu. I'm a black belt in Japanese Ju Jitsu and the style is based on controlling someone by using their own strength, weight and energy against them. It's a fantastic style for learning ways to deal with larger, stronger opponents.

Also, one of the below answers mentioned Wing Chun. I'm not sure why it got downvoted; Wing Chun is a great style for someone who doesn't want a discipline based on strength. It was originally designed as a "women's martial art" but picked up a lot of steam with both men and women. Wing Chun is one of the styles that Bruce Lee studied.

  • 1
    +1 for mentioning the use of an opponent's strength and mentioning Wing Chun
    – RoboBear
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 21:15

Fighting will not solve your problem

Learning how to fight will not help. It will take too long, land you in trouble with the law/school, and even if you succeed at becoming a fighter, all you achieve would be to turn yourself into a bully.

Using weapons is an even worst idea! Leave knives, shives, and bats at home. You can cause serious harm to yourself with those.

What will (might?) help…

Child safety from no-nonsense self defence is a good place to start. They have a section on bullying about half way down the page. It makes for grim reading.

However, there are things you can do:

  1. Talk to your parents. They should be your first port of call. They can talk to the school officials, move you to a different school, and they are there to help you.
  2. Talk to your teacher(s). Preferably one you like, if not the head of your class (if you have such a thing), and otherwise the head teacher. It is their responsibility to keep you safe while at and around school. Some schools have special counsellors and appointed persons that you can talk to, some do not. All of them are still legally responsible to listen and more importantly help you.
  3. If the two previous things have failed, and only in that case then you should seek help elsewhere: a good place is anti-bullying charities. You can find the closest to your local via Google.
  4. You might consider talking to law enforcement. But this should be your last resource.

Sean Duggan is absolutely right in his answer that you should develop an athletic outlook: get fit, flexible, and stronger. It will help you in all kinds of way and the sooner you start, the less effort it will be.

Raf's answer is spot on about martial arts styles being irrelevant compared to the teacher. If you look for an art, look for a good school and teacher more than a style. I would encourage you to do that but not for fighting bullies: instead look at developing your physique, your self confidence, making new friends.


Let's keep in mind that your goal is safety. Depending on what kind of danger you are facing, martial arts may, or may not help.

First, consider if there are any adults who you can turn to for help. There may be legal or school problems on top of the bullies, so having someone with the ability to navigate that and help you stay safe and find the best solution is important. You may need to reach out locally to organizations that help youth.

Second, if you don't have that, then you have to seriously consider the type of danger you are in. If it's just people talking mean, and pushing you around, it is survivable. Terrible, emotionally destructive, but survivable. Maybe, in those cases, it might be worth fighting back. Depending on what the types of responses you might get.

For me, I fought back when someone punched me. I won the fight, but it cost me a lot. The guy came after me with a knife, next. He was caught by police. Then he sent his cousins after me with a gun. I got to spend the next several years on the run from a gang. So, in hindsight, fighting back cost me more than taking a punch.

If you do seek out training - do talk to your instructor - the advice they have MUST be about more than fighting. It may be about how to endure, it may be about when to run, but fighting is one tool and only sometimes useful, in these situations.


Wing Chun/Jeet Kun Do. It originated (according to legend) as a style for women and has a focus on efficiency rather than strength.

That answers the question, but the solution, I think .. is to gain weight and muscle mass.

Honestly, you can spend the same amount of time learning martial arts and try to use it in a fight - or - just bulk up and more likely people will leave you in peace.

Given that any training whether its martial arts or weight lifting, would take several years to gain any real benefits from, and you likely graduate in 2 or 3 years .. don't you think you should consider another strategy, e.g. political: make friends with some tough guys? That partially worked for me.

I took up Goju Kai at about the same age and the only thing I learned from it was how to not panic in a fight, focus my mind, and deliver a clean strike, even while I was getting beat up.

I agree with @Kalmino, it can get you in more trouble, because once I became use to bloody sparring from the dojo I found myself picking fights with anyone that made fun of me, even if I knew I might get beat up. It didn't matter, because I lost all fear. The fact that other kids knew that I lost all fear was the single most significant thing to being left alone. (same principle as the comment from Raf)

I've noticed the same thing as pojo-guy, once I got into fights with people from my weight group and upward, I eventually realized my limits and they weren't far beyond my own capabilities for some one of my weight.

  • 3
    While Wing Chun may be a useful tip the "bulking up" may or may not be. I have worked out seriously for fifteen years and bench well over my weight but am honestly puny even so. Some of us have genetics for slimness not size. Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 22:30
  • I believe the OP is asking for information applicable to his case, and he has not indicated that he has this genetic trait that you have. Until he indicates otherwise, I still recommend that route for his use case.
    – Michael M
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 23:54
  • Fair enough - but note I did say "may or may not". Given he is small presently - at the least it is clear that bulkiness were not a natural state for him. Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 0:07
  • @javadba, that is a valid but separate subject with separate Q&A (fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/23994/…)
    – Michael M
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 13:58
  • Your answer would benefit from the caveat mentioned. It is your answer so you decide - but it is not accurate to simply relegate it to a different question. Your answer is depending on the impression that people get by just looking at someone. This approach will not work for many of us. Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 14:11

Frankly, you probably don't want to actually fight (you can encounter some pretty severe penalties in some areas, including much of the United States of America) and no martial art is going to quickly show you how to go up against people bigger than you, let along people bigger than you and trained to fight.

My recommendation is to work on your running: speed, endurance, and ability to quickly traverse obstacles. And get teachers or administrators involved.


I'll stay out of the debate regarding the best way to deal with bullying, but I think it's worth noting that a martial art that is easy to learn probably isn't going to be particularly effective. You get what you put into it, and if your opponent is following a difficult training regimen to prepare for boxing, finding a school that teaches kung fu in an "easy" manner won't be great. I'd guess only 1 of 3 people makes it through the first weeks of class at my kwoon; the plus side is that those who do get the benefit of getting in far better shape while also learning effective self-defense.

Finding the right teacher and school will provide you with the needed environment to develop self-confidence, increase your fitness level, and pick up self-defense on the way; highly recommend it.


Three questions:

  1. Are you willing to hurt people?
  2. Are you willing to get hurt?
  3. If you have a seventy yard head start, and can choose how long the race is, can you outrun any sprinter on your high school's track team?

Know how to hurt people, and be willing to get hurt
How nasty are you willing to be? What are the informal rules where you live for what fighting tactics are so unacceptable that they will get you knifed or killed? Except in extreme circumstances, stay on the safe side of that line.

Consider attending a "rape prevention" or "self-defense" course at your local police department or a nearby college. You will learn a martial arts style that is just as nasty as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This martial arts style involves:

  • Situational awareness (so you don't get into fights, and cast a "bigger aura")
  • Knowing the law about what use of force is legally justifiable in dangerous situations.
  • Keeping your balance.
  • Yelling, "Back off!"
  • Making your opponent pay for staying too close to you.
  • High-leverage, close-in moves.
  • Backwards (or sideways) 1-2 Elbow-Hand punches to the gut and the groin.
  • Knees to the groin.
  • Blows to the solar plexus, throat, nose, and eyes.
  • Blows that damage joints (like knees, insteps, and fingers).
  • Biting.
  • Grasp-breaking techniques.
  • Wrestling techniques for getting un-pinned.
  • Live practice against live opponents.
  • Practice getting hurt and continuing to fight.

Or retreat at speed
If you are not willing to be that nasty, join your high school's track team. You will learn how fast you can go, how to pace yourself, and how to outrun anybody if you have a big enough head start. (You won't be able to outrun a top distance runner -- but top distance runners have better things to do.)

Get stronger
Either way, take up weight lifting. If you cannot afford weights, look into the Charles Atlas exercise program. Eat enough complete protein that you gain muscle. When you are strong, fewer people will want to mess with you. And standing up for yourself will be easier.

Make friends
"Quantity has a quality all its own." Consider joining a sports team -- or maybe even your local boxing gym.


5th dan Black belt.

Martial arts, in general, work best against someone of about the same size and strength as yourself. A typical expectation is that one dan belt rank should give you the same benefit as 10 lbs of mass, given the same level of general athleticism. That's an advantage, but not much of one.

In a fight (meaning no rules, both parties out to kill), athleticism and muscle are the primary factors for determining a winner. Even when I was younger and more fit, I could not go up against a 300 lb body builder and expect to win, no matter what art I practiced.

Bruce Lee's primary art before establishing Jeet Kun Do was Wing Chun. About 70% of Jeet Kun Do is still Wing Chun. One of the things that made him controversial was that he added western style weight training to his regimen. there is no question that weight training enhanced his ability as a martial artist.

Learn any martial art. After you've been around you will realize that they all teach the same skills, just in different ways.

The masters of old trained with many schools before blending them and founding their own system. Augment your martial arts training with sound strength and cardiovascular training, like any serious fighter in any system does (some systems already have resistance training built in, so don't over do it).

After that, avoid trouble. The purpose of martial arts is that knowing them you will never need to use them, but they are there just in case.

  • One of the things that made [Bruce Lee] controversial was that he added western style weight training to his regimen. That's an interesting piece of trivia I haven't heard before. I'll be sure to research that in the future. Thanks.
    – Dragomok
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 18:59
  • "In a fight (meaning no rules, both parties out to kill), athleticism and muscle are the primary factors for determining a winner." You seem to place a lot of importance on weight and strength, which I cannot refute due to my lack of combat experience related to this. But I do want to remind you that speed and technique (that is to say, how efficiently you use your muscles / skeletal structure and where you strike) can compensate for lack of pure weight to a certain extent which should be considered very meaningful in real-life circumstances.
    – user11733
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 4:26
  • The most commonly accepted figure is that 1 rank of black belt (800 hours of training) up to 4th degree is equivalent to 10 lbs of advantage. this is why in real life you want to end the confrontation as quickly as manageable. The smaller person only has that advantage you cite for the first exchange of blows.
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 19:45

Since you mentioned pro boxers, I recommend styles that specialize on kicking. It will prevent boxers from getting in range to fight.

  • I agree that kickboxing is a good mix, but it takes a lot of practice to learn the footwork to keep people at a distance. People feint a move in, your leg comes up, eventually your leg goes back down, and they rush in an pummel you with their fists. Which is painful, and hurts. Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 20:33
  • Um...Maybe you can try different tactics, such as waiting for the opponent to attack and kick when they are moving in, that way there would be almost no need for footwork if you can guarantee a hit to the abdomen / waist. You have to be proficient enough to end a fight with a single kick. That way when your leg goes back down your opponent would be in no condition to "rush in" on you.
    – user11733
    Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 13:06
  • For guys with very average reflexes (raises hand), timing that is easier said than done, and most kicks are not very hard to block. IMO expecting to end a fight with a single kick is not realistic - it only happens in pro fights after many many dozens of landed kicks. Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 23:14
  • Um...The stuff about timing you mentioned is an eye-opener. But..."For guys with very average reflexes", blocking a fast roundhouse / side kick is also unrealistic from my experience, and I would expect you to break your opponent's arm with ease even if he somehow blocked it.
    – user11733
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 9:40

I recommend taking a public speaking or debate class and work towards a peaceful resolution. That will help with shyness, which in turn will pro-actively prevent bullying.

Short of that, learn San Soo or Krav Maga. That way if they try to box, you can just break their arms with very little pressure.

Bullying can be deadly. In my mind, the objective of martial arts is to win the fight as quickly as possible. Generally this means either running away or putting your opponent in the hospital. Don't feel bad about it; you'll be doing them a favor.

  • "with very little pressure" - sure, because all bullies are made of glass
    – Michael M
    Commented Jul 3, 2017 at 13:52
  • "Take a public speaking or debate class." I trained to kill in seconds... How fast can you talk? In 3-4 sec?
    – user11733
    Commented Jul 18, 2021 at 8:24

Been there, done that. I'm a taichi/paqua/hsing yi & others martial arts bum.

Parkour is what you should be looking at. Being able to run and go where you can't be pursued.

  • I have edited your comment, since I suspect you might have gotten a downvote purely from the style of your answer. (The edit will show up once it goes through the peer-review process.)
    – Dragomok
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 19:07
  • 1
    But there's a chance you actually got a downvote for substance: I'm not particularly knowledgable on this topic, but doesn't parkour require both substantial upper- and lower-body strength, what with all the climbing and falling and running? (As in, OP mentioned in the question he/she is physically pretty weak.)
    – Dragomok
    Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 19:09
  • 3
    Participation in parkour would serve as a general strength and fitness training regimen. Virtually everyone has agreed that improving his general level of fitness is as important for his true goal as training in a martial art.
    – pojo-guy
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 2:01