That question. “Have you ever used Karate on someone?” Groan. Whoever asks it might want a tale of how you beat up six bikers who were bothering a girl in a bar. Maybe they’re even wondering if they can get you to tell some tall tale and then they’ll try to goad you into proving you’re as good as you say you are. I don’t really like “that question” even when someone is merely curious.
I’ve written about “that question” here . People don’t ask it often because, well, let’s face it, I’m a middle aged matron. I’m not exactly a hot little cutie who would capture the interest of a rapist. I don’t hang around dark alleys, and I certainly don’t go into biker bars to pick fights for funsies.
In spite of all that, though, I did get asked “that question” again recently. And I finally have a story that I’m comfortable telling.
My two co-workers, both ladies, really didn’t like going down to another department. It’s isolated in a basement, and lurking down there was a bully. They sent the new girl (me) down.
The guy was big. And loud. And grumpy. I’ve dealt with adult bullies before. When called to task, they say their motivation is something entirely different than what you “imagined” it to be. This guy probably said to HR, “I was just blowing off steam about the workload her department was causing me.” His words were all about the extra work but his hostility wasn’t directed at what I brought to him. Oh no. That day, it was all about putting the new girl in her place. It’s not my imagination – my co-workers agree that’s how this guy rolls.
Have I mentioned the guy is big and the office is very, very isolated in a basement? Not good. I kept an eye on his position relative to me and on my position relative to both exits.
So the bully was there yelling at me and then next thing I knew he threw a wicked haymaker. I caught his wrist and with a move modified from Bassai Dai kata I yanked his arm (dislocating shoulder, elbow, and wrist) and then completely shattered his elbow. I stomped his knee and threw him to the ground. I stomped and re-stomped his groin. Then I used zip-ties to truss him up and I threw him into the FedEx bin with a shipping label to our least-favorite “study abroad” student agent somewhere overseas.
Nope, that’s not how it really went down. I didn’t even lay a finger on the guy. I never even so much as made a fist. I kept up a cheerful attitude and responded with politeness and even good humor. He slowly deflated like a beach ball when you open the valve. I left him with a cheerful farewell. But later I reported him to HR >:) My co-workers and I don’t have to put up with that crap.
Yes, I did use Karate on that guy. I controlled myself and in so doing I controlled him. The next time I encountered him his boss was watching, and he was polite. I sincerely hope that politeness lasts. I’m not itching for a fight. But it sure is good to know that I can take command of the situation by taking charge of my own responses.