Anger Mismanagement

, , , , , , | Learning | April 10, 2018

This story took place years ago, when I was very young. Due to some nasal spray I was using for my hay fever, I would have frequent but unpredictable nosebleeds. I also attended a taekwondo class.

I was paired for sparring with a kid who everyone knew has anger management issues, but hadn’t caused any trouble. I was a higher belt than he was, and I had padded sparring gear, but I was also a year younger and quite small for my age.

As soon as the teacher called, “Go,” the kid raised his fists and started to slam them down, clearly aiming for my head. I held my arms up over my head to defend myself, but quickly ended up just on the ground with him battering my arms like he thought he was the Hulk. I could hear the teacher yelling and he was pulled away from me. The whole thing lasted maybe 30 seconds, but it felt longer.

The teacher called both our parents, telling mine that there had been a minor incident and they were needed, but telling his that they needed to come and collect him because he was no longer welcome as a student.

My mum, a nurse, arrived first and checked me over; I was fine. I took off my sparring helmet and just sat with her on a bench, while the two oldest students tried — unsuccessfully — to distract the rest of the class. Then, coincidentally, one of the nose bleeds from my nasal spray started.

The boy’s parents arrived, absolutely furious and demanding to know why their son had been kicked out of the class. The first thing they saw as they entered the hall was a tiny blond child in sparring gear, while their mother held a bloody tissue to their nose. Their anger instantly redirected to their son, and they apologised profusely to the teacher before taking him home.

I felt kind of bad that they thought their son gave me the nosebleed, but I realised that he would have done it to someone eventually, and it was best to have him removed from the class until his anger was successfully under control. Years down the line, he was permanently excluded for starting fights at school, so I guess he never did.

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