April 2006 – Don’t start a fight with someone twice your size

This is a post that didn’t originally appear on my blog in 2006, but it was a memorable experience so I thought I would share.

At Numazu NOVA, I had several group kids classes. One of my classes was the senior group – ages 9-12. Like other NOVA kids classes, the students were grouped by age and not ability. This left me with a class featuring several average students, one really bright and outgoing student, and one student who had a harder time with English than the other kids. For the sake of storytelling, let’s call the slower student Gian and the bright student Nobita. The Doraemon reference is fitting – Gian was about twice the size of the shorter, slimmer Nobita.

Nobita usually gave Gian a hard time, but on one day in particular he was especially rude; mocking Gian for reading slowly, for making mistakes speaking, and generally anything else he tried to do in English. Gian was honestly trying is best; he just wasn’t picking up English as quickly as the other students and Nobita wouldn’t let him forget it. I don’t usually have this kind of problem in other classes, so I wasn’t really sure the best way to deal with it. I tried my best to discourage Nobita from being a jerk, but he was enjoying the reaction that he was getting from his classmates too much.

Near the end of the class, Nobita took things a bit too far, deciding to move from verbally making fun of Gian to actually poking him in the chest.

That was a mistake.


If you have never seen judo before, it is surprising how quickly one human being can launch another through the air. Within milliseconds of Nobita’s poke, Gian had executed an effortless throw, launching Nobita gracefully through the air. Although Nobita’s takeoff was smooth, the landing was not; he came down on the top of his head and crumpled in a heap on the floor. I don’t at all condone real life violence, especially in the classroom, but this was incredibly impressive to watch up close!

Nobita looked up at me from the floor and make the universal shrugging gesture for “are you going to do anything”. I told him in English “you shouldn’t poke him, he’s way bigger than you! Don’t do it again”. I think he got the message, and he toned down his abuse of Gian afterwards.

I’m about 170cm (5 foot 7 for my non metric friends) and I was always the small kid in school. At a young age I learned that starting a fight with someone twice my size was never a good idea. I’m not sure how much English Nobita learned in my English class, but I hope he will at least remember the lesson he learned by trying to physically bully someone twice his size.

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