That’s the question we posed to the owner of a new muay thai gym in Hamilton Hill last week.
Gavin Fuller, owner of Gav’s Gym on Rockingham Road, believes wholeheartedly that it can be done, citing his own experiences as a prime example.
Growing up in England, the Applecross resident said he suffered at the hands of bullies until the age of 15 when he took up the sport.
‘I used to get bullied in the playground,’ he said.
‘In those days, they put gloves on you and sent you to go to the school hall to box it out. Looking back it was a bit barbaric but I suppose it was a bit better then leaving it for the playground.’
While admitting people backed off once they learnt he had taken up the sport, Mr Fuller, who finished with 12 wins from 15 professional fights, said it was the confidence and discipline he gained from the sport that really helped him overcome bullies.
It is those elements he hopes to impart on children being bullied and the instigators too.
‘It’s not about being cocky,’ he said. ‘It’s about confidence and discipline.
‘Before my teens I was probably a bit introverted and shy. But after taking up the sport I learned a range of skills transferable to more social situations.
‘In terms of bullies, there’s always an underlying reason for why people bully. I hope to draw that out.
‘I believe if we get people through the door, we can actually enhance the lives of those people and hopefully make a positive change for them.’
Mr Fuller said he was not concerned that angry youths would take what they had learned in his gym onto the streets.
‘It is a fine balance between knowing someone that can turn aggressive and someone who can do it in a controlled environment,’ he said. ‘I believe I can train them in a safe environment with all the starter classes and protective gear you could want, to have that discipline.
‘Honestly, the people getting into fights on a Saturday night in Northbridge aren’t people that train in gyms.
‘People in training are in bed on a Saturday night because they have training or a bout the next day.’