(Photo by nav in atl)
In 2011, Daisuke Naito, the 36th WBC flyweight boxing champion, brought an end to his professional career.
He was a much-loved Japanese boxer. As he defeated a rising young star Daiki Kameda in 2007, he gained much popularity with his modest and unique character. He is now in great request as a speaker to young people and invited to a variety of places in Japan.
One of the notable experiences Naito had as a young boy is that he was bullied by his classmates in his junior high school years. Hit, mocked, despised and ignored by a group of people including who he thought was his “friends” in the class, he cultivated gastric ulcers and even saw some blood in his vomit.
He started boxing to protect himself from such bullying people. With his naturally abundant talents and all the efforts he dedicated, he became the flyweight champion in Japan, and later he reached the WBC flyweight world champion belt.
In the book he wrote as a world champion, he says he still remembers all those bullying back in his hometown and gives a powerful message to those who were suffering from malicious and immature behaviors by others.
An interesting episode I found in his book is when Naito had a chance to talk with a guy who bullied him after Naito became famous as a professional boxer. He was surprised when he heard the guy asking,
“You mention you were bullied in junior high in the book. Who bullied you?”
This is a reality.
Watching news about youngsters who committed suicide due to bullying, I often saw the victimizers don’t feel guilty making tons of lame excuses, and years later they don’t even care about all the cruelty they unfairly threw to the innocent people around them.
I’ve seen adult bullying such as psychologically abuse when I was working in a church. There are always people who fail to deal with their stress, can’t be strong enough to control their malice and make a nasty attack to someone “safe” around them. One of the victims I know even closed her business and went back to Japan due to harassment, which was one of the saddest moments of my work life there.
I always say to those bullied, “Don’t let them take control of your life.” Their hearts are often not warm enough to care about how their victims feel, and you don’t have to ruin your precious time just because of cruelty of the victimizers who don’t even imagine your suffering.
Later, Naito looked back his old days and said, “I started boxing so that I wouldn’t get bullied, but I gradually stopped thinking about it as I focused on my boxing training.” He graduated from school and left his hometown to Tokyo to change his life. He was blessed to have a good boxing trainer and gym mates in Tokyo, met his future wife, and finally both his private and professional life started greeting his miserable days. Focusing on what lies ahead, his junior high memories ceased invading his brain little by little.
Life is too short to waste for the victimizers who don’t even care about how you feel. I hope you can eventually focus on what you want to do and make powerful steps toward your future as you meet new people in new places.
May love always follow your day.