Boy Using 'Arm Lock' Taught by Aunt to Tackle Bully Sparks Debate

A woman is enjoying a "proud auntie moment" after her nephew used an arm lock she taught him to disable a violent bully at school.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics one out of every five students reports being bullied at school. Of that number, 41 percent felt that it was likely to happen again, while 5 percent experienced physical threats like being pushed, shoved and tripped.

In the case of one 12-year-old boy called Aaron, the bullying had recently turned physical. His aunt Georgia told Newsweek: "He's small for his age, so has had a lot of nasty comments from bullies, but is bright enough to talk back to them. He'd been hit before and spoke to the school, so when I was told he'd been hit, I decided to have a little chat with him."

Georgia works as a prison officer, so she knows how to deal with aggressive inmates in a non-violent way. "I showed him some control and restraint moves, so that he's not getting into an actual fight or getting in trouble for hitting back," she said. "I didn't extend him to take that much notice or remember, but I'm very pleased he did."

Georgia said she taught him a "control and restraint move" similar to something seen in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu "in functionality" but without having to lie on the floor or use his legs.

This week, she took to Twitter to share how her nephew used his newfound skills to tackle his aggressor. "My nephew was punched at school last week by a bully. I asked if he punched him back," she tweeted. "He said 'no, I got him to the floor and got him in an arm lock like you showed me!' Proud auntie moment."

The tweet quickly went viral, earning over 3,000 retweets and 65,000 likes, with many stepping up to share their own experiences of fighting back against bullies.

"In middle school my son was a 'gentle giant' kind of kid," one wrote. "Very small classmate was provoking him for several days. On their way out of the lunchroom, the kid starts. My son picked him up, one hand, by his shirt and deposited him in the garbage can."

Another said: "I had the same talk with my granddaughter about how to handle a bully. She handled it, and got suspended for three days. After I asked her, was it worth it? She responded, 'it was worth every minute' No bullying her anymore!"

A third, claiming to be an ex-Green Beret also commented: "I found that immobilizing the threat was always better than skinning up your knuckles. Especially if you have them where you want them while making 'kissy' noises in their ear. They never forget that!"

Not everyone was quite so impressed though.

One worried parent said: "If my little boy ever resorts to violence in these types of scenarios... then I've failed him as a dad," with another writing: "Please say no to violence. Sometimes people make mistakes."

A third, meanwhile, recalled how being taught to fight fire with fire when it came to violence led them down the wrong path. "I ended up in gangs and in a lot of trouble," they said. "I became the problem."

Yet those comments fell on deaf ears for some.

"I say kudos to the child," one person said. "I don't get these people crying because a child defended himself, asserted that he was not there to be abused." Another agreed, writing: "Some people need that lesson unfortunately."

Georgia told Newsweek: "Aaron's mom didn't really like me teaching him the arm lock to start with, but I think she's glad he did that rather than just punching him back or getting into a fight, so she's glad he stands up for himself."

She said she's been blown away by the reaction to the tweet.

"It's gone a bit mad to be honest, I didn't expect it but it's people saying how they've experienced and dealt with bullies in their own lives so I think it's relatable for a lot of people which is why so many have been supportive."

Two boys fighting in a playground.
A file photo of two boys fighting in a playground. A woman has been praised for teaching her nephew how best to deal with a violent bully. monkeybusinessimages/Getty