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Bullying vs. Conflict vs. Violence… a special Bullying topic! – With Dr. Greg Moody and Sr. Master Laura Sanborn

Bullying vs. Conflict vs. Violence… a special Bullying topic!

From my Bullying Prevention book!! Here’s the link or Click HERE!

The topic of bullying is obviously one I have been very close to for over a decade and the relatively new concept of relating bullying to conflict and violence is essential to understanding how to manage bullying and other abuse situations. I just did a video on it with Sr. Master Laura Sanborn at KarateBuilt Martial Arts

Here’s the synopsis from the podcast:

Bullying vs. Conflict v. Violence with Dr. Greg Moody and Sr. Master Laura Sanborn. Bullying, conflict and violence strategies are completely different and using strategies for the wrong problem is at best ineffective and at worst dangerous. See more at and







Ch. Master Greg Moody, Ph.D.

P.S. The Transcript – Bullying vs. Conflict vs. Violence:

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Hey, everybody. Welcome to Success Training again, our podcast with me Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor, and Laura Sanborn, Senior Master Instructor. Thanks for being here, ma’am.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Thank you, sir. Looking forward to it.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

All right, we’re going to have our topic today, which is going to be talking about the new book that was just released by me and also by Senior Master Sanborn. We have a couple of other authors that we’re working with as well. I’d like to make sure that we give them some credit. I’ll show off the book a little bit, the back of the book. And for what you can see in the graphic here, that’s going to show off Chief Master Patty Barnum as well, and Senior Master Sanborn, as I said, and Sarah Moody. Sarah Richards Moody did the technical creative writing. Chief Master Patty Barnum was is a massive expert in bullying prevention and was consulting on the Bullying Prevention Project through the last 10 years of me producing the book and did the forward for the book.

And of course, Senior Master Sanborn, you’ve been a big contributor to our bullying prevention work over the years. So we’re going to talk a little bit about bullying prevention, the truths, myths, and what to do. One of the things that’s been really critical that we are going to cover, and that’s been really, I think, groundbreaking, is the relationship between bullying, conflict, and violence. So I’m really excited about talking about that today.

Senior Master, anything to add a little bit as we get started?

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

No, I think that’s just so critical because so many of the parents I talk to don’t even realize that there’s a difference when they’re talking about what’s going on with their kids at school and stuff like that, or even for themselves.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Yeah. And I think as we talk to martial arts school owners or teachers or anybody that works with kids, what happens is these three things get mixed together. The difference between conflict and violence and bullying. These three things getting mixed together is what gets things very, very confused. So let’s really define what they are.

Violence is anything where you’re in danger of serious injury or death. And if you think about that in that situation, if somebody’s going to hurt you very bad or you’re going to get killed… I mean, you’re in a really bad situation, somebody’s threatening to injure you in that kind of way, you absolutely should be using some kind of self-defense. All the things that we teach in martial arts are applicable, and all the defense things that we teach in martial arts are applicable. Of course, this is what gets confused in martial arts when people think don’t use karate.

Well, we use karate all the time. We use the martial arts skills of respect and discipline all the time. But when we talk about the fighting skills that we learn, this is where they come in. If we’re in danger of serious injury or death, and where people get mixed up is when we use this and when we don’t. We use this if we’re in danger of serious injury or death, and this is what we teach in our martial arts schools, literally from day one. When a new student, whether they’re three years old or a hundred years old, when they walk into our school and they come into the first class we teach, when is it okay to punch or kick or fight back? It’s when somebody’s going to hurt you, when you’re in danger of serious injury or death.

So what’s conflict? What’s the difference between this and conflict? Well, conflict is when there’s any disagreement. It’s everything that’s left over from that. Anything that’s not serious or injury or death. So any kind of… Well, the best definition is any kind of disagreement and even any physical conflict, any kind of physical altercation if it’s not in danger of serious injury or death. If a kid’s on a playground, somebody’s pushing them, pushing back, you’re not in danger of serious injury or death. If somebody shot a rubber band at you, unless it’s going to hit you in the eye and even probably if it does, then that’s not dangerous, serious injury, or death.

What’s some other examples? If somebody… And by the way, this is what we teach when we teach bullying prevention. When do you know when things are in conflict or in violence? What’s some other good examples? I’ll throw some out there, too.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Just somebody yelling in your face, getting too close to you and yelling in your face is conflict.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Yeah, you don’t have to punch them then. That’s not serious injury or death. Now, it could be if you think and you’re making a judgment that somebody’s yelling in your face and there’s other factors involved that they might escalate and you’re protecting your kids and they’re a lot bigger than you and it’s a dangerous situation, you may make a… And maybe there’s alcohol involved, there’s drugs involved. There may be a situation where you make a judgment that you’re in danger. You’re making a judgment yourself that you’re in danger of possible serious injury. You may have to do something in that situation.

But somebody just yelling because they’re mad, they’re upset because they disagreed with you. That’s just conflict. And if I was going to redraw this, I’ll redraw this chart for a second. If we were going to redraw this, and we’re going to come to bullying in a second, if we were going to redraw this chart, if you think of outside the chart as everything’s… That’s not a very good arrow.

If you’re going to think of outside the chart as no conflict, everything outside of the circle is no conflict and anything inside the circle is conflict, most of the time there’s very little violence. I mean, it’s probably even smaller than that. And there’s a little more bullying happening and a little more what we call abuse happening. And let me draw that a little bit bigger if we’re going to be more accurate. We’ll come back to this. But the vast majority of what we see is conflict.

And the tools that we would use in conflict are very different than the tools in violence. If there’s violence occurring, then we definitely have to use… We have to make a decision. Hey, I’m in danger of serious injury or death. I have to make a decision to preferably run, get out of the situation, escape from the situation, or if I have to, fight back or if I have to, get help, call the police, get help, do something about it.

But conflict encapsulates most situations and knowing the difference is what’s really important. So let’s talk about… Anything to add there before I move on?

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

No, sir.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Again, this is where people don’t clearly know the definition. The definition between these two is what we have to start with. Now, what are some other situations that are different from both of these? Well, the other situations broadly are abuse.

Now, before we talk about bullying, what are other kinds of abuse? Well, spousal abuse. Somebody that has control of somebody’s other complete environment. This doesn’t necessarily have to be male or female. It could be different… It happens in all genders. But you think of spousal abuse, you think of sexual abuse, you think of…

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Elderly abuse.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Elderly abuse, and there’s lots of other types of abuse. Bullying is a form of abuse. And what are some characteristics of abuse? Well, characteristics of abuse are that there’s an imbalance of power.

Another characteristic of abuse is that there is an intention to hurt. And a third characteristic of abuse is it’s usually repeated over time. This is usually. It could be a single instance. So let’s talk about all three of these and why these equal abuse. And this could be in any situations, including bullying, in these abuse situations. So let’s think about what’s different about conflict versus bullying or violence versus bullying or any kind of abuse.

An imbalance of power might mean… Let’s look at elderly abuse like Master Sanborn brought up. So elderly abuse, in this case, the person that’s elderly doesn’t have the strength, doesn’t necessarily have the mental capacity to respond to what’s going on. There’s a movie. I need to think of the name on Netflix that just came out. Do you know the one I’m talking about? It had…

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Is that really awful one where she took control over all of their stuff?

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Yeah, and Peter Dinklage was in it, too. Now, I can’t remember the actress’s name. And she was amazing, but it was a great movie. If you want to see a movie about abuse, you can watch this movie on Netflix. Look up elderly abuse and Netflix and you’ll find the movie.

But there’s an imbalance of power because the person that is the elderly person, not all elderly people of course, but they may not have the mental capacity, may not have the physical capacity, they may not have the experience when they’re getting older about what to do when they’re retired, what to do in these physical situations. And so somebody could take advantage of them. There’s an imbalance of power. Clearly in those cases, if somebody’s stealing money from them or taking advantage of them physically, there’s an intention to hurt. The person that’s abusing them intends to cause them harm.

They intend to take their money. They intend to cause them sometimes physical harm. And it’s in those cases repeated. It might be small things. It might be something they take a little bit of money from. Something they do to them physically on a regular basis. It could be small things that are repeated over time. Bullying examples would be if two kids… Let me contrast that with conflict. If somebody had an elderly person in their life and they were arguing with them because they didn’t get along. Well, they may have an imbalance of power, but they just didn’t get along. They weren’t necessarily intending… Somebody that’s listening to this might have somebody in their life, their grandparents or their elderly parents, maybe they don’t get along with their parents, that isn’t necessarily intending to hurt them. They may just have conflict. Very different from abuse.

Abuse has these three characteristics in them. If there’s not an intention to hurt, there still could be an imbalance of power, but it wouldn’t be abuse. See the difference? Hopefully, that is a good example, so you can start understanding the difference. Bullying an example there would be two kids on a playground. A bullying situation would be one kid’s bigger than another kid and he wants to take something from them or he wants to tease them or harass them so that he looks like he’s getting a lot of positive feedback from his peers because he looks like he’s stronger. Well, he is intending to make the other kid feel bad. He is intending to, when he teases them, harm them in some way. And he might do that on a regular basis. That’s bullying. Maybe it’s the same situation, the teasing happens, but it’s two kids the same size, the same status in school, and they’re teasing each other back and forth.

That’s not bullying, that’s just conflict. They may be really mad at each other. They may not like each other. They may end up shoving each other later. There could be physical conflict, but that’s not bullying, that’s conflict. So abuse would be something where it’s causing the other person, the one that’s being abused, to continually feel abuse and they don’t have a way to fight back. They don’t have a way to respond. Fighting back isn’t necessarily what would happen, but they don’t have a way to respond. So think of bullying is like other abuse scenarios. So what we wanted to cover here mostly is the difference between conflict, bullying, and compare it to abuse and violence.

And what gets people confused, especially in our martial arts space is that there’s a lot of talk about when bullying gets bad enough, when do you finally fight back? There’s this conversation that I want to address about, “Oh, if they’re bullying you long enough, if you would just fight back.” And I have a lot of adult men outside of martial arts, particularly men. It could be women too, of course, but adults, when I talk to them about my work and bullying and they know that I’m an expert in bullying prevention, they’ll say something like… And master Sanborn, you’ve heard this, too.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Many times.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Well, if somebody’s getting bullied, you know what they need to do? They just need to stand up for themselves and fight back.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

One punch will do it.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Yeah, and one punch. If they just would punch the other guy and show them that they mean business, then it’ll stop.

And this reminds me of the movie, A Christmas Story, where Little Ralphie was bugged by Scut Farkas every day… I write about it in the book. He’s bugged by Scut Farkas every day and every day he walks to school terrified that he’s going to get seen by Scut Farkas and he’s going to bend his elbow behind his back and make him say uncle. And that’s what happens every day when he goes to school and every day when he comes back and it’s really painful and he’s afraid of it, terrified, and he’s getting bullied every day. One day Ralphie gets fed up and finally, even though he’s smaller than him, he gets so upset and he’s mad and triumphantly, he beats Scut Farkas up, and then Scut leaves him alone and everybody’s all happy and his mom doesn’t even get mad at him.

Well, in real life, what would probably happen?

Well, Scut Farkas was a lot bigger than him. Probably that wouldn’t be a very effective strategy. Well, why wouldn’t it be effective? Because there’s an imbalance of power. Well, people think that’s the way it would work, but if the kid was able to fight back, number one, there wouldn’t be an imbalance of power. But number two, if Ralphie was really scared that it was violence, that he was going to get hurt, seriously injured or potentially killed, then we would never advise somebody to use bullying prevention strategies, which we will talk about in a different podcast. We would never suggest that they use a bunch of bullying prevention strategies and then finally resort to violence and fighting.

If we would suggest fighting back, if we would suggest punching somebody or kicking somebody or going and calling the police, we would suggest that at the beginning. If you’re in danger of serious injury, there’s no strategy that happens before serious injury. You want to go right to fighting back. So there’s not bullying starts here, and then you take some steps and take some steps and take some steps and take some steps, and then here you fight and then everything’s going to work out. That’s never a good strategy.

If you were going to fight, it’s violence and then you fight right here. You fight at the beginning. Well, you fight or you escape or get help. Those are your options. You have more options than just fighting. But when violence happens, that’s when you do it. If bullying happens, we need to do… And again, that’s a different podcast. We’re going to suggest some different strategies that should happen in between here, which don’t just involve you as what we would teach a kid. We would want to involve the parents and everybody else that would be involved. Anything to add their Master Sanborn before we wrap up?

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

No, because when you resort to violence, it has to go so far that they’re never coming back at you. You can’t just… The one punch thing is never going to work because if there’s the imbalance of power, they’re just going to turn around and beat you up. And then you got the violence happening right away. So if you’re going to fight back, you have to go so far over the line to make it so that they never even think about coming back again. And just…

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Yeah, it’s not a reasonable strategy because in the first place, you wouldn’t have been… You’re not in a position to fight back because there was an imbalance of power. It’s not going to happen. If you were in a position to fight back, it wasn’t bullying anyway, right? It was conflict. And then the decision is, was there danger of serious injury? If there was then you’re in this box, you’re in this box. If there wasn’t an imbalance of power, you’re in this box.

Different strategies. If you were strong enough to fight back, you were over here anyway so that you weren’t in one of those situations in the first place. So it wouldn’t have worked for you anyway. So that’s the difference. So, our purpose today is to make sure everybody understands the difference between violence and conflict.

Conflict and bullying are two different things and you have different tool sets to use. Violence, we use self-defense. Conflict, we have lots and lots of tools for. We try to resolve conflict. You’ve got people that’ll help you, but it’s different from bullying. Bullying and conflict are totally different. And bullying, because it’s abuse, we have to try to support and help people that are being bullied in a different way. Generally, they’re going to need some help from external sources. They’re mostly going to need some help. So, make sure we know the difference between them and that’s really our topic today. Anything to add before we wrap up, ma’am?

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

I just want to say that in the book this is all super clear. The book is pretty much a handbook for the different situations and how to deal with them. And it’s very clearly laid out and it’s very clearly explained of what you do in the different situations; how to get help in the different situations and things like that. It just made… All of this was so clearly laid out and then how to deal with them and each one of them was in there.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Perfect, thanks. And that’ll apply to, if you’re working with kids in any capacity. Of course, we work with a lot of martial artists, but also teachers, people, administrators of schools, parents, of course, you guys have kids and you can work with your kids. So, we’re going to probably follow up with some other ways that you can address this in other podcasts, but this is one concept that you need to get first.

All right, everybody, well thank you very much. Appreciate everybody listening in the podcast today and we look forward to talking to you at the next one.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Sir, where can they get your book?

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

Oh, thanks for asking before we go. On Amazon. It is on Amazon at… You can get an ebook, paperback, and this is a hard cover, so go to and just search for Greg Moody and Bullying and you’ll find the book. You can also go at and and you’ll find one of our webpages and you’ll find it there as well.

Sr. Master Laura Sanborn:

Thank you, sir.

Dr. Greg Moody, Chief Master Instructor:

All right, thanks for asking that, ma’am. You caught me at the right time. All right everybody, have a great day.

P.P.S. Get Dr. Moody’s Book on Bullying – Click Here and KarateBuilt Martial Arts have been selected the nation’s #1 martial arts schools for EIGHT YEARS IN A ROW!

KarateBuilt L.L.C. was founded in 1995 by Dr. Greg Moody, an 8th degree Black Belt and Chief Master Instructor, KarateBuilt Martial Arts and Karate for Kids offers lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need – specialized for their age group – for school excellence and later success in life.

KarateBuilt Martial Arts Adult Karate training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay in shape), or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 866-311-1032 for one of our nationwide locations. You can also visit our website at

About Dr. Greg Moody:  Dr. Moody is an eighth-degree black belt and chief master instructor.  He has a Ph.D. in Special Education from Arizona State University (along with a Master’s Degree in Counseling and a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering – he actually is a rocket scientist). He has been teaching martial arts for over 25 years and has owned eight martial arts schools in Arizona and California. Chief Master Moody is a motivational speaker and educator and teaches seminars in bullying, business, and martial arts training, around the world. See more at

Dr. Moody is also a licensed psychotherapist and maintains a practice at Integrated Mental Health Associates ( where he specializes in couples therapy and men’s issues.

The KarateBuilt Martial Arts Headquarters at KarateBuilt LLC is in Cave Creek, Arizona at 29850 N. Tatum Blvd., Suite 105, Cave Creek AZ 85331. You can locate the Chief Instructor, Master Laura Sanborn there directly at ‭(480) 575-8171‬. KarateBuilt Martial Arts serves Cave Creek, Carefree, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley Arizona as well as Grand Rapids, MI.

Also, check us out on Grand Canyon News and AZ Culture Zone!

Here is Dr. Moody’s Amazon Author Page with over 16 of his Amazon Bestselling books: Click HERE

P.P.P.S. From a parent:

“KarateBuilt Martial Arts is really the premier martial arts school. It has helped my son Herman understand how to protect others from bullying and be safe himself! Our family is training now and when you speak of ‘legacy martial arts’ – this is the place!” – Joy Stanton