On Aug. 8, Tuesday, ONE Championship founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong took to Facebook to share a news article about a boy who committed suicide after being bullied at school. The martial artist and entrepreneur from Thailand shared his own experience of bullying when he was very young.
The boy was Gabriel Taye, 8, who hanged himself with a necktie from his bunk bed in January in his Cincinnati home two days after he was assaulted by students at Carson Elementary School, NBC News reported. His parents recently filed a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit against the Cincinnati Public School district.
According to the lawsuit, the school did not properly respond to Taye being bullied at school. The school also failed to inform his parents of a bullying incident in the bathroom of his school two days before his death, the lawsuit claimed.
“Our hearts are broken by the loss of this child, and our thoughts are with his parents and extended family,” Cincinnati Public Schools said in a statement obtained by CNN. “He was an outstanding young man, and this is a great loss for his family and our school community,”
“I rarely post negative stories, but this one got to me,” Sityodtong referring to Taye’s story. The ONE Championship big boss went on to share that when he was a kid, he was once bullied and beaten up quite badly by a group of older kids and even flushed his head in a toilet bowl.
This was before Sityodtong learned martial arts. The sad truth, he noted, is that while 94.7 percent of children are victims of bullying at one point or another during school, the vast majority choose to keep it to themselves because of shame and embarrassment.
According to Sityodtong, martial arts changed his life and it did not only empower him with self-defense skills but also gave me confidence, courage, mental strength and respect, among many other virtues. He admitted to having his “fair share of scraps” when he was younger, but it was almost always against bullies.
When friends who are non-martial artists ask Sityodtong for advice, he always tells them to empower themselves and their loved ones with martial arts. He pointed out that most parents are clueless when it comes to their children at school and martial arts is one of the greatest ways to protect children, who are fragile in many ways.