By Robert Samborsky, Apollon Nutrition and Apollon Gym Owner
Now that my fighting journey has officially come to an end, Apollon Nutrition Boss Alina asked me to write about my experiences, about my last and final fights. At first I thought that would be an ideal way to summarize the end of my “fighting career,” but coming across the subject of bullying quite a lot recently, I have decided to get slightly off the subject and open up a can of worms that I never have before, as I felt that would be the right closure to what has been my dark secret for decades.
Yes, I was bullied in school. Not my fondest memories, but the reality was that I was a fat Jewish kid in a Ukrainian school who was bullied. In fact I remember being beaten up by a group of older kids after school quite often. One time while walking to my mom’s work, which normally took 20 minutes, I was followed by two older kids and was punched and kicked the entire way. I was maybe 10 or 11 but remember it as if it was yesterday. The irony is that not one person on the street helped me. They watched a chubby kid walking with tears rolling down his face as he was being called names and either punched or slapped or kicked along the way.
These experiences happened a lot from the age of 8 up until the age of 13 when my family moved to Israel. There I started playing sports, soccer and boxing, lost weight and learned to defend myself, as I had no siblings or anyone to protect me, which is a whole other story.
Today I’m a grown man. In the last 5-6 weeks I fought in Thailand and Italy and as I walk away from fighting I feel accomplished and proud (yes, I’m extremely proud.) I would like to send a message to those that are bullied: STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. HIT BACK. Yes, chances are you will get beaten up; but even if you do, it's much better than being stripped of your dignity. FIGHT BACK! In this world not many will fight for you. It’s a cruel world full of bullies, jealousy, hatred and when nobody expects you to fight back, surprise them. Learn self-defence! Who knows, maybe you’ll surprise yourself and not only will you defend yourself but also protect others like you, and maybe even end up winning at Bangla Stadium and representing your country at K-1 World Kickboxing Championships like I did. YOU CAN DO IT! I did!
To those who witness bullying and don’t do anything, YOU ARE JUST AS GUILTY AS THE BULLY, probably even more so. If you see somebody being bullied, don’t just “feel sorry” for him/her; stand up for them, help them. Chances are you’ll get punched too, but guess what, if you have a heart you’ll live better with yourself knowing that you did not ignore somebody’s cry for help. Because later on if something happens to that person (yes, we’ve seen many extreme cases, including suicide) you’ll have to live with it for the rest of your life.
To all those who experienced what I have: stay strong, fight back! Remember that in most cases bullies are weak, scared, jealous and bullying is the only thing that makes them feel superior. Bullying is weakness! Remember that... now go and kick ass!
One more thing: my friend and Team Apollon athlete, UFC fighter, Corey Anderson was also bullied before he became a top wrestler and Ultimate Fighting Champion. Recently he called me a “fighter,” something I always hesitated to call myself and something I was humbled to be called by someone like Corey. To me he is a fighter and I was just “somebody who fights,” if you know what I mean. Thank you, Corey! I will proudly finish this article by saying I AM A FIGHTER... And a damn good one!