Once a small and pudgy kid that was taken advantage of, Andrew Samaroo now walks confidently through the Manhattanville hallways. From the time that he began the first grade, students knew that Andrew was intelligent, receiving the top scores in class. It was at that point that they became envious, both threatening and calling him names, demanding that he complete their homework assignments.
For seven years he tolerated the harsh ways of his peers. But it was in the fifth grade that he felt he needed to begin what would be a long journey to change, in secret.
Like most young boys, Samaroo watched many fighting movies featuring Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. But he didn’t only watch these movies, he studied every move that was made. He then enrolled in classes near home, learning the techniques and art forms of mixed martial arts and traditional karate.
Not knowing that Samaroo had begun his new transformation, his peers continued to bully him. It was one day in the 7th grade that two boys decided to fight him on the schools blacktop. “It was that fighting scene like in a movie; with the crowd, the nerd, and the bully. But I felt I had enough skill to take them on,” said Samaroo. With the crowd holding back one boy to make the fight even, he remembers feeling defeated when the fight first began. But he suddenly began to fight ferociously, knocking the other boy out. When the crowd released the second boy to fight, Samaroo broke his nose, not thinking of the consequences.
When he graduated into high school, Samaroo fit in with the crowd. He wasn’t the popular guy, or the jock, but a laid back kid that spoke up and became an advocate for bullies. “If anyone was getting bullied they’d come to me and talk it out,” he says. “I don’t stand for bullying. I think that people should stand up to a bully. And don’t bully someone unless you enjoy being bullied.”
Now a college student, Andrew Samaroo fights in actual competitions against other trained fighters. He remains undefeated at 21-0. He says he fights just for his love of the skills it takes, so he makes it a point to decline the prize money, sending it away to charity. “There’s just something that doesn’t sit right me by fighting a person and then taking money for it,” he says. After suffering from a recent injury, Samaroo is taking some time off, but plans to step back on the mats sometime in the next couple of months.
Samaroo says that he “did all my [his] stuff in secret and when the time came, I just let loose.” And when it comes to fighting he can’t see himself without it. The experience has made him a college student who is confident, erratic, outgoing, and has even inspired a corky sense of humor.
To all of those who have and are being bullied, Samaroo suggests that you talk to someone. “Get an adult, parent, teacher, ANYONE, and try to resolve it,” urges Samaroo. Although he loves a good fight, he doesn’t recommend fighting or learning to fight as a solution. There are other ways to deal with the issue of bullying.