‘Bullied and beaten’ Lewis Hamilton reveals how karate awakened his fighting instinct

Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children

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Formula 1 racing champion Lewis Hamilton has been intensively training in martial arts with Willow, as a playful video clip uploaded to Instagram reveals.

He has spoken of how his training originally began as a defence against the heartache of getting racially bullied and beaten.

I was bullied, beaten and the only way I could fight this was to learn to defend myself

Lewis Hamilton

In the footage, a grinning Willow darts around helping him to warm up, before delivering her best karate kick, after which he sweeps her into his arms and whirls her above his head.

He captioned the clip: “My niece helping me get into top form for these last two races.

“I was bullied as a kid but martial arts really helped, it instilled in me discipline, respect and it helped me protect myself — I’m so proud that she and her brother have started learning.”

The touching relationship between himself and his niece has been publicly documented since he vowed to “protect” the newborn six years ago on Facebook.

“As an uncle, I will try to protect her from the bad and help her guide her through the good,” he had written.

However, his instinct to protect comes from being bullied so badly as a child for his skin colour that it left psychological effects so intense they “cannot be measured”.

Last year he addressed the issue in greater detail on Instagram, opening up on “so many painful memories from my childhood.”

The sporting giant elaborated: “Vivid memories of the challenges I faced when I was a kid, as I’m sure many of you who have experienced racism or some sort of discrimination have faced.

“I have spoken so little about my personal experiences because I was taught to keep it in, don’t show weakness, kill them with love and beat them on the track.

“But when it was away from the track, I was bullied, beaten and the only way I could fight this was to learn to defend myself, so I went to karate.

“The negative psychological effects cannot be measured.

“This is why I drive the way I do, it is far deeper than just doing a sport, I’m still fighting.”

The negative experiences he faced gave him the drive to prove his haters wrong – and the fighting instinct he harnessed led him to become a top player in Formula 1.

His motto became: “Always do your talking on the track” – and he allowed top-quality performances to speak for themselves.

Racism continued for him during his adult years too.

He told the Guardian: “I’d be in Newcastle and people would shout, ‘Go back to your country’.

“Or in Spain, in 2008, when people painted themselves black and put on wigs and were really mocking my family. And I remember the sport not saying anything about it.

“I did boxing because I needed to channel the pain [and] I did karate because I was being beaten up and I wanted to be able to defend myself.”

Then finally there was the coping mechanism of driving itself.

He continued: “I got in a car and I was the only kid of colour on the track and I’d be getting pushed around, but then I could always turn their energy against them – I’d out-trick them, outsmart them, outwit them and beat them, and that, for me, was more powerful than any words.”

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