Similar here, except I finally did pop in HS and collapsed a guy's larynx.
Never was picked on again...
I've had a couple fights, some won, some lost, all were the end of it (whatever "it" was).
As to my kids I teach them the following:
I am 100% against fighting, unless I have to, then I am 100% for it.
The message is to avoid conflict unless there is no choice, then don't hold back, hit hard, hit fast, hit first*, hit last.
My daughter was physically cornered by a boy in elementary school. He tried to kiss her against her will. She assessed that she was not in "extreme" danger so refrained from a groin shot and instead waited for him to lean in to kiss her and head butted him, flattening his nose. She was sent home for fighting, he was sent home for bleeding everywhere. I bought her ice cream and had a meeting with the principal where it was agreed there would be no notes in her file about the fight, as it was self defense.
*hit first... a touchy subject indeed. hitting over being called names, no. Hitting as response to other physical contact like a bad intentioned shove? Hell yeah!
As to the bullying part... I'm pretty sure anyone that's been on /. more than 30 seconds has seen trolls and anyone who's posted has met the Asshole named AC that spews shit while being hidden from actual identification.