I believe it sometimes is the answer, and I am glad you stuck up for yourself.
I was taught to never start the problem, but to always finish it. I never went to principals or teachers about someone picking on me. I would drop a boy in a second.
That reminds me of a confession. In 2nd grad an 8th grade boy was picking on me and a few of my classmates. He kept it up for a couple days, and was the hardest on his little cousin. He would steal his lunch money and smack him around. We decided enough was enough, and walked over to the 6-8th grade play ground. We got him down on the ground, on the softball field, and beat the snot out of him. It was 6 2nd graders on one really big 8th grader. Feom that moment on he avoided us like the plague.
Revenge was sweet.
PS- Don't think me evil. Thats how we were all raised.