Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Self Defense - Teaching Your Child

Source: oklahomafamilykarate.com

his post is the first in a series directed to parents who want to teach their kids self defense.

I’ve literally taught 1,000s of kids over the years (some of them are starting to bring their own children to my classes). As I’ve said in other posts, teaching kids is enjoyable and very rewarding. An instructor has the opportunity to change lives for the better, especially when children are on a downward spiral and sometimes need someone from outside the immediate family to help them back up.

Make the sessions fun!

Source: newsillinois.edu

 Initially, you have 2 choices: you can take your child to a martial arts class or you can try to teach your child some basic principles and techniques on your own.

The first thing I would advise is –

1.   Make the instruction fun (especially if your child is being bullied at school or is fearful of playing outside). The last thing that a child needs is a boot camp atmosphere adding more stress to her/his life.

2.   All children’s martial arts/self defense starts from the inside. In order to access the fuel for self defense, a child has to believe in himself. Just like an adult, if the child has been hollowed out by fear, anger, tragedy, loneliness…the punch and kick she will throw at an attacker will have no impact.

The fuel for self defense comes from within

Source: nightstarata.com

In fact a child won’t know where her body begins and a stranger’s touch ends. Because she lacks definition, a sense of place in the world, a sense of self.

(I like the comedian Bill Maher dearly but I disagree with his oft-repeated statement: “Kids have too much self-esteem.” No, kids have far too little of the real self-esteem. In fact, they should help themselves to copious amounts).

I see lots and lots of broken and fragmented tiny people never mind the pre-teens and the teens who live in a world of insecurities of their own. We should manufacture some sort of kid glue that puts little lives back together again.

Establish the rules of personal safety together

Source: womenselfprotection.blogspot.com

As I’ve said before, this is a world for adults, in structure, thought and in importance. Kids who turn into healthy adults are nurtured, gently challenged and given the chance to make a place for themselves in childhood.

I digress.

3.   Sit down with your child and organize a couple of fun sessions. Get his input. What would he like to see covered. Situations in school? Problems that could occur on the way home? Ask him about safety procedures his school has in place. Is he fearful of strangers? Does he want to help you put a set of rules in place that covers not just him but you as well –is a stranger allowed to touch you? whom do you go to to for help?

As you can see, the child is not being talked down to. As adults, we’re not the sole organizing committee. It’s become a team effort, with input from all sides.

(One of the key tenets of child safety is communication. You have started a two-way form of communication regarding personal safety. Your child feels that you’re listening, that her input is important).

She will share her fears with you, her anxieties. She won’t keep them bottled up inside. Because she is being treated as an equal.

A self defense session can be challenging in a fun way

Source: kravmaga-kids.com

4.   Once you’ve both organized a series of lessons, please remember to let her teach you as well. Yes, she can teach you how to kick and punch!

I regularly let little people lead in front of a group. They love the responsibility, and it gives them a chance to really work on the finer details of a technique. 5 year olds will actually tell the group how to get more power out of a punch, how to maintain balance when kicking, how to breathe correctly or how to maintain posture so a person doesn’t look like he’s afraid.

She will be sharing her insights with you. That’s part of her growth in self defense!

The next time I post on the subject, permit me to detail some of the basic procedures regarding technique – height, angles, targets, etc. – specifically for children.

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