When you think of training, one of a likely few things comes to mind. You may imagine a calculated run/bike ride. You might also imagine a well-planned workout plan, and some might imagine combative training of some sort. These are all well and good, and in fact, everyone should do all three of these, as part of their lifestyle. However, as good as they may be, they aren’t what encompasses all of the necessary ways of training.
Self Defense is about being ready for the fight, when the fight comes to you. The fight has come to us, and it’s hugely important that, if you weren’t ready for it, you take the necessary steps to ensuring your safety. When preparing for a threat, there are a few simple big steps, with a couple small steps within each. Let’s begin.
Kids are in a peculiar situation, when it comes to real-world self defense. On one hand, we all know that there is no way that a small child is going to beat up an adult, in self defense. If a large person attacks a small child, the odds of that child being able to punch and kick their way out of that situation are very slim. However, I’ve been teaching my students, of the younger variety, that the possibility is still there; it just doesn’t necessarily lie with their hands and feet. While we never want our children to find themselves in a position where they might need to defend themselves, the possibility still exists.
On the other hand, no child should be without a solid understanding of self defense against a bully. Bullies, as we all know, exist beyond childhood, so why should a child wait until they are adults to learn to protect themselves? With the rate of bullying constantly on the rise, it only makes sense that kids understand how to not only defend themselves from physical harm, but also have the confident to shield themselves, and move passed, verbal abuse and bullying. The issue still remains, however, that a child’s worst position to be in is the confrontation of an adult.
So, in my Kids Self Defense class, at FearLess Nation, we’ve been covering the use of force multipliers, or weapons. I make the kids understand that if someone my size were to attempt taking or hurting them, it would be unwise to attempt standing toe-to-toe. Instead, I teach them to use simple weapons, like an Escrima stick, and we discuss weapons of opportunity, like a textbook or trophy bat. Escrima sticks (pictured below) are a light-weight, and durable, weapon that, on it’s own, poses no threat to the child - unlike a knife.
Children need to be made aware of their own potential, and of the possibilities. A scenario I prepare them for is a scary one, but a necessary one. Imagine that they wake up to the sight of someone they don’t know standing in their bedroom. Yes, they need to yell for a parent, but in the time that it takes for a parent to wake up, identify what they heard, and get to their child’s room, the intruder can already have harmed the child. So, what should a child actively do?
In the event that something like this happens, it is very important that a child, and the parents, already have a procedure in place. It is equally important that a child has trained in the use of weapons, because without training, a weapon can be just as harmful to themselves as it can be to the assailant.
So, to answer the question above, “Are kids too young for real self defense?” the answer is, “No!”
Kids need to be given the opportunity to handle themselves against an attacker. It seems like a disservice to not prepare them for the unfortunate potential that they could, one day, be attacked. Whether it’s by a bully their age, or it’s a much scarier situation, it’s best to be ready!
What are you going to do, when someone breaks into your home? Do you have a plan in place, for that kind of a situation? Do you have loved ones in your home? What if you wake up to discover that the intruder has made their way to your child’s room? Do you have a plan for that? Here’s what I can tell you that you cant do - wait for the police.
Now, I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t call the police. By all means, please do, because you’re going to need them, if for no other reason than to report what happened. What I am telling you is that waiting for them is a mistake. On average, it takes officers 15 minutes to respond to a call to a residential area. There may be exceptions, but as an average, you’ve got a lot of time to wait. What are you going to do with all of that time, make some tea? Below, I’m going to list 3 simple actions to take, along with some supporting advice. Keep reading below.
Self Defense starts with your mindset. You either want to survive this life, for as long as you can, or you don’t.
Now, everyone who read that opening statement will undoubtedly say that they want to survive it for as long as they can, but are they really pushing themselves in that direction? There’s a harsh reality, out there. The reality that there are bad people who are only making themselves stronger, and more capable of harming you, is a very raw one. It’s inescapable. The next harsh reality is that there isn’t anyone in this world who can protect you but yourself. At least no one that you can truly rely on. When the cards are all on the table, and you are standing in the midst of the storm, there is no one who can help you fight your way through it, but you.
Let’s face the facts:
Now, what can we gather from these facts?
The best thing that we can do is train. Cross training is the key to elevating your chances for success, should you find yourself in the midst of a storm. Cardio and weight training will certainly put your body in the best possible condition, from a conventional perspective, but handling yourself against someone who is seasoned in violence is a different ball game. You need to understand the worlds of striking, grappling, weapon defenses, and weapon fighting; but are you doing anything to prepare yourself in all of these avenues? The answer, sadly, is likely not.
So, what’s your next step? It’s time to find yourself a school to train at. I’m sure there are countless schools all around that advertise some form of martial arts. In an article to come, I’m going to list some of the key elements necessary for a worthwhile martial arts and self defense school. Until then, though, if you’re in the Tampa/Odessa/New Port Richey areas, look us up. I am Head Instructor Philip M. Lopez, and we are FearLess Nation.
We spend so much time, trying to keep hands out of our pockets, from merchants to the IRS, but we never focus on some of the most dangerous hands - our own. It can be easily looked over, on a chilly night, or in a crowded place, but it is one of the most dangerous things someone can do, walking around. Let me explain.
It's easy, while you're under no real stress, to take your hands in and out of your pockets. It is easy to feel safe this way, because it keeps your hands clutched around your valuables. I understand that. However, I'm here to tell you that under extreme stress, it can be extraordinarily difficult to get your hands out of your pockets and up, to protect your face. You may not think so, and most don't. Most believe that they will always be able to get their hands out to do whatever they need to. In fact, I'm sure some of you have reached a hand or two into your pockets, while reading this, just to try. Yes, it's easy, but how scared are you, right now?
Imagine you're walking down a sidewalk, and perhaps you have on a nice new coat that was gifted to you over Christmas. Now, imagine that someone with undesirable intentions comes along and decides to attack you for it, but wait, you had your hands in your pockets, because it's cold. Now, with their aggressive shove or strike, you've fallen, unable to get your hands out in time, and with stuck hands, banged your head against the concrete. Where does that leave you? In a sticky, painful, and extremely dangerous position.
Imagine, however, you were aware of these dangers, and you kept your hands out of your pockets, and accessible. Now, even if you are pushed, or struck, to the ground, you have your hands to catch you, and to help you reengage with the assailant. Now, imagine further, that you have had some Self Defense training, and you could properly defend yourself in that situation. That's a powerful thought, and a powerful you.
At my school, FearLess Nation, we prepare our students with, not only the tools, but the mindset to support these tools. It is paramount that you prepare yourself for even the things you believe may not happen. It's always the thing that we don't see coming that gets us - be ready for it!
- Head Instructor Phil
Something that some people don’t understand about training in Self Defense is that it’s just plain fun! That indescribable feeling of empowerment, when you realize that you can actually stand up for yourself, against someone who’s much bigger, and much stronger, is seriously incredible. Why more people don’t do it may be hidden in their misunderstanding of it.
We are the premier self defense school teaching Krav Maga techniques in Trinity, New Port Richey, Odessa, Lutz, Land O'Lakes and the Greater Tampa Bay region.