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!
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