We always appreciate receiving questions from parents. Here’s one we’ve heard many times before.
Question: What advice do you have for children and young teens about self-defense in public? or in dark parking lots?
Answer: Self defense for a child begins by understanding the reason for it (self defense).
It’s as basic as good and evil. Some people have good intentions toward children, some have bad (evil) intentions. Because of the real possibility of children and teens crossing paths with people with bad intentions, adults with good intentions need to teach children to prepare for that possibility.
Here are some basics we teach in Grace Martial Arts –
- Be aware
- Be careful
- Stay alert
- Keep your eyes out for potential problems
- Stay focused on what you’re doing and what people near you are doing
- Keep a ‘wide view’ instead of a ‘narrow view’ of where you are and who is around you (talking or texting on a cell phone is a ‘narrow’ focus that can keep children and teens from sensing an approaching attacker)
- Don’t be alone in public places (if possible)
- Buddy up with one or more friends (whenever possible)
- Have a plan in case a stranger approaches you or your group of friends
- Know where to run if approached (exit strategy)
- Be extra careful at night (harder to see how to escape)
- Stay away from public places at night (if possible) or buddy up with one or more friends in public places at night
“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up … Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12
If children and young teens stay aware, they will usually stay out of trouble. But even with the best preparation and awareness, people with bad intentions can approach children and teens and attempt to do bad things to them. That’s why we teach kids and teens how to escape grabs and kick and strike when necessary. Both types of self defense (evasion and invasion) are skills that take time and effort to learn.
- First – teach awareness
- Second- teach preparation
- Third – teach evasion (escape and run)
- Fourth – teach invasion only when it’s necessary (stun and run)
Thanks for asking!
Sensei Mark McGee
Grace Martial Arts
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.