Basic Defense Strategies for Kids
Last week we discussed how we can help keep our children safe by teaching them to be aware of what is going on around them; however, the unfortunate part of teaching Stranger-Danger, Situational Awareness, and Self-Defense is that no matter how aware our kids are, bad things can still happen.
Today, I want to discuss with you some basic strategies you can go over with your kids if the worst ever were to happen and a stranger with bad intentions does get their hands on your child.
Who are these self-defense strategies designed for?
In this post, we’ll to discuss strategies designed for our younger Martial Artists (ages 8-13). But the truth is, these strategies can be applicable for almost anyone. The purpose of these basic concepts is to give the victim the best chance of survival by playing to their strengths.
What are these strategies designed to do?
These Strategies are designed so that anyone can effectively use them to protect themselves. They are the fundamentals that I use to teach children’s and women’s self-defense. It takes little to no training to be able to execute these techniques effectively. When discussing these strategies with your children, make sure to emphasize that they are only to be used in a real-life scenario and are not a game to play with their friends.
Goal of any Self-Defense Strategy
The goal of any well-designed Self-Defense strategy should be to simply survive a situation. We design strategies based around the strengths of each participant. The fact is, small children simply don’t possess the size and strength to go toe to toe with an adult attacker. They should be coached on ways to increase their odds of escaping and drawing attention to themselves.
Strategy One – Situational Awareness
- The first strategy is situational awareness. It is so important that last week I dedicated a whole blog post to helping you develop situational awareness with your children. Please visit our previous blog post at https://infinity-tkd.com/stranger-awareness-stranger-danger/ for more information on discussing situational awareness with your child.
Being aware of potentially dangerous situations and avoiding them is the ultimate self-defense strategy.
Strategy Two – Your Child’s Voice
- If or when confrontation happens, your child’s voice is without a doubt the most important self-defense strategy, especially our smaller Martial Artists. To me, this is one of the simplest and most effective tools a child has at their disposal. Children’s voices are loud, screeching, and draw attention. Which is the exact opposite of what a predator wants. We want them to use their voice to draw as much attention as they can. Remember, most strangers are not bad people. If one or two of the good strangers looks in the child’s direction and realizes that the child is in distress, then the strategy is effective.
We teach our kids to use the loudest version of their voices and yell as aggressively as they possibly can.
- What should they yell?
You might think that teaching yelling as a self-defense is straight-forward. But understanding what to yell is just as important as yelling itself. Unfortunately, society doesn’t respond to “help” these days. We hear it so often in our day-to-day lives that when someone yells it and really needs help, we tend to ignore it. We want to teach our kids to yell something that is really going to grab attention and get as many people as possible to look at them.
At Infinity Taekwondo, we teach all our kids to yell,
“STRANGER DANGER, THIS IS NOT MY PARENT!”
Remember to teach them to yell as loud as they can!
- How many times should they yell it?
Teach your child to keep yelling and not to stop until the stranger either lets them go or somebody comes to their assistance. There is no limit to the times they can yell it. The more noise they make, the more likely it is that someone will come to help. Do not stop yelling.
Strategy Three– Bite, Kick, Scratch, Do Whatever It Takes
- What happens if yelling does not work? What if there’s no one around to help? This is a worst-case scenario.
We teach our students to do anything and everything they can do to get away.
- Eye jabs
It does not matter how gruesome it seems. We’re talking about teaching our kids to survive a dangerous stranger. There is no such thing as excessive when trying to survive an attacker.
- Tell them to bite whatever skin they can get their teeth on. The neck, the arm, any exposed skin will do. Teach them to bite as hard as they can and not to stop.
- Children’s finger nails are much finer and sharper than adults. It takes far less pressure for them to dig in and create scratches. Like biting, if the skin is exposed tell your child to dig their fingers in as hard as they can and rake them across. A great place for them to go for is the face. We want any marks they leave to be easily visible. Again, don’t stop digging those nails in until the attacker lets them go.
- When discussing eye jabs, I’m not talking about the two finger Three Stooges poke. Explain that they should take all their fingers and jab them into their assailant’s eyes as hard as they can. I know it seems gruesome, but this technique is highly effective.
- Tell them do not stop flailing their legs. Their targets should be the groin or any other soft spot that can cause extreme pain.
What should they do when a stranger sets them down?
Hopefully, one of these strategies causes the stranger to let go or set the child down. When that happens, make sure your child knows not to stick around. Tell them to run to where there are people. Remember, most strangers are normal, good people. Once they’re around people, make sure they know to get as much attention as they can by using their voice. When they get attention, your child should be taken to the closest authority figure. Once they’re with an authority figure, make sure they know to tell them as much as they can about the stranger. There is no such thing as too many details. Things they should know to tell the authority figure are:
- Guy or girl
- Hair color
- Did they bite/scratch them anywhere and where
Any information that a victim can pass along to the proper authorities can be instrumental in catching and preventing future attacks from an attacker.
Remember, this is just an introduction to Self-Defense. These concepts and strategies are basic and designed so that anyone can execute them. Make sure that it’s clear that none of these should ever be used unless it’s a truly dangerous situation. Always emphasize that none of these tactics should be used on their friends or peers during school.
Stranger-Danger, Stranger Awareness, and Self-Defense are topics where repetition is key. The more children hear and understand the better.
I advise having a monthly conversation with your children where you ask them questions and listen to their responses and guide them to the appropriate responses.
Master Brandan A. Rhoades
12815 FM 2154 Suite 110
College Station, TX, 77845
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