Kids love Martial Arts classes so why is it that the there is still only a minority of kids training in the arts? In my opinion it should be taught in Schools curriculum. I believe this for so many reasons. The Eastern philosophy of Martial Arts can teach children so many values that are lost. What I would like to discuss in this article is the self-defence side of taking up Martial Arts. Something that really gets up my goat is some peoples ignorance of Martial Arts and seeing it as promoting violence. Well excuse me, people need to wake up and realise that violence is happening on our doorsteps all the time. I am often talking about not taking negative stuff into our brains like the news and similar stuff that often like to tell you all the crap that is going on in the world as there are so many positive things in life that people should be focusing on but at the same time we still need children to be aware that shit can happen in life and when it does, we need to maximise our chances.
A lot of self defence is not even about fighting, its learning not to get yourself in situations in the first place. Children are so vulnerable and teaching them to defend themselves must be done in such a balanced way. Therefore, an Instructor that teaches the traditions of the Martial Arts and also has a good knowledge and experience of what actually works on the street is vital. The traditional side of the Arts will teach the children good morals and values but an instructor that has had real experience of violence will know that a lot of the traditional stuff that people teach will be useless when the fear of somebody coming at you with arms swinging wanting to rip your face off. Believe me, I have trained under some instructors and I cringe at what they were teaching, at the time I didn’t no any better.
How do we start to teach children how to live safe and take precautions to avoid getting into dangerous situations? I call this situational awareness, awareness in the Martial Arts is a very talked about subject. Martial Arts teaches you to be aware of your own body, then your opponents body language and the then awareness of yo
ur surroundings. I believe that this should be taught to children in reverse as in my experience of teaching, the younger generation are not always ready to understand the finer details of their own posture and stances etc. That comes from after long term training. As I’ve said, violent confrontations can often be avoided, unfortunately it is often in hindsight after an incident has already happened. Teaching children about situational awareness early on will certainly go a long way in preventing tragic incidents.
So what is situational awareness? This can include things like knowing the people you hang around with, taking the safer route home instead of the quickest, using windows as mirrors to see what is happening behind you, being vigilant and not preoccupied on your phone, letting family/friends know where you are, keeping emergency numbers on speed dial, knowing the ICE contact no for the emergency services, what clothes are best to wear, knowing the area you are in, shouting “fire” instead of “Help” These are just some examples which need to be taught to children. The balance is teaching children that its not all evil and dangerous out there because there is a lot more nice and genuine people out the than scum that want to hurt you but we still need them to have the awareness and facts that things do happen.
I’m not going to go into the practical side of self defence which is needed when all the above have failed and you need to use the skills provided, I will save that for another day. I would like to finish on the sentence I initially started on. Why aren’t more kids training in Martial Arts?
This could be down to the instructor not being very child friendly. In most circumstances thou it is normally down to it either being that Martial Arts is a bit too much hard work or they find it hard to do some of the techniques. Which can be true but isn’t everything new hard to learn at first and shouldn’t we, as parents be instilling grit into our children’s personality. If you want anything worthwhile in this life, 99% of people are going to have to dig deep to get it. My motto in my classes, is “Never Give In” as this will serve Children in Self-Defence and Life itself.
Take care and be safe.