Self-Defense Training For Kids
Defense for Kids is Different
Self-defense training for children is very different than teaching adults. Kids don't have much of an attention span, they want to be entertained and in general they really won't practice much on their own. On the other hand, they learn quickly and easily, they retain the information better than many adults and have lots of enthusiasm.
Some Techniques for Kid's are Inappropriate
In the past I trained many children that accompanied their parents to my classes and private sessions. At first I thought I could teach them the same techniques, however very quickly parents complained that their kids were beating up other kids (in some cases justified), and sometimes engaging in bullying behavior.
I stopped teaching kids the more damaging techniques such as eye-jabs, ear-slaps and throat attacks (in the beginning), and taught deescalation and controlling the situation more; and if it escalated, taking care of business without maiming their little friends.
Training to deal with Abductions
Regarding abductions, that is a whole different matter completely. I think we all realize that no matter how skilled a child is, he or she can never thwart the actions of a determined abductor. Ideally, an abductor wants to do his deeds quickly and quietly, so because teaching awareness and avoidance tactics we also teach kids techniques to be noisy and to slow the attacker down.
The RealFighting Kids program teaches children and youth how to defend themselves from bullying and abductions. We take a realistic approach to preparing youth to prevent and stop potentially dangerous situations.
The KIDPOWER Connection
I am also an advisor to KIDPOWER TEENPOWER FULLPOWER International, a nonprofit organization that has a very comprehensive program for teaching advocacy, boundary-setting, and personal safety skills to children, teenagers, and adults, including people with disabilities. A few years ago, I went to a KIDPOWER training and was very impressed. I incorporate some ideas from KIDPOWER in my workshops with their permission. A full report about their history and philosophy is in the RealFighting Newsletter Issue Number 8.