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Anf's picture
Developing self defence attitude in kids

Hi all.

I think teaching physical techniques to kids is the easy bit. Kids have natural movement abilities.

But what about mindset? I think most the kids in our classes, including my sons, would just freeze and yield in a confrontation.

Potentially worse, a few might go the opposite way, and thinking their super high roundhouse they can do with ease in class is as awesome as they're constantly told it is, so they try it, and then they're balanced on one foot, exposing the inside of a knee, and their crotch, to an aggressor.

I try, with limited success I feel, to teach my kids that IF they have to fight, they must go off like a wild animal until they are safe. I train this with pads and lots of shouting to the effect of 'I'm still coming... You have to stop me' (aiming for a motivational sense of urgency rather than overbearing aggression.. They're kids, and I'm not a drill sergeant).

Does anyone have any tips or ideas on this? Are there any training tips that help develop the self defence attitude, but without creating little monsters?

Quick2Kick's picture

Have one kid lay on a square shield pad. Have another kid try to take it from him. 30 sec time limit then switch. I experienced this drill in an adult krav maga class I attended then used it in the kids classes I taught. It builds agression. You can also do positional ground sparring. Teach them how to escape from a ground position (side control, mount) then have them do it live. There are no strikes or submissions in this type of drill and no chance of falling so they are relatively safe but allow for maximum effort. 2 on 1 sparring with advanced kids. Or you can do 2 on 1 in a linear way. One in the middle 1 on each side (think balance beam) with only 1 allowed to attack at a time. When the person in the middle turns to face you then you can engage. 

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
Anf's picture

Thanks. There's some excellent content here. I haven't finished reading all the links yet but I've read a lot and will read the rest over the next few days.

Quick2kick, good ideas there. I can see how such drills develop sheer determination.

I am nowhere near the expert in either combat or teaching that many folks that contribute here are, but I think overall, I'm the best available to my own kids. I don't mean that in an arrogant way. I mean the very few clubs there are locally have the various limitations in terms of practical teaching for self protection that the articles tell of. My kids train at a good club. They enjoy it, the teachers are great, and in terms actual tangible skills, there's some good core principles in there. They will keep training there as long as they continue to enjoy it, and if they choose to try other clubs they'll have my support there too. There are many a local teacher that can teach skills better than I can. But outside of class I think it's down to me to come up with something. Hence me asking on here. No techniques as such, other than maybe help them practice something from class. But as per the original question here, games and exercises to try to develop attitude.

Jamie Clubb
Jamie Clubb's picture

Thank you for the kind mention, Iain. Hugely appreciated. I am running a 2 hour lesson on children's self-protection based on my book on 17th March for Lee Mullan's Keiryu Practical Karate, followed by an adult Vagabond Warriors 3 hour workshop. Please see below:

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Tau's picture

If I may chip in too, Anf, it is my opinion that Jamie is the single best authority in the UK for teaching practical self protection to children. If you're available then do attend the Essex seminar. 

I initially found his thinking... controversial and uncomfortable but to Jamie's credit he's receptive to being questioned about this. His methods have been endorsed by head teachers and they have sound principles behind them. There are reasons I hosted him in seminar last year.

Anf's picture

Tau wrote:
If you're available then do attend the Essex seminar.

I would love to but unfortunately I won't be able to this time. I will however keep my eyes peeled for future events.