Why is Self Defense Important for Children?
We all watch the news and see what’s happening in the world on the internet. Things are NOT getting better. There are so many dangers for young children, teen agers and young adults. Many can be avoided, and those that can’t – can be dealt with.
By enrolling your child in a good martial arts program, many situations can be avoided. Your child will develop good focus, self esteem, body awareness and confidence. These attributes foster higher success rates for children academically, socially and athletically.
Children who train in martial arts tend to develop better spatial and environmental awareness. Additionally, they develop the muscle memory to execute defensive techniques when called upon.
In our school, we teach our children how to handle bullies and resolve conflicts as well as the skills of Stranger Awareness. These are life skills that they will carry with them into adulthood.”
The previous passage is from my book SURVIVAL STRONG, this book should be in everyone’s home to use time and time again as a preparatory guide for survival and strength. I’m going to be quite frank with you and if you’re looking for some “candy coated” PC statements, don’t read this article. If you want to know the truth, read on.
I look around the world and I see what’s going on. We are raising children to “never have a conflict”, to “win a trophy” just for showing up and that “everyone is a winner”. Well the world doesn’t work that way. We’re so careful with our kids that “God Forbid” they don’t come in first, that they’re not the smartest, the fastest, the strongest, etc…”Everyone’s a winner” – is killing our country and doing our children a grave disservice. You may ask “What does this have to do with self defense”. It has everything to do with it. We are raising our children to be ill-equipped veal and preparing them for the slaughter.
There are areas in this country, and even more prevalent in other parts of the world, where the people have it very rough. Here we are so concerned with “bruising our children’s egos”, that we’ve gone from “Helicopter Parents” to “Snowplough Parents”. We have gone from hovering above our children, to plowing forward and making certain that our children have a smooth road in front of them. Being a father of a 22, a 20 and a 6 year old, and a former High School and Middle School coach and a long time Martial Arts Instructor, I have seen the changes over the decades, and in this respect – they’re not for the better. We need to prepare our children not only physically and mentally, but emotionally to deal with what the future holds.
It’s good to have them learn how to win with grace and lose with dignity. Children must be taught to learn from their failures. A good martial arts program is a microcosm of life: Successes and failures, ups and downs. Life is not flat; it’s all peaks and valleys of various grades with some flat road. If we were all a flat line, we’d be dead. Challenges are good. Adversity is a necessary component to development. Not only does adversity build character, it reveals it. In order to make iron strong, you must forge the iron in heat and pound it. The end result is strong, tempered steel. Without losses, adversity, trial and tribulations our children will have no idea how to deal with it when it comes, and it will come. Do we want our children to be akin to a plastic picnic knife or a samurai sword to face the future?
As far as a bonafide martial arts program is concerned, not only are you equipping your children with the tools for success in the future and raising their cognitive abilities, but you are keeping them busy and occupied. When considering a martial arts program, do not waste your time and money on some “feel good belt factory”. Children have to earn their belts and the school needs to have a comprehensive curriculum. If your child gets a promotion every month and a “black belt” after two to three years of training, the school is will teach your child nothing and fill them with a false sense of success. They will have earned nothing and learned nothing.
Keep your child busy in a structured environment with goals, rules and levels to achieve. Not many kids “want” to be challenged, but how many people get paid to be lazy? Make it a positive thing and keep them involved in a martial arts program. Kids should not be allowed to “hang out”, that does nothing but afford them the opportunity to become involved in drugs and bad behavior. It’s unfortunate that children suffer from drug addiction, suicide and self inflicted negative activities. I’ve seen it many times and lived through it.
It’s not all “Doom and Gloom” though, but I wanted to tell you what most people won’t, the truth. Keeping your kids involved in positive activities and keeping you involved with them is the best remedy. None of you are close enough to have your children train with me and you may never buy my book. That’s not the point. If my words reach and help keep one child out of trouble, that’s what’s most important to me. But, from experience with thousands of children, one of the best remedies that you can do is to keep your children involved in a solid martial arts/self defense program. It my just save their life!
Phil Ross is a former competitive fighter and bodyguard turned self defense and fitness guru who wants to share his life-saving techniques with as many people as possible. An 8th Degree Black Belt, he is the owner of American Eagle Mixed Martial Arts as well as Kettlebells: The Ultimate Training Center. For more self defense tips, check out his new book, Survival Strong.