What self defense should you teach your child?

What self defense should you teach your child?

There I was  — about to become a new father…multiple black belt holder, self defense “expert” and no clue what to teach my kids about self defense…it was a good thing I have some interesting friends…

What’s Wrong With This Picture? 

Forget what you see in the movies and what your local “martial arts expert” claims…A child under the age of thirteen has ZERO chance to defeat a determined and dangerous adult in a fight.

Take a look at the picture – there is NO WAY that child can generate enough power to stop that adult, yet it’s techniques like this that instill false confidence and create the illusion that your child can actually do this against an adult.

Yet everyday millions of naïve parents drop their kids at the dojo with 100% confidence that their child is learning to defend themselves against adult attackers. How do I know this…I used to be one of those instructors.

I remember the “dojo days” teaching the same self defense to the kids as we would the adults and thinking that it “would work” while we all drank the Kool-Aide.

But then it happened…I had kids and was forced to face the truth…Our best junior black belt on his best day would get thrashed by our worst adult white belt on his worst day.

I needed to give my kids SOMETHING REAL that would work.

The idea of them going off out of my supervision got me worried. Here I am, the “self defense guy” and I don’t have the slightest clue what to teach my kids. Luckily I had two students training with me – Brian who was on the county Special Victims Unit and Toni, a school psychologist. With their help and a lot more research I developed the program to educate my grammar school aged kids called FAMILY SAFE.

One of the biggest challenges I discovered was that 85% of crimes against children are committed by someone they know. Stranger Danger only works for a minority of the situations. Chances are your child will be threatened by someone who already had access to them and is in a position of authority (coach, neighbor, relative, counselor, clergy). These predators are cunning, they know how to stay “concealed” and they know how to position themselves between you and your child.

This is tricky and challenging for children to comprehend – so to help them we came up with a set of SIX GOLDEN RULES followed by one decisive action ESCAPE and TELL.

And from here the FAMILY SAFE PROGRAM was born. 

This program is actually to help you teach your kids. It’s not for you to sit them in front of the screen and then have them “magically” become street smart.

This is how I taught my kids and this is how I’m going to help you.

Martial arts provide many benefits from fitness to self confidence, but you can’t have a child believe they can “fight” a grown up and WIN. 

Teaching kids to scratch the eyes, bite and strike the testicles is a LAST RESORT that should only be taught after your child knows how to identify, avoid and escape these predators BEFORE any use of force is needed. 

For example, in order for any predator to impose his will over your child they will need to ISOLATE them. One of the Six Golden Rules of the  FAMILY SAFE PROGRAM is “Don’t Leave the Herd.” A child should never be alone with an adult other than a close and trusted family member. As soon as your child finds themself alone they should leave, find a family member, teacher or a “safe stranger”.

From there, it’s simple – Every time one of the Six Golden Rules is broken your child should have the SAME REACTION. Kids understand rules and they can execute one simple course of action…ESCAPE.
Just like the rest of our self defense…keep it simple. 
To see exactly what I taught my own kids Go HERE<<<
Keep ‘em SMART and Keep ‘em Safe,
Damian Ross
Father of Two

Published by theselfdefenseco

Founder, The Self Defense Company

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  1. Dear Mr. Ross,

    Thank you for that article. In my practice, I spotted that It is a common problem around the globe. When you ask parents why they direct kids to learn martial arts usually you get an answer like “they should know how to defend themselves”.
    What a lie people tell themselves. As you pointed out – there is absolutely no way the kid can defend itself against even not trained adult. I am impressed with your approach to that issue and the program itself. Basing on building the self-confidence you give the right tools and working scenarios for kids to be SAFE!

    As an instructor and father – thank you and keep the good job!

    Piotr Urbanowicz
    Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Koryu 2 Dan
    Niden Ryu 2 Dan

  2. Piotr – THANK YOU and your comment speaks volumes as to the person you are… a seeker of the truth. It is critical that we always reflect what we learn against our pst experience and common sense.

    All too often our eagerness to believe and want a solution clouds our judgement. Especially when it comes to self defense (and politics and religion).

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