JK Lee Black Belt Academy

(262) 547-5425


      Bully This

      Safety is a topic high on every parent’s priority list. We all worry about the safety of our children in an uncertain world where danger lurks around every corner and we may feel inadequate to provide them with the necessary training for self defense.

      The question is how can I help my child to develop the skills and the judgment they need for adequate self defense and safety? How safe is safe?

      When we talk about safety and self defense an overwhelming list of hazards crowd the picture and we may not know where to start. Food safety, fire safety, gun safety, playground safety, stranger awareness, and the list goes on.

      We can’t protect our children from every scratch, fall or insult and we can’t prepare them to deal with every situation with which they might be faced.

      But when we get right down to it one safety topic heads the list in every parent’s mind. Stranger awareness. Does your child know what to do if approached by a stranger say, in the playground, at the mall, or in the park?

      Practice role playing with your child. Teach them what to say if a stranger tries to give them a ride home from school, for instance, or tries to buy them a treat. As them to tell you what they would do or say in a variety of situations and help them to memorize phone numbers and addresses to use in an emergency or unsafe situation.

      It may even be wise to test their behavior by asking someone the child doesn’t know to act out one of these scenarios with your child. You might be surprised at their response and it can help you to identify areas that need reinforcement.

      How safe is safe? The safety of your child in every potential situation relies on their ability to be aware of their surroundings and to make the right decision when they need to act in their own self defense. We can’t control our children’s safety 100 percent of the time but we can help them to acquire the skills necessary to help maintain their own safety.

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      The Basics of Self Defense

      So, you’ve decided that your child is ready to learn something about self defense. Where should you start? What kind of skills and behaviors does your child need to know for adequate self defense and safety and where can they get them?
      As a parent you may already be personally skilled in the art of self defense and understand the principles of personal safety. If this is true for you then you have probably already shared your knowledge and skills with your child and may be participating in a formal martial arts or self defense program yourself.
      If not, here are a few tips for helping your child to learn and develop these skills for themselves:
      • Develop a plan with your child. Rehearse commonly unsafe conditions with them and help them to learn how to use appropriate responses like running away and telling a trusted adult, yelling loudly or fighting back.
      • Ensure that your child has several trusted contacts and safe places to call or run to in the event of an emergency situation or unsafe condition. Help them to memorize phone numbers and addresses.
      • Identify and teach your child several basic physical self defense moves to use if they are being attacked like kicking or punching.
      • Sign them up for a martial arts training program in your area. Most martial arts schools incorporate safety awareness, stranger awareness and simple physical tactics for dealing with an attack as a part of their program.
      The basics of self defense and personal safety really begin at home so, as a parent, you are your child’s first, best teacher and role model. You might consider enrolling your entire family in a good martial arts program to ensure a consistent and supportive environment in which you can all learn to practice good habits for safety and self defense.
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      Praise First, Correct Next

      Here’s a common mistake that teachers and parents make in their desire to help children do their very best: they offer “constructive criticism” right from the very beginning.

      This can make children feel they’re being criticized before anything else.

      However, if children hear praise first, they are much more willing to keep improving. We train our instructors to seek the positives first, to be “good finders.”

      Once they praise our students for their efforts, only then does the instructor share ways to improve upon the student’s technique.

      So it sounds like this: “I like the way you kicked. Now if you turn your foot this would be better. Great! Now do it 10 more times just like that!”

      Instead of being guarded and defensive, the child is motivated by the praise to try again.

      I also see this with parents. They love their child and want them to do so well that they first correct their child instead of first praising them for their efforts. This minor tweak will really boost your child’s desire to be the best.

      Our instructors call this, “Praise, Correct, Praise and Challenge.”

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      Why Self Discipline?

      Why is self discipline so critical to your child’s development? Because, without the ability to use self discipline or willpower to delay gratification, your child will not develop the skills necessary to excel and to compete in an increasingly complex and competitive world.

      Everything in life takes work. Teaching our children to work and achieve is an important step toward the development of these skills. Martial arts training is an excellent way to start them on the road to success.

      As parents we use discipline and the setting of limits to control our children’s behavior. But if we teach them to rely on our limits instead of their own they will be ill equipped to make responsible choices.

      Martial arts can help your child develop this critical self discipline and self control by teaching them to work to progress in rank until they reach the ultimate goal of achieving their black belt level.

      Self discipline is the key to the development of internal motivation, a healthy competitive drive, self esteem and self sufficiency. Martial arts training can help your child to develop all of these skills and more by setting a regular and consistent framework of expectation, goals and rewards.

      Martial arts schools use a team approach involving both teachers and parents to coordinate goals and support the development of behaviors that help to move your child toward self discipline and self sufficiency.

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