Self-defence can play a great part in everybody's life, but we often don't give proper thought to it. People have stereotyped an impression of self defence thanks to a diet of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies.
What a shame because self-defence embraces a huge variety of skills we use, not only in particular defensive situations but in a thousand events of our daily routine, It is both a mental and physical skill to have.
Having the peace of mind that your children are safe is a luxury few parents have. We might not be able to wrap our kids up in cotton wool, but we can do a lot to prepare them to be able to protect themselves when necessary. The beauty of self-defence is in its holistic approach to preparing the mind and the body for getting over problems and increasing mental resilience. As your children get older, they need independence and freedom to explore, but they also need to be aware of potentially unsafe situations
Self-defence is the art of defending oneself from physical harm. In law, self-defence is permitted so long as there is reasonable cause and reasonable force used. Self-defence teaching requires the student to learn when it is appropriate to use force and when to turn the other cheek. In Japan self defence is taught as part of many schools curriculum. Self defence can boost confidence and heighten focus and concentration.
Giving our kids the skills to survive does not mean teaching them how to be aggressive fighters, but clued up thinkers. Many self-defence techniques involve ways for the child to escape from a threatening situation not inflame it. One way to avoid an attack is to trust your instincts. Heightened awareness is an important quality for any self-defence expert. Your intuition and common sense are the tools you need to survive.
There are also plenty of things you can do as a concerned parent to make your child safer. Reducing the risks our children face is not as tricky as it might seem so long as we use common sense. Teaching your kids to understand their surroundings is a really good place to start. Teach your kids to walk and around areas that are brightly lit and open. Teach them the importance of familiarising themselves with the buildings, parks and spaces they hang about in. Think about places in these spots that can serve as hiding places such as bushes and alleyways.
Teach your child the importance of staying in groups and not splitting off and becoming isolated late at night. Teach them the importance for keeping you informed about their movements and make sure you know their daily schedule. Develop your relationships with their friends' parents so you are sure that more than one pair of eyes are keeping a tab on things.
You can get your child into good habits from a fairly early age. By about the age of three, you can start teaching children some simple safety rules, particularly road safety.
Practise crossing the road and explain why they should never step out between parked cars.
You should also show them secure places to play. Point out unsafe places such as rivers or busy roads and explain what makes them dangerous.
Another vital safety rule is: "Never go off with anyone whether you know them or not - even another child, or someone else's mum or dad - without checking with me first."
As they get older, make sure your children know their full name, address and telephone number. They may not confidently remember these until they're about five or six, so check periodically whether they remember them. You should also teach your child how to ask for and get help.
A good self-defence class can teach your child how to size up a situation and decide what you should do. Self-defence classes can also teach special techniques for breaking an attacker's grasp and other things they can do to get away. For example, attackers usually anticipate how their victim might react like a kick to the groin or jab to the eyes. A good self-defence class can teach your child ways to surprise their attacker and catch him or her off guard.
There are many ways of getting children involved in this, but the majority of parents would send their child to a Judo, Karate or Taekwondo class. I have done both Judo and Taekwondo, and have become an advocate for the latter. It's a great sport, it instills a discipline at grass roots level which develops with the child while building confidence and self esteem.
If you would like to see more on Taekwondo and what it can teach your children, have a look at Todays Taekwondo [http://todaystaekwondo.org]
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