Teaching Your Kids Self Defense by KJN Jae Jeannotte
As a Hapkido teacher who has worked with hundreds of families over the years I have learned that anyone with a child wants what’s best for their kid. Sometimes, you’ll come across people who want to hurt your child, and you’ll do anything to stop them – but sometimes you’re not there, or you can’t get there quick enough.
You should always teach your kids how to defend themselves from someone looking to take and hurt them. The big lesson to teach your kids is stranger danger. If they stay away from and don’t talk to strangers, they decrease their chances of being kidnapped by quite a bit.
Many kidnappers still run with the old free candy or lost puppy trick, and it works – so teach your children all the common tricks used by people they don’t know. That means especially the “Your parents sent me to come pick you up, they’ve been in an accident!” line, because it’s the most believable when a child feels anxious or worried.
Next, you should teach your kid what to do it they do get grabbed. First and foremost, they should scream at the top of their lungs. Screaming things like, “Help! Stranger! I don’t know you! Get away,” and so on will help bystanders be alerted.
They should scream these things repeatedly – especially if it’s somewhere crowded, where the would-be criminal is liable to get swarmed by other grown-ups who will save your child.
If the screaming doesn’t work, teach the kid to lose all humanity and go full on animalistic on the attacker. This includes kicking, biting, scratching, or anything to make the attacker let go.
Teach them to bite places on the body with thin skin like the inside of the arm, so they have a better chance of drawing blood. If they dig their nails into these spots as well, they can cause some serious harm to anyone.
You should also teach them where to attack criminals. Good spots for this are the groin, eyes, and throat. As gross as it may sound, your child can still gouge out the eyes of any kidnapper, causing serious pain and blindness.
You can also teach them how to bend the fingers of their attacker in the opposite direction, which can stop them from grabbing them. Once the criminal is incapacitated, they should run and scream.
Tell them to scream bloody murder and run like the wind, and someone is bound to stop you and help them. If they can find an adult who will call the police and then their parents, they’ll be safe.
Make sure you also have your child memorize your home phone number, not just have it set as a number in their cell phone, so they can easily get you to come find them but teach them to call 911 first.
In addition to all these things I recommend that you enroll them in a reputable traditional martial arts school where they will develop the confidence and life-saving skills needed to face the challenges and dangers of the world. Remember that even though you cannot always be there to protect them it is still your responsibility to provide them with the education necessary to protect themselves.
About the author: KJN Jae Jeannotte is a lifelong martial artist who has served as an officer in some capacity in several of the top Hapkido organizations in the world. He is the Founder of JaeMuKwan Hapkido which is recognized by several of the leading Korean organizations. KJN Jeannotte is also the Chairman of the USA Hapkido Union Board of Advisors.
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