As a dad I feel that one of the main things or most important things I must teach my children in life is how to defend themselves.
I am not intending for them out into the world to attack people. Or be aggressive with people but I just want to provide them with resources and tools they can use if they ever find themselves in a situation where they have to defend themselves.
What I have done is set a pattern in my home where I incorporate 15 to 20 minutes of martial arts training into our daily routine. Basically what this includes is one traditional form for discipline, and then various self-defense techniques such as boxing kickboxing, Muey Thai and grappling.
This is the basics of just of self-defense. If they ever want to learn more advanced teachings they will have the basic foundation desired to move forward.
What I do to ensure that I don’t lose their interest is a make their training as fun as possible. Understandably, kids get bored easily.
To ensure they are engaged from the very beginning of training, I start off with boxing and mixed martial arts type kicking drills.
The drills I do are a very basic punching and defensive stand up drills with take down and grappling defense maneuvers. They tend to enjoy the drills when we incorporate tumbling and very active movements into the drills.
For example we line up and take turns practicing the movement sand then from there we close it traditionally. Doing traditional Wing Chun forms at the very end, during the finishing up and settling down stage helps with settling them down. Kung Fu forms are boring to them so I have learned to do it at the very end of our sessions when they are tired.
The objective being to emulate the format of a typical martial arts class in the home.
Fortunately this can be fun while providing them with the basic self-defense skills they may need if they end up stick in a situation where they need may need it in life.
My brother put his son in Taekwondo after he noticed him being bullied in school. This format worked for him. Although my brother is able to do martial arts, scheduling and time is hard for him so my nephew goes to a formal Taekwondo school and is now in the upper belts.
We have noticed that the tenants of the school help my nephew with staying calm, focused, and strive for success in school. When going for a recent belt exam, I was quite surprised to hear him tell me not only did he hope he had been a help to his teacher throughout the year, but if her report to his Sensei (Teacher) was not favorable he would try harder for the remainder of the year. A value can not be placed on a nine year old who wants to be a better person overall.
When I asked him what the Taekwondo creed is he sited the following without hesitation:
Observe the tenets of Taekwondo.
Respect instructors and seniors.
Never misuse Taekwondo.
Be a champion of freedom and justice.
Help to build a more peaceful world.
5.) Indomitable spirit
In traditional Taekwondo classes there is a structure so children have short term and long term goals. Children strive for advancement whether by belt or degree and they also have tests and tournaments that they participate in.
Time and again, traditional schools recite and practice respect and discipline. So I try to bring all the benefits and teachings of traditional classes into what I do in my home.
We subscribe to the tenets of being respectful and practicing common sense before self-defense. Just a couple basic sentiments we practice each day in our home setting.
While structure gives them a sense of security knowing what is about to happen it also helps them to prepare their minds mentally for what they are about participate in and inevitably he have no control over. Keeping a stead curriculum goes over very well with them on a daily basis.
It also makes the random surprise such as a trip to the local monster truck or Super cross event all the more exciting to them.
In the beginning you may not notice anything at all. You may even have to fight to get them motivated. In the beginning we have had to argue with them to get their attention diverted back into the lesson as. This is common. But you may be surprised at how much they are actually absorbing as long as you are consistent.
in the beginning you may not notice anything at all you may have to fight them we have to argue with it we have to divert the water away in the hall as kids tend to do but you’re fine or you may be surprised as I was fine how much they absorb are really absorbing
I found learned this completely on accident at one of our family parties. One of my in-laws is an avid martial artist. He studied various styles including Wing Chun. For some reason, he brought the subject up when I was not there and my son said he learned Wing Chun from his Dad. Within moments my son and his uncle were doing the Wing Chun forms and “sticky hands” together in an impromptu demonstration for the family.
Needless to say I was proud to hear that as I’m sure you will be with your child. Remain consistent, that is the key.
As my children get older, I have them working the heavy bag more. In addition to helping them build strength, it helps them channel their energy in a healthy way if they are feeling frustrated.
Being that it is good for them I try not to take it away from or use it as tool for discipline. I have learned that giving them something they enjoy, then taking it away as a form of punishment only frustrates them.
For example, one of the exercises I do with them in grappling is maintaining the top position like in the video below. My children love to spend time with, wrestle with their father and learn this valuable positioning skill at the same time. Taking away “Daddy Time” with them as punishment has only had counter intuitive results for me.
Whatever child rearing tactic you use is fine, I understand that every child is different and what may work for my children may not necessarily work for yours and vice verse.
When my children were younger, I would take things away that they enjoyed for a time. Sort of a “time out” from the toy or electronic device. As they have grown older, I can see that the impact of positive time spent with their father has way better results than taking away quality time.
One day my nine-year-old son told me that taking away his access to a his typing game did not make sense to him because it was not just something he liked, it was a skill he could use in life. Sometimes the wisdom of a child is priceless.
Going forward from there I have tried to make the punishment fit the crime so the lesson will not be missed in the anger or confusion of the moment. Slowing down and doing a routine self defense training consistently has been extremely beneficial to the developmental process of my children.