Public schools universally teach children to share, don’t hit, don’t do drugs, etc. If your kid gets bullied in school, the parents get called into the principal’s office, and they tell you how they’re going to work things out, time-outs, shake hands, be nice, blah, blah, blah.
Then there’s reality. Bullies will apologize, promise to stay away, and kiss-ass in front of the school officials, but get right back to it on the playground intimidating any kid they see as prey.
One of my sons had this play out, and as a parent, I similarly made nice before the school official, but then told my kid to fight back because the bully will never stop until you stop him. He did, socked the bully in the face, and it was over. He was no longer easy prey. That lesson lives with him to this day, and he’s never intimidated, even by aggressive panhandlers after his shift end at 2:00am waiting for the bus home in downtown.
About the time kids were in middle-school through high school, I happened to come across a website in my search for firearms training which turned out to be in the neighboring town, InsightsTraining.com. Largely they focus on safety and defense training for pistols and rifles. But I also saw that they offered unarmed self-defense classes with no (lower) age limit. I signed up me and the three boys.
We met, of all places, at the town hall in the city council meeting room. It was adjoined to the city’s police department, and the pistol range was in the basement. We assembled at 8:00am, 40 people or so, filling out waivers, and whatnot. Half of them were doing a defensive pistol training, and there were many dads taking their high-school aged sons. The other half were a variety of men and women, a few cops, ranging from 12 (my kid) to 50 something.
The gun training group left, and the rest of us cleared out the folding tables and chairs. We spent 8 hours both Saturday and Sunday in the city council meeting room learning defensive moves and ground fighting.
Earlier in their lives, they (my 3 sons) had each been in karate, and didn’t have much to show for it. But in those two days, they learned how to survive a street fight. Okay, maybe not against seasoned thugs, but they’d probably be able to get out of most scraps.
The folks at Insights are former military guys, not big scary dudes, but guys you’d meet at the bar and share laughs with. In the late ’90s, they decided they’d start teaching stuff they loved, which is combat training. They teach lots of law enforcement people in the area, and the US military has hired them to teach. They also decided to make certain classes available to civilians defensive courses. Over the years they’ve developed a core of trainers that are men and women who are truly dedicated to teaching people how to defend themselves against thugs.
They have more courses, including baton, Kubaton, pepper spray, ground fighting, and available weapons like a sturdy pen, a cane or umbrella. They have a wide variety of firearms training for civilians as well. Good stuff!
They also have a knife fighting class. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why would you want to teach your kids knife fighting? What kind of horrible parent are you?” Well, you can carry a folding knife just about anywhere, and it will be far better than having nothing at all if you’re on the ground getting your face smashed.
At one point in the knife fight training, the defender is on the floor, and the aggressor is on top strangling the defender. How do you slip the folding knife out of your pocket and how do you strike the guy so that he’ll get off you?
The instructors paired us up by approximate size. I wound up paired with my oldest son, already 6’4″. I’m the aggressor, and I’m strangling him. The thought that crossed my mind was I recall holding him as a newborn, and he was so tiny. Now he’s this big galoot and I’m knife fighting with him.
All the classes I’ve taken there were great, and they add to your confidence when in dangerous environments, like after pub crawls in downtown. None of the classes are designed to make you a street brawler or gang member, they’re all about defenses and escaping bodily harm or death.
Without some kind of defensive training, you’re depending on hope… hope that some thug doesn’t smell your fear and prey upon you.
With defensive training, you’re on the look-out, carry yourself with confidence, don’t look like a victim, and sometimes that’s all it takes to avoid being jumped.
Thugs are looking for easy victims, not someone who will fight back, just like the bullies on the play ground.