I've always made self defense training mandatory for my kids, and you should too. Consider the increase in violence against children, child abductions, and bullying which is still going on, only a lot worse now with the invention of online bullying.
These crimes are occurring in every area now, not just the bad ones:
Growing up in the roughest areas of the Bronx, NY and Chicago Ill, my earliest childhood memories were of getting beat up numerous times by various bullies. Now, you may be thinking that only happened to me because I lived in the bad parts of town, and that may be true, but violence is more prevalent now, and in more areas than it ever was back then.
Additionally, nowadays any bully, or sociopath, can learn fighting techniques by watching mixed martial arts on TV, and online too. They then use these techniques on your children. You can see a plethora of street fights that have been recorded and uploaded onto the internet showing kids getting beat up by a bully using these techniques.
Don't believe this can happen to your child?
Take a look at these statistics:
Four of every 10 children in the US say they experienced a physical assault during the past year, with one in 10 receiving an assault-related injury.
1 in 4 children was the victim of robbery, vandalism or theft during the previous year.
More than 13% of children reported being physically bullied, while more than 1 in 3 said they had been emotionally bullied.
1 in 5 children witnessed violence in their neighborhood during the previous year.
2% of all children experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse during the past year, with the rate at nearly 11% for girls aged 14 to 17.
In one year, 39% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 reported witnessing violence, 17% reported being a victim of physical assault and 8% reported being the victim of sexual assault.
More than 60% of youth age 17 and younger have been exposed to crime, violence and abuse either directly or indirectly.
More than 10% of youth age 17 and younger reported five or more exposures to violence.
About 10% of children suffered from child maltreatment, and were injured in an assault.
About 25% of youth age 17 and younger were victims of robbery or witnessed a violent act.
Nearly half of children and adolescents were assaulted at least once in the past year.
Among 536 elementary and middle school children surveyed in an inner city community, 30% had witnessed a stabbing and 26% had witnessed a shooting.
As the number of traumatic events experienced during childhood increases, the risk for the following health problems in increases: depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, suicide attempts, pregnancy problems, high stress, and uncontrollable anger. Additionally, as adults they will have family, financial, and job problems. These statistics are alarming and are only getting worse!
However, there is hope:
As a martial arts instructor for over 30 years, I have seen first hand the positive changes young people receive from regular training.
Martial Arts training has been associated with:
Developing technical and tactical skills to defend themselves in any situation.
Developing healthy musculoskeletal tissues (i.e. bones, muscles and joints).
Developing a healthy cardiovascular system (i.e. heart and lungs).
Developing neuromuscular efficiency (i.e. coordination and movement control).
Maintaining a healthy body weight.
Psychological benefits in young people, by improving their control over symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Helps in the social development of young people by building self-confidence, self-discipline, and social interaction.
Adopting other healthy behaviors (i.e. avoidance of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use) and demonstrate higher academic performance at school.
What to do?
Sign your child up to a martial arts school that teaches realistic fighting techniques.
My top picks are:
Muay Thai Kickboxing.
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Self Defense (not for competition).
A legitimate Mixed Martial Arts school (contact me if you need help finding one in your area).
If you can't afford Martial Arts lessons, try these options:
Sign up your child for your town or county Wrestling program (and yes girls wrestle too!). Although wrestling is considered a sport, it is the foundation of all mixed martial arts fighting disciplines.
Sign up your child for Boxing at your local PAL (police athletic league). Boxing is another "sport" that is a foundation of mixed martial arts fighting disciplines.
If your schedule doesn't allow you to take your children out to train, consider these options:
Have a self-defense instructor to come to your house to train your child (most instructors will even let you participate as a coach, and you can pick up some skills too).
Consider virtual and online training (this is a popular option where they can train at a time most convenient for you/them. Also, multiple children can practice together, and/or the parent can participate as well).
Buy self defense books - Yes anyone can learn from books, but they will eventually need a partner to practice the techniques with.
I offer all these options above, as well as a sliding scale scholarship for tuition.
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions at https://www.theshortfight.com/contact-us
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Until next time, Stay Fit!
Author, The Short Fight