Not all self defence classes are the same. Take the time to shop around and be honest about what you're looking for.
What is self defence and why should your child learn it?
At Defend, our shared belief is that all children should learn the fundamentals of self defence. In an ideal world, where we treated one another with compassion, empathy and kindness, there would possibly be no need for self defence. However, the harsh reality is that society (school, college, social environments, family units and the workplace) are full of predators and unfortunately children are frequently the target.
Whether you are arming your child from bullying at an early age, or sending them off to college where you can no longer keep them on your radar as much as you were previously used to, all children should know self defence.
We are all responsible for our own wellbeing. Nobody else can fight your battles for you if they’re not around. It’s up to you and you alone.
Example: I spent a lot of time in Australia and ALL children learn to swim from a very early age. The majority of the major towns and cities are coastal, and the tides and currents are strong and unforgiving. They are equipped at an early age to recognise and overcome this. We strongly believe the same should apply to self defence.
Why do we believe this? Because the instructor team are parents. Some with toddlers, some with juniors and some with teens. We understand. We get it.
Self defence isn’t just about punching, kicking and wrestling. In fact, arguably it’s the last resort. Combat sports or traditional martial arts who exist in a tournament/competition environment are NOT self defence. They may sell themselves this way, but it’s simply not the case. Great for fitness, discipline, community, physical development and tournament fighting, but not self defence.
There’s too many very talented, high level martial artists (often black belt level) who have suffered at the hands of real violence because they’ve never really been taught what to look for. They weren't prepared for the reality of violence. A black belt is a reward for dedication and time served – it doesn’t make anybody invincible.
Please don’t misunderstand me, somebody who has trained in combat sports and experienced sparring, competition and physical discomfort stands a much greater chance of surviving a violent encounter, but there’s no magic pill. In fact our team don't just teach Krav Maga (although it is our primary tool for self defence classes), we also train regularly in Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. All of these systems offer excellent physical solutions to common problems… IF TAUGHT IN THE CORRECT CONTEXT. Also, they're excellent fun. That's why most of us stick with anything – because we enjoy it!
So what is self defence?
Self defence training is about learning and understanding boundaries, setting them, and protecting them. Verbally, psychologically and physically if needed. Boundaries which should be set at home, at school and at play.
The harsh reality is that in most cases of violence, the victim knows the perpetrator. Over 70% of reported cases actually.
How to do you teach a child or young adult to defend themselves against somebody they know and potentially trust? Do they have the capacity to start throwing punches and kicks at somebody they believed to be a friend? Is that even the right course of action.
Predators are often looking for an easy target, and often that means getting to know that target to see if it’s worth the risk.
Predators only want 3 things; your property, your body or your life. Sometimes one of these, sometimes a combination or sometimes even all three.
Read that again from a different perspective.
Predators only want 3 things; your child’s property, your child’s body or your child’s life. Sometimes one of these, sometimes a combination or sometimes even all three.
If more young people understand boundaries and are confident enough to enforce them, then it’s a step in the right direction.
The physical skills we teach are an answer to the most common types of attacks; strikes (with hands, feet or head), grabs (standing or on the ground), weapons (usually sharp or edged weapons) and dealing with groups (very common in social situations).
However, we also try to educate our students to recognise certain behaviour, teach them de-escalation tactics and give them the confidence to stand their ground, verbally and physically.
Hopefully this will help you in making an informed decision when choosing the right class for your child. If you have more questions, contact us via the website or on our social media and hopefully we can help.
We offer 2 trial classes for £10.00 and our kids self defence classes in Cambridge are at Trumpington Meadows Primary School on Wednesday afternoons at 5.00pm and Saturday mornings at 11.00am.