Keeping Your Children Safe

Don't teach your child FEAR. Teach them the skills to defend themselves.

I am very concerned that with the rash of recent child abductions and attempted child abductions, that many parents are going to fill their children with fear instead of teaching them awareness and skills to avoid becoming a victim.

As a parent, I understand the worry and fear we have about the dangers that are lurking out there that might harm our children.  As a professional Martial Arts Instructor, I don't understand why more parents aren't enrolling their children in programs that are designed to teach protection skills to their children.

Certainly, I teach those skills in my TaeKwonDo school in Glen Rock, but if not with me, you should enroll your child in any of the better martial arts schools in the area, so that they can learn to recognize, avoid or get away from dangerous situations.

Parental worry and fear is easily recognized by the child and unconsiously adopted by them as well.  Would you like your child to grow up living their life in fear?  I wouldn't.

We all know that education is the best answer to most problems and a solid education in the martial arts will offer benefits well beyond your current understanding.

I am a Certified member of the "Community Emergency Response Team" and a Volunteer with my town's Ambulance Corps.  I would hate to have to respond to an emergency involving a child, that could have been avoided.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this issue further, please call me at:  201 670-7263.  I am always available to you.


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J.D. Luke October 25, 2012 at 03:18 PM
We did not enroll our son in Karate School out of fear or anything like that, but I'm glad he's going there and am very happy that he's getting some self-defense training. His classes looked like so much fun that I enrolled myself too. I was right. The training, while rigorous, difficult and tiring, is an excellent workout and I'm having a blast.
Gary Stevens October 25, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Martial Arts is not only for self defense, as you now know. There are more benefits the the individual than most people can imagine. It's not about fighting but more about self control. It's not about just kicking and punching but more about overall health, fitness and flexibility. It's about building strong character. About eliminating fear and increasing self respect and self confidence. All of which will stay with the child or the adult throughout their lives. How much is that worth to you? The tuition may be expensive in today's economy but do you of a better investment in your child's well being or yours? I don't think so. I congratulate you on your decision to enroll your child and I am thrilled that you are also participating. I am a little sorry that you're not one of my students, but with your positive attitude, I am sure the martial arts school that you attend, is happy to have you there.
Gary Stevens October 25, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I have heard parents tell their children to trust their instincts. If their instincts tell them they are in danger then run away. That is also telling them that if their instincts aren't alerted, then it's ok. Telling a child to trust their instincts is asking for real trouble. The child's instincts will tell them to help the man looking for his dog. The child's instincts will tell him to help the lost man with directions. A child is a child, not an adult. They do not have the sensibilities and reasoning of an adult, no matter how much we want them to or tell them to. Role playing is a good way to train them, but relying on their instincts, is certainly something I would not recommend.
Brian October 25, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Can you cite any examples from the past 10 years where a marshal arts student used his/her self defense techniques to physically defeat an attempted abduction by an adult? Preferably an adult that is a stranger so as to be consistent with the story. I understand you also are talking about recognizing danger but you also claimed that these skills can help them "get away" from a dangerous situation.
Gary Stevens October 25, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Alfred Fredel October 26, 2012 at 03:57 AM
As a young person growing up in Miami, I was exposed to a lot of violence. I have had more than my share of scraps in the past and I credit my martial arts training for helping me to keep out of trouble. I have enrolled my 10 year old son in a martial arts program and I believe it is an essential part of growing up in today's world. The better part of the martial arts is knowing how to assess when you are in danger and how to avoid it. That only comes with experience and training. I recommend that all boys and girls take some form of martial art if anything to improve their awareness and reactions to any threats they may face.
JAFO October 26, 2012 at 04:51 PM
If martial arts instructors were truly concerned for the safety of our kids, they would visit the schools to educate students on the simple self-defense techniques and protection skills required to avoid becoming a victim. Until then, they are just capitalists looking to cash-in on a perceived epidemic (not that there's anything wrong with that).
Steve R October 26, 2012 at 05:14 PM
My daughter is the smallest kid in her class. But she's a high blue belt in Tae Kwon Do, so nobody picks on her. Her instructor teaches discipline as well as the skills. My daughter has benefitted greatly!
Gary Stevens October 26, 2012 at 07:42 PM
DEAR JAFO: If educating your child is so important why not ask your didcated teachers to teach for FREE? If your child's health is that important, why not ask the doctors to give their very vital services for FREE. Why would you ask a Martial Arts Professional to give their service for Free? We need to earn a living just like you and everyone else. If we have a school, we need to pay the rent, utilities, taxes, Insurances and many other expenses. If you think your child's safety is important, then why wouldn't you feel it is worth protecfing by buying this valuable service?
JAFO October 26, 2012 at 10:03 PM
It's called volunteering. Yes, charge for your services at your place of work, but donate your expertise for the basic safety of kids. Who knows, a little goodwill may go a long way to securing new clients.
STB November 10, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Gary, I can't agree with you more that you should be paid for what you do, just as a doctor or a dentist, etc. While I appreciated your article and will suggest to my wife we enroll our kids in either your class or one like it, I just don't agree with some of your conclusions. I was the youngest of three boys raised by our father. Not only did we fight, I took karate as well and was big for my age. That said, I submit to you, when it comes to a physical confrontation, kids, no matter how prepared, are simply no match for an adult of average strength, including me when I was a kid. To suggest a kid can adequately physically defend himself is right up there with bringing a "knife to a gunfight." On the other hand, teaching kids awareness, teaching them to run, teaching them where to run I would agree are highly effective. I also like the idea of my kids being tough enough to easily handle other kids, which is realistic with fundamental martial arts instruction. But when it comes to your teaching kids and talking to parents, I would humbly suggest you refrain from telling them they now have the skills and tools necessary to win in a dynamic critical incident. I fear you may infuse in a lot of kids who might otherwise run away a belief they've got a chance in what will almost always be an unwinnable fight that will ultimately lead to their abduction. Again, I like the idea of my kids taking your class, just with the aforementioned concerns.
Gary Stevens November 10, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Sam, Thank you for your kind words. In my blog I did say that I teach: " so that they can learn to recognize, avoid or get away from dangerous situations." I often demonstrate to the children in class that no matter how good their skills are and no matter how confident they are in them, they are not a match for an adults strength. Having said that, I also teach them simple skills that are not based on muscle power that might help them get away. The most important lessons I teach are awareness and an understanding of how and when to get away. I also teach my adults that in a life threatening situation, if tey go punch for punch with a street fighter they will lose, even if they have a higher level Black Belt. Our defense skills are trained to protect us quickly and get away before it becomes a fight and a match of strength.
STB November 16, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Thanks, Gary. yes, i just read your article again and i missed that on the first go around. we need to get our kids into martial arts classes.
Gary Stevens November 16, 2012 at 10:34 PM
STB. I'd love to have you and your family in our school. Right now, we are running a $99 one month which includes a uniform. It would be a great way to see if our school is the right one for you.


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