We get this one a lot. Why won’t my child speak up or even fight back. My real belief is that in order to speak up or fight back one has to believe they have the skills to fight back, if it comes to that. This is something that is very hard to fake. Confidence comes from being good at something.  I will have confidence at baseball if I am good at it. Same goes for other sports. So when it comes to Self Defense a child is not going to try to defend them self if they don’t believe they can. We work on a lot of skills in class. Forms, kicking techniques, punching techniques, self-defense techniques, and also strength training. We give them the tools needed. We also teach sparring and weapons. In order for a child to fight back they need to know that they have the skills to do that. And even if they are a black belt but never got out there and practiced against someone not letting them do it to them. They will know they don’t have the skills to fight back. It’s like going to a swimming class and practicing on the floor and never getting in the water. You may learn the technique but you never did it in real time. Sparring at our school is very important for self-defense. It teaches you a couple of things Distance, Timing, How to get hit, and what to do if your first technique don’t work. No one ever gets hurt. But you need to fail a lot and keep trying to make your techniques work before you will have success at it. And this is where the confidence comes in. If I go to sparring class for let’s say 3 months and every time I try to hit my partner with a front kick it gets blocked or moves out of the way I am not failing. As long as I don’t give up because as long as I keep practicing and trying eventually I’m going to make that technique work. One of our older students the other night was having trouble for a couple of weeks making a takedown work. He was practicing against an older student. Every time he tried it he got countered. I took him aside gave him a couple of tips and less than 2 minutes later he was able to take down his partner. They both got up and hugged each other. And at that moment confidence was gained. Learning to defend yourself takes a lot of hard work. It takes a couple of days a week of sweating and training to make this happen. It won’t happen in one class or even a couple of weeks. I believe that self-defense is a choice. Whether it's speaking up for what you believe in, telling the bully to leave you alone, or if it gets physical actually fighting back you need to know you have the skills to do so. You may have a different belief and that is ok, but after 25 years of teaching this is what I have seen from my students. Learning martial arts will not make you want to fight. Actually learning makes you not want to fight because you realize what you can do to someone. But this is the confidence and Body language that someone walks around with when they are trained. Nobody is going to pick on of want to beat up someone with that body language. They will be able to sense that they know how to handle themselves. “The bully (of person who assaults you) does not have an alternate plan but they do have an alternate victim. Meaning that if you fight back or they think you will fight back they are going to go find someone else.

I hope that my students never need to defend themselves. But I do believe it’s better to have the knowledge and not the need, Then to have the need and not the knowledge (Skills).