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Recently I was reading one of the gun magazines and there was an article on self-defense techniques for kids. In the article there was a set of progression pictures showing a kid around 9 or so defending against his much larger older teenage brother. The pictures looked like an old Ju Jitsu text with lots of wrist grabbing and sidestepping. The last picture showed the victim with the attacker’s arms crossed in front of him and suggested that he was now in a position to through his attacker.

It is one thing when information is passed onto to adults that may be should be able to make intelligent decisions on their own, but when it comes to kids I have to throw the BS flag on the field. As Judo player myself and having two kids with a Judo background, I know that it takes it can take a few weeks to teach even the brightest kid to throw another kid his size, much less an adult.

My son was about seven and had been taking Judo for about a year when one day he informed me that if someone tried to grab him he would just use Judo. Needless to say we had a long talk.

Kids are much smarter than we give them credit for. In my experience as a father and teaching kids I think around four is a good time to start working with them on physical skills. My favorite to teach the little ones is the art of biting. In my opinion it is the only thing a little kid has against and adult. It is both natural and intuitive. Here is how to do it-

Get a bath towel and wrap it around your arm, secure both ends with duct tape.

Pull on the child and instruct them to pull a bit before turning into you biting your forearm. Even through the towel it will hurt you, you can use a thicker towel. The good thing is that this will give both you and the child confidence in the defense. As you yell or let go encourage them to run away.

The little girl in the picture is my seven-year-old Emilie, she is special needs and on a four year old level. She was able to comprehend the drill and follow directions within a few minutes allowing us to take the pictures.

Let them know to bite all targets of opportunity as hard as they can to get away. I don’t want to teach my kids to “fight” an attacker. I want them to know how to fight and get away as fast as possible like a cat fights when it does not want to be picked up.

Depending on the child I have found that around 7-8 you can start teaching strikes and kicks as well as improvised weapons like pens and pencils. Don’t teach them anything that encourages them to hold onto their attacker. The idea is to use massive pain as a tool to escape.
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