Introducing children to self-defense
(TULSA, Okla.) When you think of “martial arts” your mind might picture a Bruce Lee film or hand-to-hand skills that military or police use in practice. We sat down with a police officer who owns and operates Relentless Martial Arts, a business in Tulsa, Okla. RMA provides instruction in different types of martial arts, and classes start for kids as young as six years old. RMA is dedicated to “helping good people become better.”
Owner and professional instructor of RMA, Brandon Bennett, says that his instruction of children in martial arts instills skills that will infiltrate every facet of their lives as they grow into adults.
“It helps teach control under duress, so especially if a kid has to do any sort of sparring or physical skills where they can lose,” he says.
Children who take martial arts classes learn to deal with stress. Bennett says that it is a different type of stress, and it acts differently physiologically. Learning to cope with that stress during training becomes an aid in a more realistic life situation.
Bennett says that former students thank him all the time for training them.
“Most of our students don’t get into life-or-death situations.” He says that some foresee potentially dangerous situations and prevent them from happening due to their training. “We teach how to mitigate it to keep it from happening,” Bennett says.
“I did have one (adult) student, and a guy tried to rob him at knife point. He actually disarmed the guy and hit him.” In that situation, the student kicked the knife underneath the car and called police. Bennett says that he’s also had a number of police officers thank him for the training that they say helped saved their life.
When it comes to teaching children, Bennett teaches them to defend themselves against the types of threats they might actually face in real life.
In the YouTube video, 3 Things to Teach Your Children, Bennett teaches skill sets how kids can defend themselves against dangerous situations, including child abductions.
“We want to present in a way that’s not going to panic them because we want them to be independent, but it’s going to prepare them for what really happens,” he says.
Bennett goes on to list three rules:
1) Strangers are people that act strange.
“Let’s get away from the whole idea of strangers are people you don’t know, and let’s put in them that strangers are people that act strange,” he says.
“I talk to kids about this kind of thing all the time. I ask them what a stranger looks like,” he says.
Bennett says that a stranger isn’t necessarily someone wearing all black with a mask over his face who breaks into your house.
“Sometimes these people who prey on children don’t look scary,” he says.
2) Adults don’t ask kids for help.
“That helps defeat all the rouses of ‘hey, can you help me find my dog?’ or ‘hey, you look just like my son.’ or ‘you look like a boy my son would want to play with; can I take picture of you?’”
Furthermore, adults don’t need to ask kids for directions or to help find their dog or to borrow their cell phone.
3) Adults shouldn’t ask kids to keep secrets.
“I can think of no good occasion when it’s all right for someone that is not a member of your immediate family to tell your child to keep a secret from you,” he says.
Bennett says that secrets are different from a surprise, and it’s important to explain to kids the difference and give clarification to what exactly a secret is.
He explains that if you are going to tell someone something eventually that it is classified as a surprise. “A lot of times we tell our kids, ‘hey I got this present for mommy. I got her a ring. Let’s keep this a secret.’” he said.
All of the above rules are to keep children from being victimized repeatedly.
As far as martial arts are concerned for self-defense in the safety of children, “physical skills are an easy fix, but stuff like this is harder,” he said.
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