Bullyproof For Kids: A Mom's Perspective
My children are young Krav Maga practitioners. I am not a “Karate Mom”.
And by that I mean no offense to the mom’s whose kids enjoy the martial arts. I absolutely adore martial arts and am committed to its promotion and flourishing. The self discipline and level of fitness it instills is admirable and I am a firm supporter of F.I.M.A the Federation of Israeli Martial Arts an altruist Federation designed to streamline quality and consistency in the arts.
But Krav Maga is different.
As the sole parent of two young children I need to know that they are capable of defending themselves in situations which call for it. That the loves of my life can verbalize their boundaries with strength and walk confidently throughout their days is important to me. I tell people, women and children especially, with great regularity that Krav Maga is unlike other martial arts in the fact that it’s sole purpose is to teach survival skills in the event of a personal attack. It’s gritty, stress tested and not sugar coated in any way. I am uncompromising in making sure my children can take care of themselves.
In Shaan Saar’s Bullyproof classes we train for realistic situations that children are most likely to encounter on a day to day basis, as well as worst case scenarios. The concepts and techniques in class are designed and tested to work against an attacker who is bigger and stronger. This is important to me, and gives me some comfort in a world where their father was taken from them way too early.
To me safety is everything.
I have personally lived through both non-violent and violent assault and am determined that if my children encounter this they will not freeze the way I did. They will know how to handle themselves with a skill level they have drilled on a regular basis. Sure, we have fun, I’m not a militant mom by any stretch of the imagination and I think of myself as a fun parent. We enjoy horseback riding and parkour too, but Self Defense, Krav Maga, in particular is a non-negotiable activity. It’s balance. To me Krav Maga is like academic tutoring, a priority, so we work in other activities around it.
And it’s been helpful. Because we cannot always insulate our children, mine are no exception. They themselves have experienced bullying at a very young age. All children must learn to verbalize and draw boundaries with people. Our teen program is one of our most popular, unfortunately, because bullying and physical attacks happen on a regular basis in many Middle and High Schools across the country. We’ve trained students who have seen it first hand. As Kravists our end game is to end violent situations, within seconds and we work to make absolute certain our students are capable of doing this. It is our responsibility to make sure they don’t move on to the next level until they can demonstrate a level of skill that will help keep them safe. No matter how much a parent (or child) may want to see that belt change color, safety is more important.
Our responsibility to the families we work with is tremendous. Making sure each of the children or teens in our programs understands neurobiology of a bully, can respectfully assert themselves in social situations and knows when and how to use verbalization versus self defense skills appropriately and effectively is top priority. The quality of that programming and making certain we continue our own education in child development, neurobiology and self defense make sure we can offer the absolute best. I see my own children in the eyes of everyone of our young students, at varying stages of life, and for each of them our mission is uncompromising.
While we cannot be there in every scenario, we can instill them with technique and skill that will last a lifetime.