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Personal Defense and Children

by George Wehby   |  July 1st, 2011 18

There is a very vocal and select group of people who feel the mention of guns, weapons or even matters of personal-defense around a child is equivalent to child abuse.  I personally raise my three daughters to respect and honor the use of firearms and ingrain the obligation of personal defense as a mindset.  All of my children (minus my son, who is 2 years old) have a good understanding of safe gun handling and could easily use a firearm in a life threatening situation, not to mention go hands on, if assaulted by a person relative to their size.

youth jiujitsu I refuse to let my children grow up in a society that encourages victimhood; therefore to combat that, all my children train in multiple aspects of personal defense. It is my suggestion, if you do not already, teach and/or find an instructor who can teach your children real life personal-defense.  (This also applies to firearms, if you are not much of an instructor or want someone more qualified.)

Unfortunately, most places that teach children are nothing more than an expensive day-care, where they punch and kick things.  If they are not provided a way to test their developing skills with true resistance, they may be developing a false sense of confidence while earning that new colored belt.

It is hard not to get lost when looking for training with all the places around today. But there is one key component to real quality skill development and that is sparring. Look for a place that provides a good safe sparring outlet.  If done the right way, sparring is a way for your child to test, refine and develop serious skills that can be trusted under stress.

I pray that my children never have to defend themselves, but if the circumstance should ever arise, I know that they will have some good training to fall back on.  At least they will have the choice, unlike those poor children without a personal defense mindset who are doomed for victimhood.

George Wehby

About George Wehby

Wehby's personal defense experience includes US Marine Corps Infantry, White House NCO, Presidential Marine Sentry, decorated street police officer in Prince Georges County, MD, US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Air Marshall and professional firearms trainer for Triple Canopy specializing in handguns and concealment. His experience also includes more than 25 years in Martial Arts and is currently a Mixed Martial Arts Instructor. He is a Black Belt Instructor of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (under Tony Passos), Black Belt in Nisei Kito Ryu Jiu-jitsu (under Sergio Decasien) and also a Black Belt in Goju Karate (under Bob Roach).

  • Troy II

    Comment moderation is enabled (translation) means CENSORSHIP.

  • Troy II

    After pigs discovered the best martial arts they then told everyone. Now, our enemies are using that type of martial arts. It won't be long until criminals or gang bangers spend their days sparring with each other. Recently some street thiefs were reported to be using pepper spray.

    People, police are becoming our worst enemy.

    • George Wehby

      So let me get this straight, you only want the police to know how to defend themselves? Well that sounds tyrannical to me. Even if the police were the only ones with tools, the knowledge and did the right thing, we would still be at the mercy of the criminal since police cannot be everywhere. Use logic my friend. It seperates us from the animals.

  • http://gunner777.wordpress.com P White

    Police are our worst enemy huh. Well after 28 years I don't feel like an enemy—protector yes!

    As far as the article both my son and daughter were trained in martial arts at an early age as well as training by me. My background is martial arts as well. I surely didn't teach them the "get your next belt" Karate. Yes it's violent but I felt better and so did they when they knew they could protect themselves.

    I'm a firearms instructor as well and they both knew how to handle a gun at a reasonable age.

  • Bruce Redding

    Our own US Supreme Court has ruled that the police are not legally obligated to protect you as an individual. You are on your own. Even if they were obligated to protect you would you expect them to be within ear shot at every moment. I agree completely with the authors opinion that it is up to us as parents to make sure that are children have the ability to protect themselves. The most important thing to teach them is how to recognize a potentially bad situation and if possible remove themselves from it prior to trouble. If that fails they need the means to defend themselves.

  • Carl Wilkey

    Troy II,

    Why don't you go see if your Mom has dinner ready? That way you can get some sunlight as you have been down in her basement too long.

    This article was well written and has some valuable information if you care to take notice.

  • http://rjkemper@att.net R Kemper

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away! Don't become a victim. Learn to protect yourself and your family.

  • Yuriy

    Well, since police doesn't have to protect you, nor responsible for anything happening to you, there is not much of a choice there. Your protection is your duty.

    As far as training kids – it is impossible to really teach your kids without help. They need to spar, and the more different partners they have, the better. And different means everything – size, style of fighting, gender, etc. Kids will be fine sparring with their Dad, but will be intimidated by weaker opponent, but who is a stranger to them. Aside from that, kids need to understand the limits of self defense, knowing what porportional response is.

    If what kids think of there "defensability" is different from what it actually is, instead of "choice" it will become a trap, that will get them hurt.

  • The Raj

    I think a youth Krav Maga clinic would be a great idea. Unfortunately, if your kid ever gets taken to court, they will make it look like your trained him to be an assassin. Still, better to be tried by twleve than carried by six.

  • A Harrison

    Since I have been a sparring instructor at my dojo for several years, you can imagine I was quite pleased to see this article and agree 100% with what is being said. I think the most important aspect is choosing the right school for your needs, and this may mean trying out different schools a few months at a time. Be very careful when signing your children up for "sparring class," because many schools focus on tournament sparring, which is nothing more than a glorified game of tag. Be sure to find an academy that teaches what we call "defensive sparring," which is more akin to combat training from the perspective of personal defense and escape. Knowing this key component is the difference between learning how to truly defend oneself when getting down and dirty, or just wasting your money each month learning how to play tag. As a side note, mixed martial arts schools may also fulfill this defensive goal, but keep in mind they are going to teach the mindset of competitive fighting, not things such as situational awareness, combating multiple attackers, etc.

  • Grunt475

    That's right, Troy- and gang bangers have been infiltrating the military for quite awhile in order to gain combat training/experience. I am both military and LEO and have been a small arms instructor since the late '90s. We should always prepare/train ourselves and our families as if they will be facing a real adversary- not the crooks from the "Apple Dumpling Gang". By the way- perps armed with pepper spray? I hope they all resort to that! The consequences are much less than getting shot or cut/stabbed- and there would definitely be the articulable facts needed to use deadly force if sprayed in the face. It is tough to fight through, but as many of us know, not impossible. Hesitation to shoot would be the only problem that may arise. But what are they going to do- spray me again? I have severe reactions to OC spray, so much that my vision is still blurry up to 48 hours later- but it can't stop me, and is all the more reason why I must train harder than my enemy.

  • steve vandiver

    Way back when I was a kiddo, boys learned how to box. That is a serious martial art.

  • Sam

    One form of martial arts that will help kids out is wrestling. It is relatively safe because most of the dangerous moves have been banned and taken out but will teach them about the right mentality to have and will get them into shape. Also, it will teach them about positioning and how to use their body in a fight. Then when they put the dangerous moves back in with a little bit of boxing added in, it becomes a very effective fighting style that will usually beat most other martial arts forms.

    • Phil

      I am a 7th degree black sash in Kung fu, currently train and teach MMA as a sport tried golden glove boxers, full contact kick boxers, countless point fighter, also trained law enforcement, women, men nd children, owned 2 schools at one time with over 450 students and it was one of the top school in the city of Chicago. I can say the most important thing about training to defend your elf is not the physical aspect martial art but he mental awareness, he toughness to follow through and bing completely accountable to you own action( it take very little force to harm another person when you know how, ie finger THROUGH the eye). The ability to mentally drive through a situation is what separate a trained person and a victim. Picking a particular
      Ar art is almost secondary.

  • mark b

    I agree with most here but would like to stress a bit more on the word DEFENSE. not only is the physical training a must but lets not forget what I consider the most important , the proper mental attitude on the situation. Ingraining into your children when this skill should be used and only using it until you are able to get a safe exit for yourself. Its not fighting its not bullying like many of the media will try to get you to believe. Its personal protection the mindset should be taught at home along with proper morals and ethics. If more children were taught how to protect themselves along with how to evade and escape we might have had less tragedy at columbine or west virginia ar any of the other numerous "active shooter" stories that fill our T.V. screens . In defense I consider hand to hand or pulling a fire arm to be the worst case scenario , A last resort, your personal defense takes place 247 its a mindset first.

  • jeff

    George, your right on. great article. My son 5 years old is now coloring up in TKD and is using the self defense well. He learns respect, disipline and he gets physical fitness. He sparrs 1 time a week and it is full contact. Now he is ranked and going out of town to a tourney. I have never been so proud. Self defense and martial arts are hardly child abuse. Dont even get me started with the bullying issue. These little kids stop bullys in their tracks and they protect the smaller and weaker ones. With great power comes even greater responsibility. I just hope this will help him with his moral compass later in life as well.

  • Docpro

    As an educator and healthcare provider I have always had strong objections to the little minded people who view ignorance as a form of protection from reality. Sticking your head in the ground just makes it easier to chop it off. I think parents need to at least teach their children about the appropriate use of force. They need to learn both self defense and self restraint. They need to learn to respect the rights of others and care for themselves in an unfair and dangerous world.

  • opar5

    Those emphasizing attitude know of what they speak. The wrong attitude can project a “victim profile:” easy prey – the proper attitude, especially when based on personal competence and confidence, generally deters predators looking for prey.

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