Building Confidence With Martial Arts
People often ask me how and why I got involved in the martial arts. The obvious answer is that my father wanted to pass down his knowledge and skill sets to me and my brother so that his legacy would continue once he was no longer here on earth. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that I was bullied as a child. It started with teasing and name calling in the first grade then graduated to pushing and shoving towards the middle of second grade.
I didn’t realize it at the time but my martial arts training would help me deal with the bullies on my own terms turning a bad experience into a positive one. Besides the physical benefits, learning self-defense skills gave me back the confidence I was lacking due to all the bullying. The bullying only lasted a little over two years but it felt like an eternity. For those parents that don’t know or are new to our school, Shin’s Family Martial Arts Center offers an anti-abduction, anti-bullying program called Safeguard.
What is Safeguard? Safeguard is without a doubt the most important program we offer at Shin’s. The curriculum is based on two things – common sense and applied knowledge. We teach our students practical ways to deal with bullies from simply walking away, talking to the bullies, finding an adult or if necessary, fighting back.
In Safeguard, fighting back doesn’t necessarily have to mean using punches or kicks to defend yourself (although sometimes it does). It can also mean fighting back with words and if necessary deflecting a bully’s punch and wrestling the bully to the ground, pinning the bully’s arms down and looking that bully straight in the eyes and saying, “DON’T EVER TOUCH ME AGAIN.” That is also “fighting back” and perhaps the most effective kind. These are just a few of the common sense techniques we instill in our students who participate in our Safeguard program.
However, when the situation involves an attack from a child predator our students are trained to do one thing and one thing only, to inflict as much damage to that person as possible whether it is a kick to the groin, a palm strike to the bridge of the nose or a punch to the throat. There is no holding back if confronted by a child predator. Our students that participate in Safeguard know that if they are ever attacked by a stranger they are to bite, scratch, poke, tear and do whatever it takes for that child predator to let go of them.
According to the FBI, once a child is driven away in an automobile the chances of that child coming back home alive are very small. With that in mind, we teach our students that knowledge IS NOT power but instead applied knowledge is power. In order to train against a potential attack from a child predator, students in our Safeguard Program learn how to apply all of the techniques taught in class through live drills meaning they are allowed to make contact with one another or the instructors (in a controlled environment of course). This type of “stress” training is utilized by law enforcement and military around the world because it teaches a person to “act” rather than “react.”
By instilling these simple and effective skill sets in each of our students, not only do they feel empowered but more importantly they will have the tools to deal with a bad situation should one ever occur. For more information on our Safeguard Program, stop by the front desk.
Grand Master Shin