Expanding Self-Protection for Young People (diary entry)


Tuesday night continued my teacher training lessons with a consultation on how to expand the children’s self-protection programme. The topics were as follows:


The Use of Bad Language


In line with discussions prompted on my last “When Parents Aren’t Around Webinar”, we talked about the relevance of handling bad language when training children and teenagers. The big issue is that bad language is part and parcel of violence. Predators typically weaponise swearing at their victims in order to disarm them. They also use it to dehumanise their targets. In cooperation with parents, we need to establish the context and need to allow children to be prepared to deal for this part of an assault if we are going to honest about delivering realistic self-protection.


Producing Open Minds


The welding of philosophy with martial arts is a dangerous practice. Especially during peacetimes, teachers have imparted their own spiritual beliefs and philosophies into their martial arts lessons for many reasons. Self-protection should be even less philosophical, at least from a position of dogma. Self-protection, loosely speaking, is modernist in its approach, but that only goes as far as keeping techniques down to a minimum and emphasising concepts. However, this minimalistic approach should have its own limitations and not be seen as the base philosophy, rather a simple guide not too over-complicate a counter-assault. We want students to expand upon their experiences by cross-training and doing their own research. They are reaching a stage of independence in this particular course where they should be thinking like teachers.  There are problems when well-meaning motivation can get out of hand and complex psychological issues can be overlooked or potentially worsened by teachers who are over-reaching their remit in making their students safer from the threat of interpersonal violence.


Protecting Others


Part of the final stages of a basic self-protection course should involve some hard skills work on body-guarding, dealing with multiple attackers, dealing with mobs, handling friendly restraint, scaling down hard skills appropriately and fighting alongside an ally. My client raised a concern regarding over-stepping boundaries into vigilantism. This was regards to training to protect others. In self-protection, everything is a judgement call. There are no right or wrong answers, only advice on methods that have a high success rate for the largest number of people. Therefore, if you choose to protect others there are certain methods that have stood up to scrutiny and can be tested effectively. We also should look into proactive measures to improve our local communities, making them safer places. This is more in the form of support groups, neighbourhood watch schemes and working with education initiatives to counter the causes of violent crime.


Addressing Domestic Self-Protection

Domestic abuse is a huge part of interpersonal violence. Asocial in nature, it typically involves members of the household illegally exerting dominance and control over others. Yet the subject is not an easy one to address and is often overshadowed by training directed towards dealing with alpha male/female situations or assaults from strangers. What makes this difficult is typically the person who needs the training is already in the situation and is unlikely to access it properly. Therefore, much of the training has to be directed towards training potential allies (in line with the previous discussion topic) and also pre-emption measures should someone face an abusive domestic situation. This area needs a lot more work and discussion time.



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