Explaining the Child Fence for Self-Protection (diary entry)

child facing outside world



The third lesson of my special course on self-protection for young people brought the focus onto the three elements of a conflict: pre-fight, in-fight and post-fight. We looked at the definition of self-protection, dividing into personal security and self-defence. I explained that attitude ran throughout this conflict and should be a rule for life. Being aware of one’s behaviour in everything from learning to direct action has a fundamental impact on survival in violent situations. We discussed situational awareness again, confirming that all students understood that people, places, times and hazards dictate levels of awareness in any given situation. We also went over some simple tips in everyday life to maintain a healthy state of practical awareness. Protecting one’s back whenever possible is an important strategy. We used this to describe the best side of the street, in general, to walk on and also for the basis of the first warm-up exercise. This exercise involved the students wearing tails. They tried to take each other’s and protected their own. This exercise expanded upon evasive footwork activities we trained last week. Next students donned head-guards and played a game of heads and knees. This in-fight activity promoted defending and attacking high and low lines. It is a good introduction to pressure-testing.


The bulk of the lesson focused on using the fence and improving straight strikes. We had a closer examination of the child’s fence. Children get hit with two major problems when it comes to protecting their personal space. Firstly, many haven’t fully developed a functional comprehension of distance. This is part of the problem when we teach them road safety. Secondly, they face a wider range of antagonists and many these predators will have a far longer reach. Much of the fence training revolved around them understanding where to draw their line outside of their fully-extended arm. This type of training prompts teacher and student to examine escape routes with more scrutiny. We also covered assertive verbalisation. Other issues covered included naturalising the fence as best as possible and the reason for doing this, as well as the simple fact that child culture is often a lot more tactile than the adult world. Children are more likely to breach one another’s boundaries than adults and therefore children need to be taught to recognise what is allowable for them.


The remainder of the physical side of the lesson concerned improving the straight hand strike. We worked to eliminate telegraphing and to create an interrupted flow of strikes until the target ceased to be an immediate threat and/or an exit point was reached. Reiterating the importance of protecting one’s back, we covered tactical running.


The lesson was concluded with a full revision of the soft skills topics as well as some basic exercises to perform at home.


For more information on child self-protection please read Jamie Clubb’s new e-book, “When Parents Aren’t Around: A Young Person’s Guide to Self-Protection”. When Parents Aren't Around front cover


Photograph by Charlotte Von Bulow-Quirk 2013.

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