The Student Protection Triangle (diary entry)

473-4739160_in-a-recent-discussion-with-a-fellow-colleague18.01.2023

My teaching consultancy course for Drum Kempo Ju Jutsu and Fitness focused mainly on better establishing self-protection principles and habits in young students.

The Teacher/Parent/Student Triangle is not a revolutionary tool. It’s very commonplace in education and has long been set as the most obvious way a student can get support for his or her learning needs. However, it doesn’t have a long tradition outside of compulsory education.

The martial arts world, which is the birthplace for most self-protection systems, is partly responsible for this type of behaviour. Training is often kept within a club environment and away from outsiders. Besides solo drilling, which has always been encouraged, students are not encouraged to involve non-class participants in any sort of training exercise. Soft skills, which can seem very abstract due to their non-tangible nature, are easily lost when they are not quickly applied in some form. This is where the whole lip service approach to personal security has its basis.

A big part of teaching a child or any student independence and autonomy is to teach them to be teachers. This is a separate topic, perhaps one I go over in a future lesson, but it has relevance here. Children need to be talking about soft skills and demonstrating it in the real world. This is best done by actively engaging parents and testing the material with them.

I learnt from some of my earliest days teaching CCMA that if children were going to have any hope of applying the self-protection lessons being taught in class they were going to need parental support. Part of this came from my concerns regarding the teaching realistic self-defence and personal security. A large part of pragmatic self-protection can be shocking to the average citizen. Parents really need to know the context of the content of what is being taught. My classes had teams of designated parents who watched my lessons under the explicit purpose that they were present to offer support and to take on board what was being taught to their children. They also had opportunities to ask questions, voice concerns or hold discussions with me. It was vital for me that the parents weren’t just being supportive of their children but also of the lesson content.

They also need to be at home helping their children develop the personal security skills being taught in class. My book, “When Parents Aren’t Around”, encourages parents to help children become more independent and switched-on to their environment. Walks, car journeys and visits to shops can be learning experiences where what has been taught in a lesson is being directly applied in real life. These particular lessons need to be spelled out in class and to the parents as part of the “home work”. Self-protection is an outlook on life rather than a straight solution to a problem. Only parents can really make this work.

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