In season 7 of The Best Defense, we included an episode that we’ve wanted to do for a long time–one that addresses self-defense for children. If you are a parent, you know that you would do anything to keep your child safe. With that goal in mind, two of the simplest and most powerful things you can do are to: 1) talk to your child about the realities of crime, violence, and sexual predators so he or she understands and accepts the fact that the threat is real, and 2) teach your child to fight back.
In The Best Defense, Mike Seeklander did a great job of explaining point 1 and what you need to do to talk to your child. Watch that information and apply it with your children.
With regard to the second point, I am a big believer in teaching kids practical kicks as primary self-defense weapons. Because adults are larger and stronger than children, children need to focus on using their “big guns.” Legs are stronger and longer than arms, so they give kids a very good fighting chance against an adult–especially if the kicks target the adult’s shins and ankles. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t see, can’t breathe, and can’t walk, you can’t fight.” Powerful, direct low-line kicks are a great approach to achieving the “can’t walk” effect. They are also easily learned because they are a natural extension of sports activities familiar to every kid–like soccer and kickball. Best of all, they don’t have to “finish” the fight; they just have to cause enough pain and damage to create an opportunity for escape.
With all that said, low-line kicks are by no means only for kids. Disparity of size and strength is a challenge that everyone needs to be concerned about in self-defense. If you are of smaller stature or simply end up being targeted by a larger attacker, your strikes to the head, body, and groin may not do the job. Vicious low-line kicks to the shins, knees, and ankles–especially when delivered with footwear chosen specifically for its “weaponized” properties–can be a much better choice.
For these reasons, my approach to unarmed self-defense, Damithurt Silat (“damn, it hurts a lot”) focuses a lot on low-line kicks, foot traps, and leg destructions. If you’re interested in learning more about my “take” on this topic, here’s an excerpt from Practical Unarmed Combatives Volume 3, which focuses on it exclusively.
No matter what size or age you are, you owe it to yourself to make practical kicking skills part of your personal-defense skill set.