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    Martial Arts Moves Keep Kids Safe (Arizona Parenting Magazine)

    By Chris Marek – September, 2004

    “You’re not my Dad!” screams a 6-year-old boy during his marital arts class. His instructor urges the boy to role-play with him as he grabs the boy’s arm and prods him to scream louder and louder the words, “You’re not my Dad!”

    This effective self-defense technique helps children protect themselves against an unwanted attack or abduction. Although shouting key phrases is a tool practiced in many martial arts classes, it isn’t a standard martial arts technique and didn’t originate from martial arts. Yet self-defense tools, such as these, are being taught in the matted grounds of karate schools across the Valley.

    Michael Armstrong, owner of the Arizona Personal Protection Academy, a Kyokushin Karate School in Paradise Valley, says the focus on escape techniques has increased because instructors realize that realistically a child would have a difficult time fighting back an adult attacker.

    “Our specialized personal protection programs for children, called Know n’ Go, emphasize escape as your greatest tool,” says Armstrong. “Children are being instructed to be more aware, escape and run away, avoid dangerous situations, use intuition and create more attention to themselves by yelling key words such as ‘stop’ and ‘fire.’ All these self-defense tools have proven to be effective without a child swinging one karate chop.”

    Armstrong incorporates these self-defense tools in his children’s martial arts classes as a part of their karate lesson for the day. “This year I found out what a difference these lessons can make in a child’s life,” says Armstrong. “One of my students, 10-year-old Susan Dearing*, was approached by a man while riding her bike. Susan kicked the man enough to get out of his reach and then raced home as he chased her. Luckily, Susan was not abducted and had the knowledge to escape.”


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