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Add self defense classes to public schools

March 16, 2010

self defense foot breaking boardAs the San Diego area continues to grieve the murders of Chelsea King and Amber DuBois, interest in self defense has peaked.

News reports indicate that people are joining martial arts schools and  flocking to free self defense seminars. Let’s hope the interest remains when the shock and pain of these tragedies begin to subside. Because that’s when the community will be most vulnerable.

Communities often react to violent crime with an intense  interest in personal safety.  Self defense class enrollment spikes, weapon sales go up,  watchdog groups sprout on every corner. It’s a reasonable and smart reaction to feeling vulnerable and afraid.

But one year from now, two years from now, when the pain and sadness have faded for all but the victims’ family and friends, that heavy feeling of vulnerability will begin to evaporate. Personal protection and self defense will no longer seem as relevant as it is today in the wake of a tragedy.

It’s a natural process and probably a healthy one. It allows the community to move forward. Yet it also leads back to the status quo, and the status quo among too many of us is a lack of diligence when it comes to personal safety. (I addressed this issue earlier in Chelsea King’s final 5 lessons for us all.)

We need to make personal safety a more permanent aspect of our lives.  Self defense classes deserve a slot in the public school curriculum. Schools should bring in a self defense instructor once a year for a week or two of self defense training, including awareness, avoidance and self defense techniques. Make it part of the annual curriculum, and adjust the classes to fit different age groups.

A civil attorney from the San Diego area has proposed the idea in a column for SignOn San Diego. She has argued the case much more eloquently than I can, so I encourage you to check out her post, Self-Defense Curriculum Needed.

As tragic as it is to lose two teens to violent crime, the bigger tragedy is that it will happen again.  We need to prepare children and teens for the worst, even as we pray for the best.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2010 6:29 pm

    I think self-defense training is a great idea as long as it covers proper use of force for a given situation and covers techniques on how to fend off bloows and move in and immobilize an attacker without causing major damage to him/her, since most fights are between same-aged teens. Showing kids how to use force is fine as long as they know how to mediate it.

    • Jimmy B. permalink*
      April 24, 2010 9:54 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. Like the spirit of your comment. We can’t have children damaging each other on the playground when most of those conflicts are harmless anyway. The younger kids really need two sets of techniques. One for discouraging the average schoolyard bully and the other for escaping an abduction attempt. The school yard bully techniques have to be tempered, and the abduction techniques have to be as fierce as can be. At the place where I train, the kids don’t learn the damaging techniques until they’re 13 years old. Hopefully that’s old enough to know when it’s not appropriate to strike someone’s throat. You sound like law enforcement … true?

      • April 26, 2010 9:42 pm

        Hi, again. I’m not IN law enforcement but I’m a civilian police defensive tactics trainer. My training partner is a police officer, SWAT team member and DT trainer for both police and SWAT. We do business under Check out our site. I’m the old guy. Our site has been under construction and should be up and running with all the info soon. So what kind of techniques do you show teens for protection but not much damage? I have a program that I developed for teens and would be willing to share what do with you if you’re interested. Take care, and thanks for responding.


  1. High school self defense class for girls … a very smart move « Fight-Back Files
  2. State committee votes to require self defense in schools « Fight-Back Files

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