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tubbydrawers's picture
Training for self defence


not too sure if this has been discussed on here, I cant seem to find a search button!!!!

anyway, i have some younger students, about 8-14 years old, that I would like to start teaching some basic self defence issues. ie the running away, not getting into trouble, watching out for bad people, talking their way out of trouble.

the problem I have is that though I had a few issues when I was 18 or so, getting out of pub fights, running away myself etc and only having 2 or 3 fights in my life, I dont know how to go about teaching the above issues to the students. i know they have to relate this to school yard bullying or strangers taking them off the streets.

I have looked at things on the internet and have actually bought some usefull books. ie Kane & Wilder Little Black Book of Violence and I have been thinking of doing Iain's long distance course on self protection. Also there is a local systema group who are doing a Multiple Attackers Seminar at the weekend that I was thinking of going to.

Is there anything else that could benefit me in this subject???



JWT's picture


Whereabouts in the UK are you?

I'd suggest Gavin De Becker's Protecting the Gift as an appropriate introduction into the type of material you need for the all important mental aspect of your class.


A large amount of what you teach will come down to the size and age spread within the group.  The group range you've given is awkward since it includes both pubescent and prepubescent children, and quite frankly there is a big difference with each as to how much information you can/should provide, how much they can understand, and what they can physically do in training.

tubbydrawers's picture

hello JWT

I am actually in Melbourne, Australia. I used to live in warrington in the Uk but moved out here 5 years ago.

I am in the shotokan style but looking to learn/branch out into other aspects of the martial arts. i know what you mean by the age of the students as some of them look bored or ask really weird things when i am talking about self protection!!!

i do teach some adults everynow and again when one of my instructors is away and I wanted to try some things out on them too as the feeling I get from some of them is that they would freeze in a situation and there training/mental attitude would let them down.

hope that makes sense


lcpljones_dontpanic's picture


first off i would very highly recommend that you check out Jamie Clubb's Clubb Chimera website at http://www.clubbchimera.com/

Jamie is a friend i beleive of Iain's and i also beleive he is a member of this site too. he has written some excellent work on teaching children self protection so i would suggest this be your starting point.

re the systema class, this is a good practical fighting system but is designed for use by Russian military forces and hence i dont think applicable to children.

i would tend to agree with JWT that the age spread of the group you mentioned is too wide i would give strong consideration to splitting the group say for instance 8-12 & 13-18yrs. lastly it may also pay to speak to some local school heads to determine;

a) their policy on school yard fighting and bullying as this may impact on what you teach

b) if they are teaching anything that may be able to support what you are delivering.

you never know this may turn into something bigger that you could start delivering in the local schools, see my post on the 'Modern day Itosu letter to schools?' thread on this site dated 19 Apr 2011 this is related to the Contender AmBox programme being rolled out to schools and youth clubs across Britain. the 'Contender Ambox' is a pilot scheme run by the Met in conjunction with the ABAE which uses the sport of amateur boxing to teach young people about issues, including health, fitness, bullying and personal safety. message me privately if you want more info.

i aslo teach Shotokan to our kids class and we are lucky in that we have two assistant instructors for the kids classes one of whom is a school teacher and another a police officer.

good luck mate

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

lcpljones_dontpanic wrote:
Jamie is a friend I believe of Iain's and I also believe he is a member of this site too. He has written some excellent work on teaching children self protection so I would suggest this be your starting point.

I’ll second that. Jamie is one of the leaders when it comes to self-defence for children and I don’t know anyone who has thought about the issue in as much depth as Jamie has. A set of his articles on self-protection for children can be found on this site and are well worth reading:




All the best,


JWT's picture

I've uploaded a new article on Reality Base Self Defence Scenario Training onto the Practical Karate website:


Hope that's of use to you.  

I specialise in `self Protection for Teenagers, so if you've got any questions please pm me.


Andrew Carr-Locke
Andrew Carr-Locke's picture

I'd look out for these guys- the training is great and simple.