Kids Self Defense

2019-02-22

One main reason why parents enroll their children in karate is so they can learn self-defense. While we assure parents that karate will teach their children how to defend themselves in a physical confrontation, we emphasize that self-defense encompasses so much more than knowing how to throw a punch.

We believe that self-defense takes place before, during and after a threatening encounter, and that there are multiple strategies that can help ensure a child’s safety at each stage.

Preventing an Encounter

The best method of self-defense is to avoid high risk places or situations where it may be needed by:

  • Staying in high visibility areas

  • Asking for permission before going somewhere

  • Making sure someone knows your plans

    • Where you are

    • When you’re expected to arrive/return

    • Who you’re with

If you’ve done everything you can to avoid risky places and situations, you still need to ensure that you deter any threats. Some strategies include:

  • Keeping valuables put away in public areas

  • Using the buddy system

  • Body language: appear assertive and confident

  • Awareness of your surroundings at all times

  • Trusting your gut-feeling

Encountering a Threat

If you are approached by someone who makes you feel threatened, do everything in your power to diffuse the encounter quickly, safely, and without physical contact:

  • Make non-physical contact

    • Make eye contact

    • Speak directly to the person

  • Keep your voice and body language calm and confident

  • Remember that your safety is more important than money and objects

    • If a person tries to rob you, give them what they want

  • Call for help and draw attention to yourself and your assailant

Physical Confrontation

If the threat escalates into a physical confrontation, use whatever means necessary to escape and protect yourself:

  • Focus on taking deep breaths to stay calm and call for help

  • Get away from the attacker

    • Don’t be afraid to punch and kick your attacker if you are in danger

    • Learn practical self-defense techniques

  • Once you are able, run to a safe place

  • Keep yelling, screaming and calling for help while you escape

Post-Confrontation

Seek help immediately after escaping any encounter where you felt threatened or hurt:

  • Find a trusted adult to help you and make sure the threat is over

  • Report the encounter

    • You can talk to your parents, teachers, doctors or the police

    • Seek medical attention if you are injured

  • Seek professional help if you experience anxiety, sleeplessness or changes to your mood. Remember: your mental health is just as important as your physical health 


Fear of “bad guys” can cause endless anxiety for parents and hinder a child’s independence. Teaching your child self-defense and giving them strategies to deal with threatening situations can empower them and give them greater confidence. In the end, it is this confidence and strength of character that is their greatest weapon.


Litorco Martial Arts teaches self-defense as an integral part of their Zen Karate classes. They also offer private and group classes with self-defense as an option for a lesson topic. For more information, please contact us at info@litorcomartialarts.com.