What does self-defense look like for a 3-year-old child?

Is it the punches? The kicks? The ability to free themselves from a grab?

These are all fun and part of what we teach, but they aren’t the core of self-defense.

At 3 years old, children’s motor skills aren’t developed enough to learn complex techniques and reliably apply them in situations like bullying. They also may not understand when and how to use these skills appropriately.

The strongest attribute for self-defense at their age is… confidence.

Without confidence, they won’t stand up to a bully. Without confidence, they are more likely to be targeted. Without confidence, they won’t be able to use any “martial arts skills.”

This is why we put such a strong emphasis on confidence, focus, patience, and respect. These are all “weapons” for self-defense.

Full disclaimer: It’s the same for someone who is 10, 20, 30, or 40 years old.

Think about it: if you need to use physical skills to defend yourself, you’ve already failed. You failed to see the threat coming, to avoid making yourself a target, to deescalate the situation, or to escape from it. Now, you’re dealing with a situation that’s not fully in your control.

That’s not self-defense; that’s handling a “when things go wrong” scenario.

And if you never have to fight a single time in your life, you’ll still have gained life skills (confidence, focus, respect) that will enrich your life immeasurably.

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