Determining Threat Levels Children & Adults



Level of Conflict and Self-Defense

The reason I am starting this thread is a parent brought this topic to us and had thier own "threat" assesment sheet for thier child. Thier child was in a fight a school and did not defend himself in fear of getting in trouble with his MA instructors due to we teach that fighting is still WRONG. (But necessary). The parent was left in a quandry and developed a "threat" assesment code for thier child. I thought this was a good idea not only for children but adults as well.

The reason I bring this up in thread is to get different ideas and thoughts from people. Please no "mighter then thou" posts.

This is an example so you can see what I am getting at.

1) Push - parry the push away
Second push parry the push away again
Third push - parry and minor strike - (let them know but dont hurt)

2) Punch or Kick - Defend the punch or kick but defend with one level down from the attack. i.e instead of striking hard with intent puch ie Deflecting hammer without the elbow to the head but the body instead...etc

2b) Full fight (subjective i know)- Defend as though life is in danger but still try to keep the retaliation one level less than the attacks, but if neccessary

3) Blunt Weapon being used against you - Full threat level and equal response needed in order to not be hurt. Hurting opponent may/be neccesary with intent. (Again subjective)

4) Gun/ Knife Life/Death scenario - Subjective to opinion from taking life to just bodily injury.

Once again the scenario above is subjective to all, everyone has opinions and feel free to share, this is not a moral question so please lets not bring those to this thread.
I am just looking for what others think of assesing threat levels for children and adults alike.

Personally I think that in any case a true MA looks to preserve life as opposed to take it and will at any opportunity in self-defense meet the attacker with a response that is less then what the attack is but appropriate to go home to his/her family.

David "C2" Gunzburg


If your talking kids here, say ages 7 to 13, it is really doubtful that such detail will stick when faced with a problem. I agree with what you are trying to do, but I think it needs to be simpler. I tell my students to always try to walk away or run away , that after talking it out fails. If on the other hand they are assaulted with no warning, I tell them to do what is necessary to get out of there. Block and run, block, throw and run, block hit, throw and run. Whatever is appropriate. I can't be more specific because I won't be there to judge the severity of the attack. I stress all the time we are not about beating on people. If you must defend yourself, do only enough to get out of there. This I feel most comfortable with, you never know when the attackers friends may show up!



Remember this is not me talking here, this was brought to our staff by a parent .
We always teach that running from a confrontation or fight is the best thing to do. We were looking at an extreme situation here.
I was just looking at other ideas of this concept and what other thought.
We do not teach "justified attacks" Kenpo is dangerous enough in the hands of an adult with a bad attitude much less a child with a case of the grumps and calls it "justifiable". Honest human beings is what we like to produce, not new local town bullies.

David "C2" Gunzburg


MTS Alumni
Aug 13, 2002
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East Texas
The only thing I think about it is that each scenario can be so extremely different than a previous, that it is hard to have a set "threat level" code. But it is a very good idea, and probably works quite well with children or young adults.



Master Black Belt
Feb 1, 2002
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rhus, Denmark
I think it's a great idea, and come to think about it, that's the way you should build up the techniques / belts for children. Because the more serious the attack, more consequenses have to be taken into consideration, and the greater MA you have to be. Also the techniques become more difficult as the situation gets more complex.

This would give you the chance of building up the person in natural steps floowing the different conflict levels.

Great idea!


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