First negative feedback on self-defense seminar for girls

Sukerkin

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It's an aside to the OP but lordy do I like that film. It's even more poignant now that Mr. Swayze is no longer with us.
 

Rich Parsons

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Georgia,

1) You got feedback
2) You reviewed the feedback
3) You replied to the feedback
4) You asked for input from others before it went out
5) You asked others in the field to provide additional feedback.

I am sorry, but that seems to be professional attitidue there. What were you thinking? ;)

When I was in the second grade everyone I knew, knew what sex was. I did not understand it, but I knew what it required of the male parts and the female parts. I turned 6 in the second grade.

Most of the local girls my age and older to a year younger were the ones wanting to play doctor and explore. I had no clue. Yet, it did not make me afraid of women or think all women would go play doctor with me if I asked.


I know this will come up so I will mention it now for those to quote and criticise. I do not have kids and to most people they reply that I should nto give an opinion on kids until I have my own. To that I say, then they should not give an opinion on politics until they run for office or on a piece of new technology until they have a degree in science or math.

I have nieces and nephews and I have taught them and cared for them. One adopted niece ( Friend's kid ) had her mother leave the state. I worreid about her. I talked to her. I helped her out the best I could, as did her dad. One day while talking to one of her friends as a teenager she stated, "Talk to my mother? Why ?!? My Uncle Rich has been more of a mother to me than my own mother." I was glad I was able to help her and I felt proud at that moment that I was able to do so in her time of need.


That being said, some people hide their kids form the world and that is ok. It is their right to raise their children that way. They just need to make sure they review and ask questions BEFORE their child does anything, versus ASSUME that everyone else will know their wishes and respond as they would like.

I agree with what you said about the "being Nice" and now being told not to be nice. To that I point to one of my niece's, as she is a nice young woman now. She also learned how to hit from me and her dad for self defense. One day a boy grabbed her butt in high school (9th grade) in the hallway, she turned and punched him in the solar plexes and the boy went down. No one at the school bothered her after that and she choose who could touch her body and who could not. Once again I thought of that as a win.

Oh yes, I know that kids are told not to repsond to violence with violence. That fighting is not allowed. Yet I wonder, if that really is the best course. Yes run away first. Yes tell an adult. But what happens when the child cannot? Sometimes a little resistance goes along way in deterring others as it attracks attention.

As I stated above, you acted professionally. You should continue to do so. If they choose per age group not to have it that is fine. The organization can choose that (* not that they have said they would , just a comment *). You cannot please everyone all the time. Impossible task. You realize that. So it will not cause you distress.

I agree with the follow up on the injury issue. If you are not told you cannot do anything, but crying is not a physical injury no matter what the parent may think. It might be an emotional reaction to the situation which as you stated, you try to coach through with their adult support team.


The only thing you could do that I could suggest is to make sure all the parents are either present so they can remove their child, or for the parents to take the class first. But we all know niether of those two options will work in the real world for implementation.

Keep asking and looking for improvements and trying to explain to people. It is all you can do.

Thanks
 

Brian King

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When getting feedback from parents during or after these type of courses it is essential in my opinion to keep in mind the perspective that the parents are viewing the training thru the lens of their own experiences and desires. As stated multiple times above thread, they wish to protect their little ones from being exposed too early to material that they find object with. The statistics of assaults against children and women are high (I admit to not knowing the latest but am making the assumption that they are still high) a instructor should keep in mind that a percentage of the parents will have direct knowledge of assaults, battery, and rape. This maybe a direct and life changing memory on their part or some repressed negativity of some non-remembered event. The goal of these type of classes should be to give children a positive means of protection and education while at the same time giving the parents who may have themselves been victimized a healthy means of coming to terms with their past and with their childs and their present situations. How this is best done depends on the instructors education, sensitivity and awareness.Negatively judging the parent or their motives for wanting to protect their child is not effective, especially without the benefit of really understanding without assumptions that motivation. Far better I think to look the feedback with grace, gratefully accept it as honest feedback, take it into account in regards to future classes and in future contact with the giver and their family, then move on. Give it the weight of thought and consideration it deserves, make any adjustments that might be needed or not, then drive on with the lessons. When interacting with the parents always consider that this work might be very intimate to a destructive time of their past. Instructors should work (before, during and after the workshops) with a attitude of gratitude that the parents and kids are entrusting this type of training and exploration to them, not with the attitude of a martyr or savior postalizing truths to save the participants.


Nice/niceness


Women approach conflict differently than men. They learn at a young age to compromise and how to get along. It is a well know tactic for rapist to show a woman a weapon and demand compliance and get it. Teaching youngsters how to stand up for themselves is important. Teaching them how to resolve conflicts is a serious long term study and worth every minute of exploration. There are many different approaches to accomplish this. Shesulsa, not many recognize that this constant reminder to be nice, the tying of that niceness into the self-esteem of little girls can lead to problems down the road. You do recognize it shesulsa. What are some of the methods you are using to alter this situation/state?


Good luck with your classes and the worthy battle
Regards
Brian King
 

stickarts

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I agree with the recommendation of just letting the parents know the course content upfront. Feedback can sometimes be difficult but it says a lot about you that you do listen to it and that you care!! Keep up the good work.
 

tshadowchaser

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The fact that you are willing to meet with the parents and leaders of the group before you hold the next session shows that you want to do the correct thing.
There have been some good ideas expressed in the posts that followed your OP, I know you will examin what you teach and the way things are expressed.
It seems to me (just on reading your post) that you realise what is happening in the community and are trying to prepare the children for such events. If a parent can not understand this then maybe they need to reexamin the world they live in. Teaching a child to be nice and not hurt anyone is a positive thing but in the reaal world we sometimes must hurt someone to protect oursleves.
I wish you luck on this and please let us know what comes out of your meeting and how the next seminar goes
 

Thesemindz

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There's only so much you can do. I had a young woman ask me to teach her some ground fighting once, and we began to cover techniques, but then she only wanted to know how to defend against someone between her legs, so I started covering guard defense, then she wanted to know what to do if that person had her hands pinned, so I started covering grab escapes, but she got upset because I was teaching her to attack the other person. This whole time I thought we were talking about karate because she hadn't given me any indication otherwise. But then she said she wanted to be able to defend against someone between her legs pinning her arms down but do it without hurting the other person. At that point we started having a different conversation and it became clear pretty quickly that she was being date raped, regularly. I tried to talk to her about how to deal with that, both from a technical karate standpoint and a more expansive personal protection standpoint, but she kept going back to not wanting to hurt her attacker. She wanted to get out of the situation without doing anything to upset the guy pinning her down and raping her. Eventually, I told her that she had to make a decision whether or not to defend herself and that nothing I could give her would do any good until she did. It was hard for me, because the first lesson I teach any of my students is that they are unique and wonderful and worth defending and that they have to accept that for themselves in order to be able to use the material I teach.

In that case, there was nothing I could do. She wasn't willing to defend herself. She wanted to be "nice." To someone who was raping her. You can't do anything about that. You can try to educate them and explain to them the reality of their situation, but ultimately it's up to them to do something about it. It seems like in your case, a few parents don't want to accept reality. That's a shame. But stack that up against all the other parents and kids you've helped and you'll see the value of what you do. Maybe you lost that parent, but how many others saw the instruction and learned the lessons and discussed it with their children and were better protected and prepared as a result? That's the gain. And even the ones who weren't ready for it are better off than if they hadn't been exposed to those "scary" truths and practices.

Some people want to live in a fantasy world where bad things never happen and there are no wolves. But closing your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ears just marks you as an easy target for the predators of the world. Unfortunately, by not accepting the situation that exists, they make themselves that much more likely to fall prey to it.

You're doing a good thing. Most people will see that and appreciate it. Don't let the few who don't discourage you. Think about how many other young girls and parents will benefit from your seminars, or won't if you quit doing them because a few wilting violets got their feelings hurt. It seems like you're handling this in an intelligent, professional manner. More communication is always a good thing, and if you can address these kinds of concerns before they arise that's one less headache for you. Keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right track.


-Rob
 

aedrasteia

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Brian

can't seem to give you positive rep for this terrific post, so I'm saying it here.

Yes. Every point agreed. Including positive comments to Georgia.

I'm hoping that all MT participants who currently teach or even think about doing SD4W/girls read this entire thread and gives thoughtful attention to your comments. I'll post more on this thread but Brian, this cut right to the heart of this issue.

I never teach girls of any age (18 and under) without extensive, direct contact with parents/important caregivers BEFORE the class. And the deep reality of 'niceness' and socialization/training of girls and women is the core of SD4W.

So many of those adults, most often women (but including some men) carry the horrific, unacknowledged baggage of bad experiences. I assume nothing and never violate their privacy but I recognize that reality and undertake the responsibility to treat them with respect and care, not contempt and dismissal. The teacher's job is to receive them with welcome and broad acceptance and behave in a way that makes it easiest for them to share whatever they can.

Most often, 30-40% of participants in adult SD4W classes bring direct experience with them. Parents/caregivers of my younger students do too, sometimes more because they reach out, sometimes confused or unprepared for the emotional/psychological distress, for anything that will protect their children. As they were not protected or helped.

What so many here read as 'denial' and treat dismissively and contemptuously is usually nothing of the sort. Denial is a 'self protective' tool, sometimes/often the only one isolated people have. And still, amazingly, they reach out to a safety or SD class, in spite of their experiences and memories. They are overwhelmed, generally, when these issues arise, but they hide the distress, in part because so many of us make it even harder for them.

I believe it is part of my job to be prepared, as completely as I can, for whatever those children and parents bring with them, to meet them where they are, not where I think they should be.

Surprise, disapproval, contempt, ridicule, dismissal not only have no place in my perspective or in my actions, those responses actively work against my primary goal: to become effective partners with adults caring for kids. Sometimes this may be challenging, but thats what we are supposed to be doing right? the hard stuff? That requires knowledge and understanding of real threats/abuse of children. And the effects on the adults they become. And developing the actual teaching/communication skills to make that knowledge work positively. These are much greater challenges for teachers than blowing them off or endlessly sharpening physical techniques. Georgia and Brian are good examples of the path.

thanks Brian. Keep reminding us all of the reality.​



 
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shesulsa

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The woman who wrote this:

From: *****************
To: ********************
Sent: Sunday, October 2, 2011 ******
Subject: Re: ********** Self Defense Day



Hello,

I am not sure if this class is the same one my daughter took last year but
if it was,it was VERY inappropriate for my daughter's troop. We felt the
class was designed for older girls as there was talk of mugging, raping and
harming (a bit too much detail). Also, some of the drills were too rough
for the girls leaving them crying afterwards. I am not sure if you are the
person to be contacting about this. If not, could you please forward this
to whomever should receive it?

Thank you,


**** ********

... and this ...

From: **********
To: ***************
Sent: Sunday, October 2, 2011 *********
Subject: Re: ************* Self Defense Day



********,



Just wanting to clarify that I am speaking for my family, not the entire
troop.



I appreciate your response and I too feel it is important to teach girls
about safety and that it is never too early to start. However, I think
there are ways to do this with six and seven year old girls without such a
negative impact (or injuries).



Perhaps a full disclosure of what will be covered in class (and how it is
covered) would help prepare the girls and parents better for the class and
allow parents to make a more informed decision on whether or not to send
their girl.



The purpose of my letter was to hopefully help make this class a more
positive and age appropriate experience for these young, impressionable
girls.



Thank you for your time,

******** *******

... was not actually in attendance at the seminar - her husband was. I am currently discussing the matter with him via email and will provide that conversation upon its conclusion.

I've not yet connected with the other lady.

What I'm taking from this so far is that teaching self-defense to girls needs to involve discussion with their parents and leaders as well. It seems like a no-brainer but it isn't something I have pro-actively sought to do *myself*.

As to the "injury" or implied lack of supervision, I will likely also include a disclaimer in the future (a regular practice of a few instructors I know, just never considered for a Girl Scout venue.

Brian: What am I doing to change the stigma? THIS is what I'm doing. ;-)

***EDITED TO ADD***

Actually, I will go ahead and post the conversation thus far now.
 
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shesulsa

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Email exchange with father:

To: ****************************
Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:25 AM
Subject: Follow-up on self-defense class

Dear Georgia,

My name is ******** ******** and I am ****** ******'s husband. My daughter took part in your self-defense class last year and I'm understanding that you would like to hold this course again for the GirlScouts and that is why I'm being asked to write to you. I was in attendance for the class that you held last year and some concerns were raised not only by me, but some of the other moms that I spoke too at the conclusion of the class. Since the class was a while ago I can't recall all the explicit details, but I will try to convey my thoughts. As I recall, the class started about 20 minutes late and then once the class began you started the class by introducing yourself and your son and then proceeding to tell the girls that the reason why you are holding this course was because you were in fact a victim. Don't know how appropriate this is to share with 6-7 year old girls? Then once the course started you paired up the girls and then you proceeded to run through a variety of escape techniques. Some of the girls got hurt in this process because hair was being pulled too tightly and students were being kicked harder than expected. Two of the girls were actually in tears. My main concern was with your choice of words as you described scenarios to the girls and what could happen to them once the were abducted. I value your dedication to supporting young women by educating them about abuse and safety, I just feel that the language used needs to be appropriate to your audience. I also think that further explanation needs to take place when instruction is occuring so that people don't get hurt.


I want to again thank you offering your time to assist young women with being more aware of their surroundings and providing them with some useful techniques to dealing with predators and I hope my feedback is useful.

Should you have any other concern or questions please feel free to write me back.

Sincerely,

******** *******


me:

To: ******************
Sent: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 9:46:23 AM
Subject: Re: Follow-up on self-defense class

Dear ********,



Thank you for writing me directly. I'm sorry you were displeased with your and your daughter's experiences. If it's all right with you, I'd like to get some more details and hopefully we can both achieve some clarity - or at least some understanding - of what happened and I can improve the experience for girls in the future.

I would like for us both to be as clear as possible as I try very hard to make exchanges appropriate for young girls, so please forgive me if my questions become tedious. This is very important to me and I seek to improve everything I do all the time, especially this kind of experience for girls.

Your wife wrote: "there was talk of mugging, raping and harming (a little too much detail)." You wrote "proceeding to tell the girls that the reason why you are holding this course was because you were in fact a victim." I'm sure I may have introduced the class in such a fashion as you typed - this can get the attention of girls who seem uninterested or don't really understand what they're doing there. This usually yields positive results, but I'm curious about your wife's statement. I can tell you I remember having a *very* young girl at the Camas event (she said she was six years old) ask me what rape was. Does this sound like the group your daughter belongs to?

I'm also curious about the hair pulling and kicking - I normally don't teach a lot of kicking at a self-defense seminar but have a few times. Can you recall if the girls were pulling each other's hair, kicking each other, or was this a different scenario?

I've had a couple of seminars where very young girls attended at an older girl time for convenience ... was this the case here?

Your answers will help me recall more details here.

Thank you so much!

Georgia Ketchmark

His reply:

Dear Georgia,

Thank you for writing me back. I will try to answer all of your questions. The class that I'm referring too was held in the Fort Vancouver area, the class was in a basement of one of the buildings. I think providing a very elementary explanation to the girls as to why they are there is appropriate enough to get their attention. That this is a class developed to assist them with making themselves aware of their environment and that you will be teaching them steps to protect themselves if their environment becomes unsafe or someone within their environment posses a threat or they feel uncomfortable about someone being in their "personal bubble." I know it's not that simple, but some middle ground might be appropriate. In the case of one of the girls you were actually demonstrating with the girl and I think more caught her by surprise then actually harming her. In the other situation two of the girls were practicing blocking techniques, with their legs, and one of the girls kicked the other a little bit too hard. A lot of girls were present at the class and maybe limiting the course would be helpful. This would help with management of the course and would assist with you being able to monitor the class more effectively.

Again, I want to reiterate that I value your desire and interest in working with young women and I thank you for your time on this.

Sincerely,

******** ********


And my most recent reply to him:

Dear ********:



I guess what I'm not getting from you is the exact wording, to the best of your recollection of how I opened the class. If I may address your suggestion: "I think providing a very elementary explanation to the girls as to why they are there is appropriate enough to get their attention. That this is a class developed to assist them with making themselves aware of their environment and that you will be teaching them steps to protect themselves if their environment becomes unsafe or someone within their environment posses a threat or they feel uncomfortable about someone being in their "personal bubble." I know it's not that simple, but some middle ground might be appropriate. "


Again, not certain of the exact wording I used, I still understand your concern here and without being argumentative, please allow me to point out some disturbing facts about physical assault. Most first-time victims of violent crime or sex crime (regardless of age or gender) begin their account to police with these words: "Something happened." They usually don't say "I was raped" or "I've been assaulted" because they don't connect those labels with any reality at all. Even if they've heard the words, understand their meaning, the stigma of such victimization and the reluctance to educate about them can actually prohibit the apprehension and/or successful prosecution of predators let alone the opportunity for healing in victims. Most people who have been victimized in youth don't put the puzzle pieces together until they are in therapy later for something else. So my goal here is to encourage girls to start asking questions and their support system to start giving progressive and appropriate answers. We don't want to expose them at such an early age but sometimes it's necessary. It truly breaks my heart that the age on this keeps dropping.


What I *try* to do is ask questions myself - I *try* to ask the girls what they would see as an unsafe situation or how someone would act if they wanted to hurt them. But you and I both know that the darker reality is that young girls are *groomed* to trust the worst predators of all.


Yours is probably an excellent argument for pre-education disclosure and parental consultation.


Still - if you are able to recall more precisely what I said, I can make adjustments accordingly.



Pain & injury:



"In the case of one of the girls you were actually demonstrating with the girl and I think more caught her by surprise then actually harming her."


Yes, this can happen. I can't always tell when it will and it is very unfortunate that she was so surprised. We work very hard at being as gentle as possible, and even so, some youngsters just react with fear. It is important for all of us to help the girls understand the difference between a little discomfort, a little pain and actual injury. Some teachers have the adults the girls trust involved in the exercise and I may do this in the future.



"In the other situation two of the girls were practicing blocking techniques, with their legs, and one of the girls kicked the other a little bit too hard."


I don't recall teaching leg blocking as I know it to be. Are you referring to a technique where they rake the shin with their feet?



"A lot of girls were present at the class and maybe limiting the course would be helpful. This would help with management of the course and would assist with you being able to monitor the class more effectively."


Sometimes, regardless of my insistence that girls be careful with one another, some just don't listen or perhaps have no understanding. In those situations, even one-on-one supervision is not enough, leaving every student somewhat vulnerable. And this is the nature of any physical activity including a self-defense class. I rely on leaders and parents to know their girls well and if they require some close supervision, to either communicate this to me or join us on the mat.



Again, this furthers the case for disclosure and discussion.


Thank you, by the way, for understanding the importance of this work, for your patience with me here, and for all the feedback.


Georgia


 

Rich Parsons

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"G",

You mentioned the kids may not know they are being hard. This is very true.

I was at a seminar that I and another taught at. An ex-girlfriend and still friend of mine asked if she could stop by. The host supported this.

During the knife drills that the other instructor was doing, I used my aluminum knives. Most others used rubber softer knives so when they stabbed into the chest it bent. I used control while working with her. She came at me with intent. The instructor and others were looking at me like Ihad given my ex and knife to stab me with and she meant to do it.

After she had it down I then explained that for normal training the impact was too much, but that it did her some good to it at that level.

She was a grown woman in her early 30's and had gone through Naval boot camp. She did not understand and was shocked that she had hurt me. I explained that if I was in "REAL" danger I would have stopped it, but a short term of a few bruises to get he to have it down was an option I was wiling to take for myself.

So expecting kids to have control and to know what 25% and 50% strike levels would be a difficult task out of the gate.

Could you have them all demonstrate on a kick pad/bag or strike pads? Could you use leg/shin protectors to demonstrate on yourself to get them to get the right level of control? Of course you alone would be very difficult to accomplish this so other adults assisting would be great.

Thanks
 

jks9199

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Admitting to having been a victim is a powerful thing -- both for you and for your audience. You show them directly that bad things can happen, and that you can survive them and come through and be strong. At the same time, it has to be presented carefully, and, as a teacher, you have to make sure that relating your experience (even obliquely) is serving the class, and not your own needs. That's just something to think about...

Personally, I've learned NOT to demonstrate on students in a setting like that except as a last resort or for a particular purpose. It's one thing in a regular class to demonstrate on a student; they know and expect it. I know I generally use the more experienced students for demonstrations, and will generally bring a student when I teach a seminar or class like yours so that I have extra eyes as well as a reliable demonstratee. In fact, I'm often the demonstratee for my teaching partner, because I'm about twice her size, and it proves that the techniques can work against someone bigger!
 
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shesulsa

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The most recent email from father and my final reply:

Dear Georgia,

Since the course was such a long-time ago I can't recall the exact wording that you used, I should have addressed my concerns in a more timely fashion and that was my mistake. I have worked in the residential sector for at-risk and high-risk children for over 10 years and for the past 6 years I have been a high school counselor so I'm familiar with abuse cycles, especially in working with the victims. I think encouraging pre-education and allowing parents an opportunity to receive information about the course ahead of time and about the content of the course would be helpful. Letting parents know that words such as "raped", "sexually assaulted", "abused" are a part of the content of the course and the reasons why they are a part of the course. Also that parental involvement might be a part of the course so dress accordingly as parents may be asked to be participants, i.e. the attacker. Just a thought. Also that it is important for parents to follow-up with their child after the course to answer any questions they may have regarding the content of the course. Maybe having sometime at the end of the course for the children and their parents to ask questions? I know time is limited, but I feel that the education piece is critical. In addition, possibly providing a hand-out at the end of the course providing the child-abuse hotline # and just some general information on abuse.

Sincerely,

******* ********


I don't know what this guy was smoking when he brought his daughter, but the girls get handouts with phone numbers for For A Child, and Safe Choice, etcetera as well as my own personal information on them AND I always have a Q&A session at the end of class.

I slept on this for three days before I sent this reply:

*******,



I wanted to sit for a few days on our discussion.


I truly don't recall using the words "rape," "sexually assaulted" or "abused" with such young girls unless it has been brought up. If I introduced those words into the discussion inappropriately, then that is inexcusable and I apologize. I do think their questions should be answered with as much *appropriate* truth as possible - again, I truly don't seek to damage these girls AT ALL.



I think your suggestions of bringing the adults onto the floor is a very good one and I'll be implementing this as well as an introduction to the course for the adults and parents.


I do *try* to have a questions session at the end of each class - things can get hectic during class sessions and sometimes a lesson might go long - usually due to a serious discussion or task.


I promise to review the handouts given at the seminars for accuracy on the crisis number(s) I try to provide.


Thank you again for the feedback.


Georgia Ketchmark


I really don't think there was any other way to appease this man and his family.

I just sent my first email to the other lady who agreed with his wife. For the record, I've received emails and phone calls backing me 100% and encouraging me forward from the GS community.

Nevertheless, it's important to look at feedback like this as an opportunity to improve. Thanks to everyone here involved in the discussion for your support, your feedback, your honesty ... I truly appreciate it.

Thanks!
 

jks9199

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One thing that I've learned is that handouts given to kids don't always (maybe hardly ever) make it to parents -- even if given to the kids directly in front of the parents. And if they're just a stack with directions to pick one up as you go out... they seldom even get picked up. And that's with adults or kids.

I don't recommend bringing parents onto the floor as demonstration partners except with great care. First -- parents should stay authority figures, and getting beat up doesn't help! Second -- you don't know what they bring to the floor. A guy doing a demo once insisted on calling one of my instructors down to show how the guy could escape from holds from "even really big, strong guys." Except he couldn't break my instructor's hold. Kind crushes the credibility, no? Or they do something wrong, fall badly, and get hurt. I strongly encourage using a selected student or fellow instructor for most demos in a seminar set-up like this. Third -- if you've got a participant (adult or child) who has been abused, you could find yourself dealing with a emotional time-bomb going off in your class.
 

aedrasteia

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Shesulsa

this is a terrific thread.. thanks so much and much respect to you for starting and continuing to share this with us all.
Your explanations have been clear and valuable.

Regarding the father you quoted in #32, how old is the daughter?

How old are the girls of the other parents who had some concerns?

what are the maturity/age groupings you generally use?

What books/web-sites do you recommend/share with parents?

I'm not sure I understand: "I really don't think there was any other way to appease this man and his family".
thanks
 

Cyriacus

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I totally agree, but I think a better word than "ignorant" when pretending it doesn't exist would be "negligent". Parents who pretend that these harms do not exist or fail to face these realities and prepare their children for them are neglecting their childs safety. Just my humble opinion, but I think kids need to know about the wolves that are out there and what they are capable of.

Georgia, I applaud you for dealing with issues that many parents are either uncomfortable with or just flat out ignore. God bless you and the occassioal negative feedback that allows you to improve your program and motivate you to keep doing what you are doing because so many think that it is inappropriate or just don't care. Thank you.

James
Theyre completely Ignoring the Threat, arent they? They know that Molestation and Pedophilia exist. And more. They just choose to completely Ignore it.
Negligent is also Accurate. Both Terms are pretty interchangeable here.
:)
 

Benevolentbob

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From what I read there it doesn't seem like you did anything wrong. I think you're just seeing our modern culture for what it is. To be totally blunt, most of those parents probably don't have have a clue what real combat (on the street or otherwise) is like and live in a dream world where breaking cheap wood in Tae Kwon Do means their kids are safe. In my experience most people say they would like to learn self-defense but are not truly prepared for it and end up in a feel good role-playing class. This is why mcdojos are so successful in the United States, they believe they're learning self defense but they don't have to face bitter reality or put in the effort required to do so. Words like "rape" may scare some people, but if you're taking a class to defend yourself you should be prepared to face these situations. In fact, if you're in a self-defense class and they're not throwing out situations like getting mugged or raped then you should probably start looking around at other schools.
 
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shesulsa

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Shesulsa

this is a terrific thread.. thanks so much and much respect to you for starting and continuing to share this with us all.
Your explanations have been clear and valuable.

Thank you so much!

Regarding the father you quoted in #32, how old is the daughter?

He says the group in question was 6 and 7 year olds.

How old are the girls of the other parents who had some concerns?

Not sure - hoping for clarity soon.

what are the maturity/age groupings you generally use?

The age groups fall generally in line with the program age level with Girl Scouts with some exceptions:

Daisies (last year of preschool and kindergarten, so 4-5 years)
Brownies (Grades 1-3, so 6-8 years)
Juniors (Grades 4-6, so 9-11 years) - This group I generally tend to split off with the 9 and 10 year olds separate from the 11 year olds.
Cadettes (Grades 7-9, so 12-14 years) - I tack the 11 year olds in with this group.
Seniors (Grades 10-12, so 15-18 years) - I *sometimes* split the 15 year olds off and include them in the next group down.

The leaders are encouraged to speak with the parents and girls who are more mature and near a cusp *might* be included with an older group and vice-versa.

What books/web-sites do you recommend/share with parents?

I have mentioned (though not in print) childrennow.org for parents and for all girls the local numbers for (I don't call it this) the sexual assault and child abuse hotlines. I tell the leaders about GirlThrive.com - this is a blog site about girls who have been victims and who are seeking healing.

I'm not sure I understand: "I really don't think there was any other way to appease this man and his family".
thanks

I read the father's messages to have the deeper intention of a father upset about the whole experience, not necessarily for what it was but for the fact that his girl had to experience it at all. He was disconcerted and had told his wife I used some pretty heavy words for young girls, but then backed off when I asked for specifics, then again quoted words he didn't think I should use with young girls. I don't think he wanted to be reassured, I don't think he really wanted explanation, I don't think he really even cared to discuss the matter in detail - he just wanted me to verbally take responsibility for the discomfort of his little girl. So I did. That girl will likely never have to see me again and if she has to remember the experience as something negative, I'd rather she assign that negativity to me than her parents or leaders - people she sees often. If I can leave no other impression upon her, that would be better than viewing her parents or leaders as the enemy.
 
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shesulsa

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Theyre completely Ignoring the Threat, arent they? They know that Molestation and Pedophilia exist. And more. They just choose to completely Ignore it.
Negligent is also Accurate. Both Terms are pretty interchangeable here.
:)

What they are trying to do is gradually expose their children at what they deem to be age-appropriate behavior. The problem is that this is virtually impossible. The child who hasn't already heard a lot about sex and/or experienced some kind of bullying or power-over situation by 5th grade (when they show kids The Movie) is far more rare than ever before. They are trying to do right by their kids. Parents kinda forget that when you teach kids about sex and AIDS, you have to teach them about lots of other icky things like gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, etcetera.

Assault and abuse are horrific experiences. Why would we WANT to expose our children to them? You and I know we *HAVE* to and we WANT to so they have a better shot at staying safe. These parents don't yet understand the need.

So ... we must educate them.
 

MJS

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Today I received some of the first negative feedback I've ever gotten on my pro bono self-defense seminars for Girl Scouts.

I break the sessions up into age groups so I can address questions and talk about things appropriate for just this age. The coordinator for the event is mom to a female martial arts student (not mine) and prefaces these events by telling the troop leaders about the content and format of my seminars in advance. We count on the leaders to communicate with the parents about concerns and limitations and to pass these things on. Parental attendance is encouraged.

Of course, no one can please everyone and I don't seek to do this - I do, however seek to continuously stay abreast of family concerns and safety concerns. I've never been made aware as to any injury whatsoever in my seminars so some of the feedback was surprising to read. Nevertheless, here it is for others to read. I would like some feedback, please.

I'm posting the entire exchange with names, email addresses and dates filtered for safety solely for the purpose of transparency:


First feedback email to coordinator:


Coordinator's reponse:


Next email:



And another:
[QUOTE]
Re: ******** Self Defense Day



*******, our girls participated in this a couple of years ago, as 1st year
Juniors. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about when it come to age
appropriateness. When rape was mentioned it kind of threw me off. I don't
know about every other family, but I did not have to explain sex to my
oldest (now 11 years old) until she was in 4th grade and they were about to
watch "the video" in school. So when we were at the class and rape was
mentioned, I wondered to myself how many younger girls were going to ask
their leaders/moms what rape was. As a parent, I would not want to be forced
to explain sex to my daughter before she needs to know about it (or before
myself, as her mother, decide it is the right time to talk to her about it).
I had been planning on bringing my now 8 year old to the self defense class,
but am waiting until I have had the birds and bees talk with her.

I think a full explanation of the class is a great idea!

~********~
mommy to ********, ********, ********, ********, ********


Coordinator's email to me:


So in a phone conversation we agreed to delay the class until concerns were met and addressed. Here is the general letter I asked her to send out to the entire group. It doesn't answer every question, but I stand up for my position here.




And here is what the two troop co-leaders feel about the situation.


I want to be clear - I was never made aware of any injuries whatsoever other than some over-exhuberance on the part of some girls which was thwarted immediately, of course. There are the occasional tears which usually draws a little extra attention, comfort and a little coaching to the attending adults.

Tear it up, folks.[/QUOTE]

People like this, IMO, have their head up their ***. Perhaps the martial arts or a SD is too difficult for the glass children. Perhaps a knitting class, in fantasy land is better suited. IMO, I dont see anything wrong with what you did Geo. I mean, seems like nowadays, people are more interested in sugar coating stuff, and downplaying the seriousness of things, instead of telling it like it is. Oh well...
 
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