Self-defense course syllabus for young girls

shesulsa

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I hold seminars for girls in another volunteer organization and I break down the skills according to age groups, really. Though I haven't outlined (yet) what I like to show these girls physically, I have some general guidelines as to what I teach the girls in my seminars.

Young girls ages 5-8: There's not a lot they can physically do besides run, use their voice, avoid situations and kick, bite, scratch and scream. They learn about stranger danger, good and bad touching, phone and front door protocol - all the general safety stuff we like to teach every young child.

Young girls ages 9-12: About the same, but I like to teach these girls how to use their feet if they're on their backs, vital point targets. We also discuss what sexual harassment is, define rape, cel phone protocol, internet safety, etc. Also using day-to-day items as weapons.

Girls 12+: I teach these girls about the same as I teach adult women, but they need a little more education than the average adult female - like, what exactly constitutes rape, what heavy petting is ( I know women who don't know what that is ) and how/when to draw the line, "no" meaning "no" and how to move on from that point. We talk about the legalities, consequences, and dangers of carrying weapons, how to find out more about the laws of carriage, etcetera.

I emphasize the buddy system with all females of all ages, posture and confidence, use of voice, recognizing rage and potential threats, etcetera. We cover a lot.

What I'd like to do here is open up the discussion for what else you who teach seminars include in your syllabus as to natural awareness, verbal judo, specifics on physical techniques, etcetera.

It's all open, gang. Let's get it out there.
 

terryl965

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Sound like you are doing a wonderful job helping these young ladys become aware of there surrounding and helping them be a better person.
Great work Shesulsa
Terry

I will have my wife put down what she teaches for th ladys of are school and after I get done I'll write down my views also.
Terry
 

Drac

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I must agree with terryl965 sounds like you are doing an excellent job..Add escapes from wrist grabs..Even the 9-12 can perform these without difficulty...
 

Andrew Green

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How to hit people.

I think that is the hardest thing for some people to learn when it comes to physical stuff. Girls more so as the chances they grew up wrestling with each other, playing contact sports and punching each other in the arm until one gives up is a lot lower.

Result is they have no idea how much damage they can do, or how much damage getting hit does do. Generally leading to overestimating both greatly and almost a fear response about hitting or getting hit.

And until a person can mentally deal with getting hit and thrown around enough to hit back with intent to damage any physical training apart from running away is a waste.
 
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shesulsa

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Drac said:
I must agree with terryl965 sounds like you are doing an excellent job..Add escapes from wrist grabs..Even the 9-12 can perform these without difficulty...

Yes, we do show quick releases, finger locks, etc.
 
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shesulsa

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Andrew Green said:
How to hit people.
This is a good sub-discussion: How do you teach that, Andrew? I personally don't advocate young girls punching with a closed fist unless they're really strong girls. I favor showing heel palms and hammerfists myself.
 

Martial Tucker

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Just a few random thoughts:

I really believe awareness is 90% of the battle. I'll give a few rather random examples that are by no means all-inclusive of what I like to see covered, but a decent overview, and if I think of more stuff, I'll try to comeback and add:

1. Things like just walking down the sidewalk in the street. Do you walk near
the building along the street, so that someone could reach out from a doorway or alley and easily grab you? Or, do you walk near the curb, where someone could open a sliding van door and grab you? As you are walking, are you looking down at the ground, or looking at what is approaching you? When a person that you perceive to be a potential threat walks toward you on the sidewalk, do you make brief eye contact and let him know you are aware of his presence, or do you look away and hope for the best? After that person has passed you on the sidewalk, do you discreetly pay attention to him until he is a safe distance away? You don't have to turn and stare at him, but you can glance over your shoulder, or better yet, look into the window of the store you are walking by as if you are shopping, while watching him in your peripheral vision.
2. As you approach a parked car in a parking lot, do you glance underneath while still far enough away to
have a good, easy view. If you return to your car in a parking lot and find that a van has parked next to you on the driver's side of your car, do you get in on the passenger side and slide across? Do you look in the back seat of your car before you get in? Once inside, do you immediately lock the doors FIRST THING? As for cell phones, many people advise against talking on them while walking in a parking lot, as it has been speculated that this will attract an attacker on the notion that you are not paying attention to your surroundings, and are therfore vulnerable. LEO's that we have talked to indicate just the opposite. If you are walking with a cell phone held to your ear, make it obvious that you are aware of what is happening around you and it becomes a deterrant, since you can IMMEDIATELY ask someone to send help if you are attacked.

3. Don't forget the increasing threat of date-rape drugs. If you go to a party, never drink anything that you didnt get yourself, or open yourself.
You can buy coasters that will detect most date rape drugs, and change colors on contact.


Just a few off-the-cuff thoughts on awareness. You probably cover this, but just more food for thought.
 

arnisador

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See also:
http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24900
http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1981

One thing emphasized in the latter thread is that a very common scenario has a male assailant "working his way in" over a period of time, each time pressing further and further into her personal space...standing a bit too close one day, a casual pat on the shoulder the next, and on and on, until, by inches, he's made the person accustomed to his being "allowed" to stand so close and make contact. Recognizing this danger and being willing to insist that one's personal space be respected (including having ready a comment to deflect the "Hey, don't be rude!" response), is important.

Martial Tucker makes very good points, and I emphasize those with all students.
 

Lisa

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Emphasis on the buddy system as you already mentioned in conjunction with why it is so important that someone know the who, what, where, when and why of what they are doing. The importance of changing your routine. I know one woman who rides her bike to work everyday (weather permitting) and changes up the routine so she is not predictable. Knowing and recognizing "safe" places to go if you are in trouble or feel uncomfortable. Mentioning to your teen and preteen that if you are walking home and someone or something is bothering you that they can recognize block parents or neighbours or friends homes and use them if need be.
 

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This is all good stuff.

I think the 5-8 age group is old enough to learn to slip out of simple grabs, and reach around when being held and drive a finger into someone's eye. (At least the 8 year-olds are.) Of course, I can see not wanting them to abuse it by practicing on their parents. :D
 

Kacey

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I agree with everything that's been posted so far. When I teach classes of this type, I emphasize where to go if you're worried about something - and when to be worried. What to look for that should worry you - being followed, someone who asks you to go somewhere or help look for something, someone who waits until you're alone - anything that makes you nervous. Go anywhere there are lots of people, where the 'safe kids' sign is, or to an adult (the latter being based on the theory that a randomly approached adult is safer than an adult who is approaching you in a fashion that makes you nervous).

I also talk about having a family password - a word the child can remember that is not obvious based on the child's general appearance and is not in the child's school or birth records (so, no middle names, birthdays, no pets' names because neighbors would know, etc.) - grandparent's first name, favorite color, book, TV show or movie - a word without which a child knows not to go with a person.

Children MUST know their home address and phone number.

Do NOT wear clothing that identifies you by name unless you with the group it identifies (e.g. team apparel); do NOT have your name (especially first and last name) anywhere it can be seen by strangers.

Limited use cell phones can be a great tool for a child to have.

There are other tips, of course, but these are the ones that most parents listening to/participating in the class say "oh... I never thought of that" to - especially the complete home address; the parents will ask their kids and find out they DON'T know, and the parents thought they did.
 

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Looks great! On the physical side, do you teach ear slaps? Our first technique for the six and under crowd is somebody picking them up from the front. All the technique is is a snap kick to the groin and double ear slaps. The ear slap is also something taught in our womens self defense seminars.
 

Drac

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shesulsa said:
Yes, we do show quick releases, finger locks, etc.

Very Good..Keep up the good work...
 

Martial Tucker

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I also believe that for a woman to be able to defend herself against a man, the "mental" side of training must be addressed and given much thought.
As an example of what I mean, I have "cut and pasted" text from a post referring to a women's self defense seminar that I made over a year ago in a thread similar to this one:


I have noticed that there always seem to be a few women in the group that, when shown a technique attacking vital points, e.g., an eye gouge, respond by saying "Oh, I don't think I can DO that to someone."

I bring this up, because to me there's no such thing as "I can't".
"I CAN'T" translates to "I WON'T". At this point, I tell them that if they are not willing to gouge a man's eyes. or whatever, then they are making a conscious decision that injuring the man would bother them more than enduring whatever he has in mind for them. I ask them if that's what they mean to say, and they say "no!".

Here's my point: The typical women is at a significant power disadvantage if/when attacked by a man. Certainly, if the woman has had decent martial arts or self defense training, that power disadvantage can be negated.
BUT, survival may require the woman to do something(s) to the man the she would normally consider to be unthinkable in terms of violence or vulgarity. IMHO, a lot of the women I have seen train don't think about this enough, as they put all of their mental effort into memorizing the techniques. What I am saying is that women also need to be mentally prepared IN ADVANCE to do WHATEVER it takes to survive, and make the decision before they leave the house that they will do this without hesitation. If they don't go through this thought process in advance, then if/when the time comes to actually defend themselves they will hesitate, which may cost them their lives.

When we practice in class, and I am working with a woman who seems hesitant, I tell her to stop, close her eyes, and imagine for a moment that she just caught me molesting her child. At that point, I usually get the living crap kicked out of me, and I am happy, because THAT'S the intensity level I want to see a woman have when defending herself. But it's a decision that MUST be thought about and made BEFORE the need arises.
 
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shesulsa

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Martial Tucker said:
What I am saying is that women also need to be mentally prepared IN ADVANCE to do WHATEVER it takes to survive, and make the decision before they leave the house that they will do this without hesitation. If they don't go through this thought process in advance, then if/when the time comes to actually defend themselves they will hesitate, which may cost them their lives.

I couldn't agree more.

I have assisted my instructor at some seminars at churches and I've heard more than once, "I just don't think I could hurt anybody." My response is, perhaps you don't, but there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to hurt you ... thinking about it, fantasizing about it, planning for it. I guarantee if you are not willing to hurt them to protect yourself, you are the helpless prey and nothing more.

That usually gets gaping mouths, pie eyes and stunned silence.
 
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shesulsa

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How many of you include hand-outs in your seminars? What do you include in them?

I have mostly included hints and tips for awareness and safety. For the older girls and women, I like to include some material my instructor uses outlining some vital points and a little anatomy.

What I want to include for older girls and women is some local statistics, however, my biggest concern for the younger crowd is twofold: 1) information overload and 2)Supergirl syndrome (not gonna happen to me).

I'm thinking statistics for their age group might be applicable and is certainly important, but too much talking and not enough doing usually turns them off.

thoughts?
 

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shesulsa said:
This is a good sub-discussion: How do you teach that, Andrew? I personally don't advocate young girls punching with a closed fist unless they're really strong girls. I favor showing heel palms and hammerfists myself.

I recommend this as well and also make sure they understand the gross motor skills of how to strike. Simple up and down striking, versus trying to pinpoint a specific part.
 

Rich Parsons

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shesulsa said:
I couldn't agree more.

I have assisted my instructor at some seminars at churches and I've heard more than once, "I just don't think I could hurt anybody." My response is, perhaps you don't, but there are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to hurt you ... thinking about it, fantasizing about it, planning for it. I guarantee if you are not willing to hurt them to protect yourself, you are the helpless prey and nothing more.

That usually gets gaping mouths, pie eyes and stunned silence.

I did a demo at a church ofr mothers as well. One woman talked to me about this issue and how come most of the women were not listening or practicing. I explained that she was not a target and she herself would be less likely for attack as the women who did not pay attention or cared enough to worry about their safety other than to say they had gone to a self defense seminar, so now they were safe.
 

Rich Parsons

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shesulsa said:
How many of you include hand-outs in your seminars? What do you include in them?

I have mostly included hints and tips for awareness and safety. For the older girls and women, I like to include some material my instructor uses outlining some vital points and a little anatomy.

What I want to include for older girls and women is some local statistics, however, my biggest concern for the younger crowd is twofold: 1) information overload and 2)Supergirl syndrome (not gonna happen to me).

I'm thinking statistics for their age group might be applicable and is certainly important, but too much talking and not enough doing usually turns them off.

thoughts?

I like the hand outs.

Local laws about assault and also domestic violence are good.

As to the Super Girl Syndrome I tell a story about how tow young women at a nearby college were attacked. They used their Green belt technqiues (* Art omitted as not relevent *) to kcik the guy down and he was out either from a kick or hitting his head on the ground. One woman ran for help, the other staid to gloat over her victory. When the first woman got back they found the second woman had been raped. This get their attention, for those willing to open thier minds.

Also if you have a newa by college, get their stats, as in Michigan colleges report their numbers separate from the local city.

I like the talk, practice, talk learn and practice some more, and then finish with a quick talk. If you need be handouts can cover things you may not ave had time to talk about or may be part of the material as covered.
 
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shesulsa

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Rich Parsons said:
I recommend this as well and also make sure they understand the gross motor skills of how to strike. Simple up and down striking, versus trying to pinpoint a specific part.

Elbows can work pretty well, too. My biggest issue with teaching some girls and women how to strike is they just don't generate much power - even going full-boar.
 
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