Despite my Wife thinking the opposite, teaching my toddler some self defence is one of the best things I have done!
Even though he is a Boy, there is absolutely no reason why you should not be teaching your toddler…Boy or Girl….self defence. If anything, it is much more important for a Girl to know how to defend herself in later life. It can be a very dangerous world! Preparation is key.
My Wife has changed her opinion now, by the way, because she has been the benefits of my toddler learning self defence!
By the way, this is not just one of those ‘Dad things’. It is something that both parents should buy into because the benefits are extraordinary.
Table of Contents
- Toddler self defence – Why is it important?
- 5 Reasons why it is a good idea to teach your Toddler self defence
- Toddler self defence – what to watch out for
- Recommended self defence for Toddlers
Toddler self defence – Why is it important?
Confidence is one of the biggest things a person can have, and encouraging confidence is the job of a parent.
There are many things you can do to encourage confidence your kid has and learning self defence through a Martial Art will also give them important life skills!
Also – there are some recommended Martial Arts to help you choose which one to teach your Toddler.
5 Reasons why it is a good idea to teach your Toddler self defence
Here are the 5 benefits of teaching your Toddler self defence!
1. Self defence teaches discipline
Learning self defence requires discipline.
I am not talking about JUST listening, and doing what you are told – I am also talking about being disciplined in practicing the skills they are learning.
When I was younger…..much younger, and I was at the Dojo learning Judo, I did not have any option but to sit and listen to what they were teaching me. If I didn’t listen, it would usually end up in an exercise based punishment, which was never easy!
You will be surprised at how quickly your toddler will display discipline after just a few self defence classes.
2. Self defence will improve your toddler’s confidence
Being a new person in this world, it takes a bit of time for confidence to grow. Confidence is given to a child by allowing them to make (some) decisions. It shows that you have confidence in them, and they begin to believe it.
Confidence in their ability is crucial, and with training and practice comes knowledge, and knowledge will form confidence.
There is also confidence when meeting new people. If my Son walks into a room, it takes him a few minutes to settle before he is off doing his own thing.
Imagine being a toddler, and you walk into a room full of other kids, some are being a little boisterous! It is likely to elicit some fear or trepidation. Now imagine that you have basic skills in dealing with kids who try to push you around. Suddenly, you are more confident that they will not be able to!
3. Self defence will help to stop childhood obesity
Childhood obesity is a real problem, there are too many fat kids dragging their enormous bodies around.
Letting your kid get fat is, in my opinion, a form of child abuse. You simply CANNOT allow them to be unhealthy. Despite that calls of ‘big is beautiful’ it is NOT healthy.
You are in charge of what your kids eat, not them. If they eat too much and get fat, it is your fault as a parent, and I do not care if you think I am crossing the line.
Regular exercise is key to battling obesity, even for kids and self defence is an awesome way of making sure they get regular exercise, and if they enjoy doing it then it is even better!
Not only will it help them for the short term, if a child is used to exercise as a kid, that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. They will develop into a healthy teenager, young adult and then an adult!
4. Teaching your toddler self defence will give you more Dad time
I love this!
As a Dad – I love spending time with my Son. During the self defence lessons, it is just me and him and I am teaching him a very important life skill.
As a Dad, I want a strong bond with my Son, and spending time with him will help to strengthen that bond.
5. YOU will get more confidence, and less worry
There are some days when I know my Son is at pre-school and I wonder if any other kid is trying to bully him. It is a worry for all parents…or at least it should be.
Teaching him self defence means I worry less about bullies because I know, even as a toddler, he has a few skills that will help him put a stop to it.
This will carry on when he goes to School and even when he gets a job and moves out of home! I will know that he has skills that can get him out of situations that frighten the hell out of parents!
Toddler self defence – what to watch out for
You need to keep an eye on the following 2 things if you decide to teach your Child self defence……
1. Do NOT encourage bullying
his is a big one. It is all well and good teaching your toddler self defence, but you do not want them to cross the line and become a bully themselves!
You need to keep an eye on this and act on any display of being a bully.
The whole point of this is to prepare them for times when they need to stand up to the bullies, not create a bully!
If you fear your child is a bully – it is time to step up and deal with it before it gets out of hand.
2. Do NOT be the overbearing Dad
During my years of Judo, I entered many gradings and competitions and I was one of the lucky ones…
I didn’t have a Dad that thought he knew more than the graders or the referees. I did, however, witness many parents who were like that. Even to the point where they were flat out arguing with the referees in front of the whole competition! C’mon….get a grip!
Do not be that person who questions every decision. No-one likes a pushy parent.
If your kid likes what they are doing, encourage them. Spend time with them while they practice. Help them, do not hinder their progress.
Recommended self defence for Toddlers
Judo HAS to be the first Martial Art I recommend! Simply due to my experience in learning it as a kid.
Judo was first created in 1882 in Japan by Jigoro Kano, and it means ‘The Gentle Way’.
It is the perfect Martial Art for a child to learn! There are choke hold included in the Judo curriculum but they are taught when the ‘Judoka’ is much older.
Similar to Wrestling, Judo is close combat.
Training will improve your child’s coordination, balance and posture.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I was taught Judo as a child, I would recommend Aikido as the perfect Martial Art to teach a child self defence.
Why? Because the whole purpose of Aikido is to defend themselves while protecting their attacker from injury! When an attack comes in, the Aikido practitioner will redirect their momentum to take the attacked down in a controlled way.
Aikido will develop a phenomenal balance!
Kung Fu is an awesome way of promoting focus and coordination! Plus it means they can be super tough!
Basically, Kung Fu is the solo name for a collection of Chinese Martial Arts and includes several HUNDRED fighting styles. The most popular being Wing Chun, due largely to Mr. Bruce Lee. Also, recent films have emerged depicting the life of Ip Man.
Kung Fu will develop speed, coordination, and concentration, and confidence.
Unlike Judo, Karate is a Martial Art where the focus is on striking your opponent using punching, kicking, elbow strikes, and knee strikes.
It is very important to explain to your child that Karate should only be used in controlled circumstances, and not on the playground.
Karate will improve balance and agility.
There are other forms of self defence that you can teach your Toddler, but I have recommended the sports above because they are the best for a kid in that age-group.
Boxing, for instance, will improve stamina, agility, and strength but could end up with a few broken noses as they grow up! Jujutsu is a fantastic Martial Art, but the focus is on arm locks and chokes, which is something I do not recommend for a child! As they get older, it is worth considering.
Take a look at local classes for your child. You could even go out and learn it yourself to pass on the knowledge and increase Daddy time!
I will reiterate again, this is NOT just for Boys. Girls need to learn self defence too! If you think Martial Arts is not for girls, then take a look at the last Olympics to see exactly how good they are. I am certain that will change your mind.
Unfortunately, there are bullies in this world. There are also people who are out to cause harm. Knowing that your Child can handle themselves in those situations will increase your confidence. It is an important life skill that you hope will never be tested.
Whatever you chose, just make sure your child enjoys doing it, and do not force them to learn if they are not ready.