Why Self-Defense Should Be Taught In School

Why Self-Defense Should Be Taught In School

Nick Walters, Journalism Student

You are walking down the sidewalk playing games on your phone one day. You had a bad day so you are only focused on getting yourself home after school. Suddenly, someone grabs you from behind and holds their hand over your mouth, stopping you from screaming or calling for help. You can tell that whoever it is is much bigger and stronger than you. You look around desperately for someone to help you as your kidnapper drags you back toward their car, but there is nobody around. You reach for your phone in your pocket, until you realize you dropped it on the ground about 30 feet away from you. You start to flail your arms as your last attempt to break free, but all it does is tire you out. If only you had learned self-defense in school. Then you would be able to get yourself out of this situation. You feel yourself get thrown into the car and have the door slammed shut. Your kidnapper gets in the driver’s seat and begins to drive away. There’s no chance of escape now. 

According to the Missouri Child Identification Program, as of 2013 approximately 2,000 children are reported missing in the United States every day. That means that in just a week, about 14,000 children are reported missing. If those kids were taught in school or after school how to defend themselves, that number would drop dramatically. When people are being abducted and have little to no knowledge on how to defend themselves, they understandably tend to panic, and they flail around and wear themselves out, rendering any self defense they may come up with on the spot fairly useless. If they were trained and prepared in what to do in that situation, they would have a much better chance to get themselves out of the situation. 

However, although when people think of self defense, their minds automatically go to kidnapping, it can be used for other things as well. For example: if someone wanted to start a fight with you and you knew it was getting to the point where it couldn’t be avoided, you would need and want to know how to properly defend yourself. When in a fight, your goal isn’t to beat whoever you’re fighting;  your goal is to not lose to the person you’re fighting. You should never seriously injure someone you are fighting unless they are actively threatening your life. Instead you should hold them off for long enough to get them to stop and/or enough time for the proper authorities to arrive. 

According to Smartfem, about 60% of children are exposed to violence; whether it be at home, or at school. When children are exposed to violence, and in some cases, abuse, it causes lifelong issues such as PTSD. In addition to teaching children and teens how to fight their way out of these situations, self-defense also teaches kids how to avoid the situations entirely. If kids are taught how to identify someone who might be dangerous, then they can begin getting away from the situation before it ever starts. It would also teach children how to talk their way out of something. If the situation presents itself, simply trying to reason with the aggressor is self-defense. However, most situations cannot be resolved with just talking, which is why self-defense also encompasses hand to hand combat and in some cases, hand to weapon combat. 

The only issue schools might have when trying to begin teaching self-defense is whether or not the children are mature enough to pay attention and not injure other people  or themselves.  However, in Middle and High School, that should not be a problem. Ultimately, it would be up to the school district to decide whether or not self defense classes/activities would be beneficial for their students.