Making of a Martial Arts Educator for Peace

To provide a multi-level career-training program where participants develop the ability to conduct Character for Kids Life Skills™ programs worldwide — programs that help young people:

  • Develop excellent character–‐development skills
  • Learn how to resolve conflict peacefully
  • Reduce stress by providing positive outlets
  • Build physical strength, flexibility and agility
  • Understand the importance of healthy living
  • Train in a safe environment to protect themselves
  • Learn a comprehensive Life Skills Program
  • Recognize the value of community service
  • Improve academic performance

Most martial arts after-school programs spend most of their time on physical martial arts self-defense skills. A majority of these skills — taught to young people every day — are developmentally unsound, biomechanically incorrect, potentially lethal, and inappropriate for this age and situation. Also, we question their legality.

Child Safe Martial Arts™ – a physically effective, legally safe, age appropriate, developmentally sound, non-lethal integrated system of physical and mental martial arts self-defense skills that gives young people the total confidence to cope successfully and humanely with conflict.

Child Safe Martial Arts™ is not a style; it is an intent, the intent being to practice martial arts for self-understanding, not combat. Although Child Safe Martial Arts™ does teach physical self-defense, it is not founded on combat; it is founded on understanding what causes combat, on understanding the roots of conflict before it becomes a physical confrontation. Combat is the very last option in defending oneself; it is the outcome of a mental cause and therefore needs to be understood at the primary level so one can avoid it in the first place.

Child Safe Martial Arts™ is really about building character and understanding and resolving conflict peacefully which comes about not just through studying the physical aspect. Many traditional martial artists think that by just studying the physical that you can, over time, understand the “mental” aspects. But this is not true.

What is defined as “self-defense” in Child Safe Martial Arts™ is different than the conventional view of most martial arts. What Child Safe Martial Arts™ does is to really look at what a person needs to defend him or herself completely, which also includes how we unnecessarily react to a potential threat, a threatening image of the “enemy,” in a self-defensive, self-protective way.

The total Child Safe Martial Arts™ program of self-defense is a combination of self-protection skills and physical fitness, character development, conflict education, stranger awareness, life skills, rights and responsibilities. All these seemingly separate parts do make a whole “self-defense.” Whereas conventional martial arts define self-defense as merely physical skills, Child Safe Martial Arts™ expands this notion to include the total needs of a person in understanding what causes conflict so one can “Avoid, Resolve and Manage” conflict intelligently and effectively at all levels.

The major question that one must ask oneself when considering in martial arts training for young people is “How much conventional physical self-defense training is needed when it comes to children being able to defend themselves?” In other words, how many physical skills do children need to defend themselves against other children on the playground? Conventional martial arts teachers spend most all of their time training children in physical martial arts for years. For what? When over 90% of bullying is mental why do martial arts schools place so much emphasis on physical skills when what is really needed, to completely protect oneself from harm, is to be aware of suspicious strangers (nonphysical), have good character skills to avoid conflict (nonphysical), have conflict education skills to resolve conflict (nonphysical), to know one’s rights and responsibilities so as to know ones boundaries in being assertive (nonphysical), having an intelligent understanding of Life Skills that make for a more peaceful life (nonphysical) and also, having an understanding of the basic factors that create conflict due to our conditioned, prejudicial images we have about “other people” (nonphysical) – all “mental martial arts”? So how much conventional physical, potentially lethal “self-defense” skills do children need? Very little, at this age. This is about teaching a program for children, not for adults. Adults may need more combative physical skills especially if they are in vocations that are dangerous.

Concerning actual physical self-defense combative skills, Child Safe Martial Arts™ teaches children an introductory non-lethal, legally safe, developmentally sound, age and situation appropriate system of physical skills called S.O.S.™ It is a special system has been developed just for young people. S.O.S.™ stands for Safe Options Systems™ that teaches young people to first be aware of a potential conflict and then to “combat” it though excellent defensive skills only, a real self-defense.

Child Safe Martial Arts™ then teaches all the necessary skills mentioned above to give them a comprehensive system of protecting themselves, not just physically but mentally, emotionally and socially.

Is there a choice in choosing a martial arts school for children? Either we will teach them a potentially lethal, questionably legal, age and situation inappropriate martial art or we teach them a physically effective, legally safe, age appropriate, developmentally sound, non-lethal integrated system of physical and mental martial arts self-defense skills that gives young people the total confidence to cope successfully with conflict.

The Martial Arts for Peace Program

What it is not:

  • promoting violence and aggressive behavior
  • learning to control others through fear
  • teaching how to maim or kill
  • solving conflict by fighting
  • encouraging young people to emulate violent Martial Arts “action heroes”
  • encouraging young people to play with warlike toys or real Martial Arts weapons
  • promoting Martial Arts tournaments that are egotistic displays of warlike behaviour
  • using superficial gimmicks and rewards to manipulate young people into taking Martial Arts program
  • using psychological behaviorial techniques to condition young people to want to stay (example: constant rank advancement)
  • teaching children to go beyond their normal limits normal limits of aggression in a quasi-military environment and through full contact fighting
  • teaching young people that what “pays off” is being tough, in control, aggressive; that respect comes through power and ambition

What it is:

  • promoting peaceful resolution of conflict
  • learning order through understanding
  • teaching nonviolent alternatives
  • solving conflict by using our brains
  • valuing cooperation is right
  • encouraging young people to respect people of peace
  • encouraging young people to question playing at war to bring about peace
  • promoting healthy competition to challenge young people to learn to win or lose with respect
  • encouraging young people to intelligently choose a Martial Arts school through inquiring into its program
  • rewarding young people for patience in learning a discipline that takes time and effort
  • teaching children to develop healthy limits of aggression within a safe and trusting environment by focusing