I am often approached by parents that are very concerned about their child's safety and want them to learn self-defense. What they don't realize is that they will receive so much more from their training: self-confidence, independence, social skills, and the ability to function under stressful conditions.
One of the first adaptations children have from their Krav Maga training is self-confidence. As they are constantly challenged in their training both physically and mentally, being able to do things they could have never imagined. That self-confidence is sometimes more important then the individual techniques they may learn. It creates a victor mentality (instead of victim). This mentality will follow them through everything they do in life, whether it is presenting in front of their class, defending against a bully or applying for a job when they before adults.
The independence that the child builds as a result of their training lets you as a parent have that peace of mind because you know that your child has the tools to deal with various situations they may confront. This skill will give the child the ability to navigate the world around them, giving you the peace of mind to let them be free and make their own choices.
Life can be a very stressful thing, especially during the adolescent years. Krav Maga helps the child put things into prospective as they are constantly put into very stressful conditions in their training (both physically and mentally). In fact, the majority of the training is to teach the child to persevere under stress through different drills and games. That ability was instilled in me during my service in the IDF, it helped get through situations that most people will not face in a lifetime.
As classes are typically taught in a group format the child must learn to get along with others. Of course this transfers to other aspects in life; school, other sports, and general social abilities. In-fact, as an instructors I have seen children go from being very introverted to being very extraverted and participating easily in any activity I may put them through.
Lastly, the above skills and abilities allows for conversation. The child knows that their opinion is respected and valued and in return they will feel empowered. For the parent, it will prevent the child from hiding anything they feel they should not speak up about in order to maintain that mutual respect.
For more reading on the subject, refer to this great NPR article on how more schools are utilizing self-defense training.
Thank you for reading,
Tactical Fitness Austin