Karate Kids Fighting in Self-Defense

It can be confusing being a Karate kid.  You are expected to learn how to physically protect yourself and even defend others.  Yet, you are also expected to be well behaved, follow the rules, and use self-control. You are expected not to be one of those karate kids fighting.  For children this can be conflicting information.

My true story about young Johnny in Little Dragons kids’ karate, illustrates this confusion.  But this situation is not only for Little Dragons, it also happens to older kids, especially in school.  Parents need to talk to their kids about their expectations and their support before their karate kid faces a confrontation.

Karate Kids Fighting: A True Story

Johnny started Little Dragons when he was four.  He did really well and listened to his teachers about not misusing his punches and kicks.  He learned not to be one of those karate kids fighting for fun or ego. After a couple of months, he did great in sparring, blocking what was thrown at him, and hitting his targets.

Then one day Johnny went with his mom to a restaurant that had a kids’ play area.  He loved to climb and play, so off he went while Mom took care of ordering food and watching Baby Brother.  What Johnny’s mom saw next alarmed and dismayed her: two bigger boys were standing on each side of Johnny, punching and kicking him, while Johnny stood there and took it. He refused to be one of those karate kids fighting.  Mom told the boys to stop it and called Johnny to her.

Important Talk on Karate Kids Fighting

While they ate, she asked, “Why were those boys hitting and kicking you?”

“I don’t know, they just came up on each side of me and started hitting,” said Johnny.

“Did you tell them to stop?”


“Why didn’t you hit back?  You’ve learned how in Karate,” Mom said.

“I didn’t want to get in trouble.” Johnny knew he was not supposed to be one of those karate kids fighting.

“You could block.  You can always protect yourself.”

Karate Kids Fighting in Self-Defense

Then Mom told Johnny her view, which is what we karate teachers (at East Valley Martial Arts) always ask parents to do.  We know some parents would only like their kids to block and not strike back to other kids, and that is their prerogative.

Johnny’s mom, even though they practiced a peaceful religion, told Johnny that if someone was striking him, she wanted him to strike back, to get the person to stop.  She told him that if someone started a fight with him, she wanted him to finish it. In that case, it was okay to be one of the karate kids fighting.

Very importantly, Johnny’s mom told him she would always back him up.   He would not get in trouble with her for defending himself, even if it meant hitting another.  She said that when he went to school, if he had to fight to defend himself, and if he got in trouble with the teacher or principal, she would come in and talk to them and support Johnny in protecting himself and even protecting other innocent kids, if that was needed.

Support for Karate Kids Fighting in Defense

That was Johnny’s mom’s viewpoint.  It is very important that parents talk to each of their Karate kids about this, express their beliefs, and tell how their child can apply those beliefs. Especially when it comes to the issue of karate kids fighting.

In an effort to prevent violence, school policies these days tell kids that anyone caught fighting will be in big trouble.  They will be suspended, even if they didn’t start it and are only hitting in self defense.   Unfortunately what can happen is well-behaved kids take the rules to heart and kids who start fights don’t care about rules.  Then if physically assaulted, a good kid feels they must take it in order to follow the rules.  Kids are tough, but I feel that is child abuse.  We all have the right to defend ourselves.

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