Let’s talk about a different purpose of the role of the martial artist.
Yes, we train for fighting. We know how to prevent a knife-wielding attacker from killing us. Our skill is a trade–should we ever find ourselves out of work. We know how to teach people to lose weight, build muscle, face their insecurities and fears. We are making ourselves and our student healthier and live longer. But there is something that we don’t talk about in the martial arts, that is far more important than all of this.
We protect our families. I am not referring to beating up muggers who try to take our wallets or threaten our families. I mean that we must make our families safe. I think I’ve told you before about a young rape victim who joined my school a few years ago: Her father is a Grandmaster.
I’ve taught guys whose Dads were martial art teachers. Young women whose boyfriends, husbands, brothers, cousins, uncles–sons–were martial artists. Why? Shouldn’t this segment of the market already know how to defend themselves? It should. But sometimes we are so wrapped up with work, teaching, paying bills, that we neglect to teach and protect those closest to us.
I just opened a new school and store in South Sacramento, just one exit down from my old location of 8 years. So, I’m passing out flyers almost every day in the morning before it gets too hot, and guess who I’m meeting?
Your kids. Your sons and daughters–even teenagers–at your homes. Anyone see a problem with that?
My children are 4, 10 and 11 and I will never allow them to be home alone. At that age, some parents believe they are old enough to be home alone but I don’t even believe a teenager should be home alone. Okay–maybe for a few hours–but never all day long, for weeks at a time. I’m sorry, but I know damn well none of you will leave your jewelry unattended all day long for weeks at a time, or your cars unlocked all day. Am I correct? Then why, my friends, are our children–our precious pearls that could not be replaced in a thousand years–home by themselves?
I’m going to spare you the parent-to-parent-scolding.
Wait, no I’m not.
Don’t you realize that there are men out here: Cable installers, maintenance men, landscapers, postal workers, even martial arts teachers–who go home at night and watch child pornography and other crazy stuff like that–and the only thing they need to go from voyeur to criminal is access to unsupervised children????
I have a question I ask my kids. I point to two men when we’re out, sometimes a homeless guy and then a guy who is nicely dressed… And I ask them, “which one looks like a child molester?” Do you know the correct answer?
They both do. Any man who is not their father is capable of being a molester. They can look like handsome models, they can look friendly grandfathers, they can look like ME–and no man is to be trusted. They are not to talk to any stranger when I or their mother is not around. Especially if they are at home. My children know this, do yours?
So, I’m passing out flyers, and these kids are so bored at home that when they hear my putting a flyer on their door they jump up to open the door and see what’s going on. Often, they will ask me about my classes. Very bad.
Just so you know, when a child approaches or calls you about martial art classes, don’t make conversation; tell them to have their parents call. Children should not be discussing business anyway.
I have had kids tell me they will tell their parents when they come home. That is bad too. Children should not be letting strangers know that there are no adults home. If they answer the phone and someone asks for mom or dad, they should say “mom/dad is busy”–never “not home”. Teach your kids that.
Which leads me to my next point. Why are these kids home alone? Young children are like cubs in the wild, vulnerable to prey. Did you think that the child predators will for some reason avoid your neighborhood? Even teenagers should not go without supervision. Maybe they are old enough to fight, but teenagers could still be seduced by smooth talkers, even other teenagers. With the music they listen to, the sex scenes in every movie that comes out, the way they are dressing and dancing these days… do you really think your teenagers don’t need supervision? All children have to have a responsible, trustworthy adult around them. Period.
The Solution: In every circle of families, there has to be a stay-home mom or other responsible adult. Let’s say there are five kids in your circle, various ages. Each family pitches in $50 per week, per kid, plus a donation of food, drink and a little entertainment money. If somebody has to, let that parent use your minivan Monday thru Friday for transportation (or trade cars). The kids won’t be bored, I guarantee it. They will have playmates. They will have transportation to the park, mall, library, etc. They will have adult supervision, and you don’t have to worry. And on top of that, the family that is on a one-parent income will have an extra $1,000 a month. Problem solved. The predators won’t have access to your kids, and summer won’t be as long and boring as it normally is.
Oh, the teenagers… Okay if there are a couple of teenagers in the group, then each family should throw in an extra $20 a week (five families = $100) to be split and paid to the teens for helping with cooking, supervising and cleaning. What teen is going to turn down $50 of easy money? And trust me, they will have their hands full and can’t play doctor while they are dealing with kids from 5 families…
My brothers, this has to be done. You must put priority on educating your children about strangers. No one is to be trusted. You won’t allow strange people to drive you car, why give them access to your children while you’re not home? If you can afford to, then see if your neighborhood has a day camp. This is the one thing I won’t criticize the McDojos for: There is definitely a need for a safe place for kids to hang out, even if they are learning mediocre martial arts. 😉
Lecture is over, stepping down from my soapbox. Thanks for visiting my blog.