Should a child fight back in self defence when bullied?
This is a very common question that parents and students tend to ask. In Karate training the instructors always emphasize the importance of not using the techniques outside of training. So, it is expected that the student would ask what the whole point of learning a martial art was if they cannot use it? Even Akira Sensei from The Simpsons summarised it with, ‘We learn Karate, so we need never use it.’
A simple answer to this question is, it is contextual. At school fighting is not a condoned method of settling a disagreement or defending yourself. The students in question are encouraged to seek assistance from their teachers rather than take matters into their own hands (pardon the pun). It is fair enough that schools do not want to advocate physical violence and neither do martial arts schools so using your self defence techniques may not be appropriate in a school environment.
From a parent’s perspective is only natural for the parent to want their kids to be and feel safe. Children are often encouraged to stand up for themselves but at the same time, don’t want their kids to be the one that starts the fight.
Martial arts instructors take the perspective of preparing the students for the outside world by providing both physical and nonphysical methods of defending themselves whilst developing the attributes that will allow them to assess a situation and reason. The kids are encouraged to decide which method they should/shouldn’t use. This encourages problems solving and decision-making skills based on reasoning. Self-defence techniques, if analysed are usually situational and are deemed appropriate in life-threatening situations.