Fighting should be taught to children in schools

Clark Chamberlin, Opinions Editor

The streets were dark. He knows he’s in danger. Looking around him, he could see nothing but shadow him. All around him, there could be anything lurking and he’d have no idea. He felt something. An arm comes around his neck, his back pressing up against his assailant, he struggles and writhes to get out of his grasp, trying to pull the arm down, but it’s no use. He succumbs and passes out. John Fictionalmann becomes a missing person report.

If only he knew how to defend himself.

Martial arts are ancient and venerated practices that not only teach you how to handle yourself when in physical danger, but can also boost your confidence and self-esteem, provide exercise, increase hand-eye coordination, quicken reflexes, improve balance and awareness, and even promote higher cognitive function. By learning martial arts, you become stronger, smarter, safer, healthier, and happier. In addition, martial arts are a perfect physical outlet for people who are averse to playing traditional sports. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of playing most sports, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my nearly decade so far achieving a brown belt in Chinese Kenpo.

Despite my physical and experiential disadvantages in a fight against the typical assailant, due to what I’ve done in the studio, I have an upper hand in nearly any physical encounter. It’s my belief that, given the knowledge that I’ve learned and am learning, a 5”2’ overweight 60-year-old, who has never been in a fight, has a decent chance at beating Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson simultaneously in under ten seconds.

Obviously, the effects of learning a martial art, even at a basic level, are indisputably great. Certainly, everyone and their mother should spend at the very least an hour learning the basics, so why not schedule a free 30-minute lesson at the studio I’ve been going to all my life, Tracy’s? They’ll teach anyone at their own pace in private, individual lessons between the ages of six and dead. Private lessons in karate are as important as private lessons in playing an instrument and are necessary for any decent understanding of any martial art.

In addition to going to private lessons yourself, why not call for greater education on self-defense?

Schools are places where children go to learn. I don’t think I need to go into detail about what terrible violent non-learning activities go down tragically often at schools. Furthermore, I don’t think I need to go into detail about what terrible violent activities go down outside of schools. While at these schools, if children learn how to protect themselves with martial arts, then in addition to expending some of the endless abundance of energy kids have, and in addition to all of the other aforementioned benefits, children will be able to withstand some encounters that even many adults are incapable of retaliation against. If schools brought in a bunch of martial arts instructors for PE to work one on one (or two) with students, parents taking their kids to the park wouldn’t have to worry about them being left unattended, and the kid would experience incredible benefits from learning Karate both inside and outside of a fight.

I already know what the primary concern of teaching kids how to fight will be: they’ll fight. I say they won’t. Learning violence does not cause violence. In fact, I would think it would prevent it. If some bully wants to hurt another kid in school, if they both know some karate, the bully will know that whatever he does to attack the kid, he’ll get his ass handed to him. Even if the bully is bigger, stronger, more experienced, or whatever, he won’t be able to lay a finger on his target. It’s called “self-defense,” not “other offense.” Self-defense (at least what my brown belt’s worth of experience knows of) is not the easiest thing to translate into an offensive attack, at least not without advanced knowledge and experience that even after a decade I still don’t fully possess. Nearly all the various techniques are about what you do after someone else starts an altercation. Two people with roughly equal martial arts knowledge, even across different disciplines, would never attack the other because as soon as one makes a move, he’ll regret it.

Go to Tracy’s, learn how to survive a fight, become safe for the first time in your life, bring everyone you know with you, and convince strangers to do the same. Hopefully, if enough people get behind this, you won’t endure John Fictionalmann’s fate.