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Self-defense for children

There are only a few techniques children can use to defend themselves, mostly because children are vulnerable. Children have less strength than a full-grown adult and can easily be overcome.

Therefore, self-defense for children should focus on escaping the situation as quickly as possible rather than trying to stand up against a powerful opponent. This is the safest way for children to protect themselves from harm.

Here are several techniques for children to defend themselves from strangers.

How to escape from a grip (1)

Stay calm and take the following steps to get away from a situation in which an opponent has a firm grip on your wrist.

1. The most important point in escaping from a firm grip on your wrist is to check which direction the opponent’s hand grabbing your wrist is open to. The opening of the grip is the direction of where the opponent’s fingers are overlapped. The opponent’s hand will be wrapped around your wrist. Usually it is close to the palm but open at the fingers. In pictures 1 and 2, the opponent’s hand grabbing the child’s wrist is open towards the left.

2. Once you check where the opponent’s fingers unfold, combine the strength of both arms by clasping your free hand on the forearm that is seized by the opponent.

3. Joining your free hand with the bound wrist, you can force your bound wrist free from the opponent’s grip by pushing both arms through the opening of the grip.

4. As soon as you are free from the grip, run away as fast as you can from the situation and request help from the nearest police station or adult nearby.

Children cannot break away from an adult’s grip by just pulling on the clasped arm because children are naturally weaker than adults. But by using both arms children can effectively escape from situations that can easily become dangerous.

By Seo Gyo-sun (

Seo Gyo-sun, an internationally certified Taekwondo Grand Master, judge and coach, holds a B.A. in taekwondo from Kyung Hee University. ― Ed.