Self-defense comes in many forms and is a valuable aid in deterring bullies.
When thinking about self-defense, it's natural to imagine blocking kicks and punches, disarming would-be attackers of their weapons or incapacitating the attacker to allow for escape. However, self-defense that is verbal in nature is much more likely to result in a favorable outcome in many situations.
The development of verbal defense skills should go hand and hand with that of physical defense skills; using the former often can prevent the need for the latter. This might be the reason that children who learn self-defense become more assertive and less aggressive, according to many studies. Those skills complement one another.
As effective as it might be, verbal self-defense must be practiced in order to become second nature and easily accessible to a person in the moment.
Setting up practice scenarios with children that are realistic and applicable to daily life is integral to preparing a child to handle a verbal attack.
Without practice, a child might resort too quickly to physical violence or, alternatively, might try to ignore repeated bullying, hoping that it simply will dissipate. With practice, every child can learn a response that might deter an attacker or change the course of an event, by learning to craft responses that do not reward or reinforce the attacker and that don't perpetuate their place as the victim.
Lee is the master instructor and owner of the U.S. Taekwondo Center in Monument and is a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo.