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Karate school teaches kids to foil abductors

Posted November 25, 2009

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— A karate studio in north Raleigh is teaching children that having confidence and creating a commotion can scare away potential kidnappers.

Kids learn self-defense at karate studio Kids learn self-defense at karate studio

Instructors at Karate International, 4720 Hargrove Road, said parents should start talking to their children about strangers at a young age.

"My recommendation is even at 3, 3½ (years old) to start with them, gently telling them what the rules are," said instructor Rob Olevsky. He compared teaching children about strangers to such lessons as "what's hot and what's cold and don't run among the cars."

Delphine Peller said she encouraged her 8-year-old daughter Zoe, who has a black belt, to learn karate for self-defense.

"Having these skills, I know that she has options and that she may not panic," Peller said.

Confidence is the first key to escaping a child abductor, instructors said. Students indicated they have learned to be wary.

"You have to be very careful about where you are and what's around you," Zoe said.

"He looks very nice, but he can just take you away to an ice cream shop and then kidnap you," said 11-year-old karate student Neel Patel, who is a deputy black belt.

Instructors teach practical ways to get away from an abductor, including breaking their grip and squirming. "You run away and find an adult and tell them what's happening," Neel said.

If they can't get away, children should create as big a commotion as possible to alert nearby people that they're in danger.

Olevsky demonstrated a "safety stance," in which a child thrusts his arms straight out and gives a direct, loud command to stop. If all else fails, a child can drop to the ground and start kicking and screaming.

"You can scream as much as you want just to get other people's attention, so you can actually get rid of him," Zoe said.

Instructors said that parents should engage their children in an ongoing discussion about safety.

"I've always spoken to her about it and answered her questions honestly," Peller said.

"It's important, because you never know when someone is going to try to come behind you and try to take you away. But you always have to be prepared for the unknown," Neel said.

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  • headlong Nov 25, 2009

    Sketch is it is wonderful Art...BUT like Kittiboo said...it is a displine, respect, and a Code of Ethics they are taught and must live by not only in the Class but at home and school. You must earn and be tested for each level and not just handed to you. They do not fight because they have the knowledge...they protect themselves because they have the knowledge.

  • headlong Nov 25, 2009

    I have 2 Children in Karate and I feel confidant that my Teenager can handle herself in any situation. The 6 year old has been almost a year and is doing very well. In this day and age it is important for them to learn how to protect themselves!!!

  • kittiboo Nov 25, 2009

    sketch, have you attended a children's martial arts class? The ones I have seen teach discipline and respect, two things which are SORELY lacking in today's youth. It may very well be a far cry from the original marial arts training, but if kids enjoy it and learn valuable skills such as how to keep themselves safer, then I think it is fantastic.

  • sketch Nov 25, 2009

    these things are a joke, just like the use of colored belts and all this cookie cutter martial arts schools popping up in every other strip mall...such a shame how a once great skill has been all kinds of messed up with the eastern society and money making schemes

  • spccomputech Nov 25, 2009

    Do what now?

  • PHXNJNC Nov 25, 2009

    This man is EXCELLENT! I learned "Danger Stranger" from the Demarest, New Jersey Police when I was young-it STICKS WITH YOU!
    Lots of similarity of what is being taught !
    Best of luck to this Karate school and the program!