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 Post subject: Juniors and VSD
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2000 1:46 pm 
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Location: Brockton, MA, USA
Those of us who teach juniors (students ages 6-14) should be teaching children VSD skills.

When I ask the junior students "What are we learning to do at the dojo?" The most frequent answer is "We are learning to fight." I answer them back with "No, we are learning to defend against a physical attack, when someone wants to hurt us."

Fighting should only be a last resort.
Children should learn that 90% (or more, I do not have the exact statistics) of all fights start with some sort of argument. Learning to recognize that any argument could be a potential fight should be part of the curriculum. I teach my junior students that they should be saying "I do not want to fight you," if they are involved in a dispute that might lead to blows.

Do you tell your junior students this?
How do other teachers incorporate VSD skills in their curriculum for junior students?
Do you do scenario training with them?



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Len Testa


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 Post subject: Juniors and VSD
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2000 8:00 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LenTesta:

How do other teachers incorporate VSD skills in their curriculum for junior students?
Do you do scenario training with them? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Knowing how brutal kids can be, this makes lots of sense. Especially putting together scenerios that they can use to practice diffusion and VSD. We used to just teach "you aren't here to learn how to fight you're hear to learn how to stop the other kid from beating you up"... But that's a lot different than VSD skills. What kind of scenerio would you set up? At the younger ages, many haven't yet gained the skills of logic and diffusion. It'd be interesting to know how you go about teaching that and how successful you are. Good Luck.


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 Post subject: Juniors and VSD
PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2000 8:50 pm 
Better teach kids how to be good because you don't want them pointing the finger at the sensei of the dojo if they get in trouble for mauling someone.

I'm sensitive to NOT teach kids how to hurt people so I don't like to teach them how to fight; it's just not my bag and nothing against others who do because in a commercial dojo there is often no choice if you want to pay the rent, so on one hand teach them light fighting skills. The other hand holds discipline, kindness, and personality training; that is the hand which holds the treasure for the kids.


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 Post subject: Juniors and VSD
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2000 2:45 pm 
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I'm not an instructor Len but I have lent a hand when my young ones went through this stage, in fact I'm still teaching my own.

I really see the parents in the young people in there actions during class. I its hard to raise someone elses kid's and teach them VSD when the parents actually need it. When there 14 they know it all.

Money and staying afloat is one thing, doing what is right by refusing to teach the uncontrolable is another.


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 Post subject: Juniors and VSD
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2000 12:59 pm 
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First off, this thread is about children fighting other children. There will be another thread started about children verses adult attackers.

I try to ignor what the parents have already tried to teach their child about self-defense. If they were experts, they would not be bringing them to me.

I teach them how arguments can lead to fighting. I tell them that VSD must be learned and practiced constantly such as kata is.

My students get this talk from me in front of their parents at the end of the class while they are kneeling down in the cerimonial bow... I ask "Why are we learning karate?" they raise their hands. I pick one of the newest students and he/she ususually replies "To learn how to fight". I say "No, we are learning how to defend ourselves from a threat of injury upon us from someone who will try to cause us physical harm". Then I say, "Is an argument a threat of physical harm? Yes. If allowed to continue without trying to stop it, it will lead to a fight."
By hearing from their Sensei that they are allowed to defend with verbal skills, they will not be so eager to strike the other child.

Scenarios can be a very good learning tool for children. Children will repeat what they are shown. Children will argue with each other over anything. One argument between children that will often lead to violence is when one is confronted because he/she told an authority person that the confronter did something wrong. Squeeling so they say.

Get two students to come up in front of the class. Tell one student that the other told his/her parents that they did not do their homework assignment, and the parents grounded the student for a week causing him/her to miss a social event that they very much wanted to attend. I also tell the student that in no way will they let the other talk their way out of a fight, and to attack the other student when I give them a verbal signal. I tell the other student that he/she has told on the student and that they MUST try to talk their way out of a fight. Then they begin to act out the confrontation. First I let them go at it alone and try not to interfere. I take mental notes about their posture and stances and listen to what they say to each other. It is very interesting to hear what they say to each other and most of them come up with a very good argument. Then the squeeled on student attacks on my verbal command, and the other must defend. I let them fight for about a minute to see what the defender will try to do. We talk about what happenend and how the VSD did not work and what could we say otherwise that might make it work.

It is very important to teach them that they must be on guard all the time while arguing, and that VSD will not always work in every situation, but they must try this first.

We then repeat the scenario with two more students (BTW at this point they all raise their hands and want to be the arguers) and try to make VSD work by saying other things that we talked about. This time we make it work and there is no fight.

Be careful when using these scenarios. The children will want to be in the scenario that leads to a fight. Make them understand that the no fight scenario is the desired outcome.

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Len Testa


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 Post subject: Juniors and VSD
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2000 5:26 am 
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Last Thursday I worked this scenario again at the end of the class. Two 11 year old boys and then a 10 year old girl with an 8 year old girl.

The defenders were told they could not attack and the confronters were given a signal (word) from me to attack.

Both of the confronters were diligent in their arguments but the defenders, possibly knowing that this was just a drill, had their bodies in some compromising stances.

The boys were really acting it out well and when I gave the command word to the confronter to attack, the defender barely knew what was comming.

The girls reacted in the same manner. The defender constantly put her hands behind her back as she was arguing with her confronter.
She also moved forward closing the distance and was in striking range not knowing that was doing so.

I made note of the words they were using. "Why did you tell on me?" the confronter said. "Because I felt like it" the defender responded. "I don't care what you think." was a common phrase.

I showed the juniors their errors in their stances and distances while they were arguing, but the class was into overtime before we could practice the right way.

I suggest using at least 15 minutes of class time for this exercise.

The mother of one of my newest junior students congratulated me for doing this scenario training. She likes the principles of teaching children verbal self-defense and she now knows her child will understand that physical self-defense is a secondary and only if necessary fail safe method for solving disputes.

Try this in your dojo, the kids will like it as much as the parents.

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Len Testa


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