As bad as last week’s horrific abduction, and dismemberment of 8-year old Leiby Kletzky in upstate New York was child abduction happens every day in America. Chris Sutton, a former street cop, maximum security prison guard, and black belt in multiple styles says, “Just do a Google News search for child abduction in the past 24-hours. Then it hits you how often this happens.”
Indeed, the Google search reveals page-after-page of abduction attempts, arrests, and murder. While the high profile cases like Kletzky and 11-year old abduction and murder victim Carlie Brucia from Sarasota, FL rise above the daily white noise of crime reporting, Sutton has been teaching kids how to avoid abduction for nearly a decade.
According to Sutton, in law enforcement, because they are smaller, lighter, and much weaker than adults a child is considered a soft target. Most attackers are adult males with deadly intentions and they have all the advantages.
Sutton has created a law enforcement based self-defense program called COBRA-Defense. Though he teaches COBRA at his martial arts school in Clearwater, FL, Sutton says that in order to really understand and teach self-defense you have to be brutally honest about the subject even if it means dispelling the myths of children’s self-defense taught in many martial arts schools.
Martial Arts is the Answer
Martial arts is one of the best activities you can involve your children for developing confidence, discipline, and coordination. However, child safety is not about punching a bag, performing kicks, breaking boards, or sparring in tournaments.
Most martial arts strikes by children will not stop or even slow down an adult attacker. In martial arts self-defense demonstrations there is a necessary “play along” by the adult attacker to make the child’s defense work.
A kick to the shin or even the groin will not stop an adult in the highly adrenalized state of abducting a child.
Kids Can Use Arm Locks and Joint Manipulations
Because they are much shorter than their adult attacker a child does not have the leverage to arm lock or manipulate joints. The exception may be pulling the attackers fingers against the joint.
Children Will Fight Back
Kids are conditioned from a young age to listen to adults. They are highly impressionable and by nature passive and seek adult approval. They have not yet developed the mental capacity to even understand what is happening during the abduction. This has been proven over and over again from tests on shows like Oprah, and ABC News to actual video tapes of abductions.
The first viral abduction video was Carly Brucia walking through a parking lot when a man walked up, grabbed her wrist and walked her to his car. They found her body days later. Carlie Brucia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJoID7VwRtM
So, what can kids do to save themselves? Sutton says they can do a lot but it has to happen at the initial point of contact. The bad guy always picks the time, the place, and the method of attack. We never have the advantage of knowing that in advance. However, we can help our kids learn strategies that will help them control the time and the place. In other words, taking a short cut behind a grocery store puts you in a bad place. That is what happened to Brucia, so prevention is first. Next, we cannot allow the bad guy to get us into his vehicle so we teach kids unique anchor techniques that keep them in the spot they are at and draw lots of attention to the situation which is the last thing a bad guy wants.