One man’s crusade to help kids stay safe
CHILDREN TO LEARN SELF-DEFENCE
A MARTIAL arts instructor is ensuring even the smallest children can look after themselves.
Mick Farrow, 57, is starting the Street Wise Kids course, which aims to teach five to 15-year-olds stranger danger awareness.
The techniques he will teach to keep children include safety words to make sure they are being picked up by the right person, how to safely use their smartphones while out and about, and self-defence basics.
He explained there is a need for children to be more able to protect themselves: “There are risks all over the place. It’s always best to have a little bit of knowledge.
“I did a stranger danger course a few months ago and it was pretty well attended.
“The parents come along too and we also advise them because they don’t realise that getting t-shirts with the child’s name on means that anyone can shout their name out and pretend to know the child.
“It’s always best to have a little bit of extra knowledge.”
Mick, from Gateshead, has previously taught self-defence courses for the elderly, where participants learned how to stop attackers using their walking sticks.
He now has plans to start a fitness class for pensioners, where they will use their walking sticks to stay healthy – aptly named Fit Sticks.
The karate professional stresses the classes will not teach children to fight.
“I tell everyone that the best selfdefence in the world is to run away. If you have to hit then run away, but the best thing to do is to talk your way around it. “If you can’t talk your way out of it then you have to use justifiable reasonable force.
“We don’t teach them to fight, we teach self-defence – hitting is the very last resort.”
He explained the simplest decisions can make kids a lot safer: “Self-defence is common sense.
“Walking home and there’s a shortcut and it’s MICK FARROW night time, and it takes you away from the public street to save five or 10 minutes, don’t do it.”
Mick believes these skills should be taught in schools, but it’s not just protecting your body.
“Everybody needs some form of self-defence training. Even if you have to do it in your own house.
“Self-defence isn’t just for your body – you need to make sure your doors are locked in your home too.”
The course will cost £8.50 per child, with classes starting on October in Felling Community Centre.
Maintaining the abilities learned in the classes is important too.
“Being a black belt is like a pile of boiling water, as soon as you take the boiling water off the heat, it’s not boiling it’s just a pile of water.”
Mick Fallow is starting a new self-defence/street awareness class for kids, and has been teaching karate for years