One man’s cru­sade to help kids stay safe

CHIL­DREN TO LEARN SELF-DE­FENCE

Sunday Sun - - News - By Amanda Cash­more Reporter Amanda.Cash­more@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.”

TOM BANKS

Mick Fal­low is start­ing a new self-de­fence/street aware­ness class for kids, and has been teach­ing karate for years

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