David Goldberg, The Monitor January 19, 1993
Following the popularity of their woman’s self-defense courses, the town of Montreal West will soon be offering a similar program for youngsters aged 10 to 13.
“We’ve been getting a steady 10 to 12 women per session for the self-defense program,” said Steve Arsenault of the Recreation Department. “That’s pretty much what we expected, but we anticipate we’ll get even more children for their program.”
Like the woman’s program, the kids self-defense course will be taught by George Manoli, whose programs have been very well received wherever he has instructed.
“I’m looking forward to trying this because there aren’t any real self-defense courses for kids. There are karate courses which are wonderful, but they’re not really good in the case of assaults,” said Manoli, himself a former karate teacher.
However, unlike the woman’s course which deals mainly with fending off attacks, the children’s course will also focus on the psychology of attacks against youngsters.
“In 1986, there were 250,000 reports of sexual abuse against children. And statistics show that 75 percent of those were done by someone the child knew,” said Manoli. “The children are lured by adults who then may threaten their victims. The children fear thay may have done something wrong and that their parents won’t believe them. Parents have to keep reinforcing their love towards their children, so the children will tell them if something happens.”
Each session will begin with a question and answer period, to be followed by what Manoli calls, “The Golden Rules to Personal Safety.”
The session continues with hands-on simulations and case studies.
“The children will come in their school clothes and with their backpacks and we will simulate real situations they may find themselves in. Like in the woman’s course, we’ll teach them to target three areas during an attack: the eyes, nose and groin. They don’t have time during the attack to do other things,” said Manoli.
“We’ll also read them case studies of attacks that have happened to kids. Together, we’ll identify the mistakes made by the victims and we’ll ask them what they would have done differently.”
The sessions end with assignments, which include tips for the youngsters and their parents. The children are then expected to think of other safety tips, with the help of the parents.
The course begins on Jan. 21 and will continue for another five weeks. The sessions run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. each Thursday at Royal West Academy, and costs $65 for residents and $75 for nonresidents.