Here’s a photo of children screaming. Care to take a guess what it’s about, and is about to happen? Try a look at the full-size version.
It’s a self-defense lesson. The kids are being taught that when they’re scared of someone, they face them, they back up, they keep one leg back so they can’t be knocked over easily, they keep their hands up, and they scream like hell. First “Stop!” then “You’re frightening me!” and finally, if everyone’s ignoring another loud kid: “FIRE!”
You can’t imagine how much the kids love this drill. I’m not 100% sure why, but being praised for howling (louder is better) is one bit, and playing a threatening-adult game seems to go deep.
The context: It’s a birthday party, actually. A service offered by The Powerhouse, a Karate-centric dojo where one of our kids takes classes. At their “Karate birthday” you get to cut the cake with a real Samurai Sword! (Sensei, aside: “I got five of these things. People know I do martial arts, they think I must like swords. At least the kids at the parties do”.) But the kids have a good time with the self-defense and, well, it’s better to know it and not need it.
Seriously · I encourage every parent to sign their kid up for a martial art. They all have terrific fitness benefits and teach a bunch of valuable lessons, perhaps the most important being respect for accomplishment. Also, once they get to be teenagers, given that a certain proportion of teens have an apparently-built-in propensity for violence (strongly but not exclusively correlated with having a Y chromosome), martial arts are a constructive path for channeling that stuff in ways that rarely inflict permanent damage and (we can hope) teach useful lessons.