Empowering Your Child to Avoid Danger

Empowering your child to avoid danger is the way forward. A child knows the abductor 52% of the time. The stranger danger concept is flawed. An alternative approach is needed if we are to protect children from harmful adults.

Saying No

Saying “no” is a skill that all children should learn. A child learns that he has rights when he starts to say no. The word no can help children to avoid dangerous circumstances.

When forced to cuddle or make any physical contact, a poor message is being embedded despite all innocent intentions.

Compliance is essential but choice is equally important. Choice shows children their rights and gives them a place to say no without judgment.


It is essential to have frequent conversations with your children. Conversation is a key skill in life. A child can only get what he or she needs through conversation and conversation is the ideal pathway into expressing thoughts.

Good conversation skills can help a child to resolve conflict. It is also crucial that a child learns to talk to adults. Talking to adults is important for reporting abuse of suspicious people.

A family meal is highly effective at developing conversation skills. Comradeship can be built, talking skills may develop and problematic incidents can be identified just through a simple bite to eat together. So get around the table!

Gut Feelings

Expressing gut feelings is very important at childhood. This is potentially the most prominent of empowering your child to avoid danger. More often than not, a gut feeling can rescue someone from harms way.

Empowering Your Child to Avoid Danger

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A Diary for Your Protection

This post entitled “A Diary for Your Protection” has been provoked by various incidents. The influencing factors includes first time students who have struggled with bullying and recent news.

Keeping a diary for your protection can be useful in two specific scenarios. Bullying can take place as emotional or physical abuse. In 2017, Harvey Weinstein has had action taken against him for sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is emotionally and physically damaging.

The initial counter is always the same. A diary must be kept.

Why Is Keeping a Diary Important?

A diary can help spark a persons memory when reporting incidents. The diary allows a victim to record all details of an event. Not only does a diary aid in dealing with ones abusers but it can combat corruption.

What Information do We Need to Log?

Reports in your diary should include the following sections:

  • Time and Date
  • Exact location (e.g. school canteen/ at work in my boss’s office)
  • Harmful words use
  • Destructive actions
  • What you did next
  • Who you told and their reaction
  • What was done about the event
  • How it’s had an effect on you

Diaries do not solve the problem. However, they are essential tools for solving the problem. Consider the diary as a hammer and consider the incident as a nail!

This is not the first time I’ve mentioned diaries and it won’t be the last.

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Child Safety During the Holiday

So, it’s officially the most wonderful time of the year and I know that your kids are itching to go carol singing door to door. Therefore, lets talk about child safety during the holiday season. There’s a few simple factors to consider…

Think of the child’s age!

Age has a role to play in supervision. Is your child younger than 8? Maybe it’s a great idea to supervise your child as he or she goes door to door.

Age determines boundaries. Younger children need to avoid crossing the road and venturing too far from home.

Consider the numbers!

How many children are caroling with your child? Don’t let your child go caroling alone.

Will your child have company right the way up until walking through the front door of your house?

Remember, safety in numbers.

Think of the community!

A small town makes it easier to find your child during an emergency. A larger town means stronger boundaries.

Remember, not everyone will appreciate carol singers. If you know of any house that will be offended by this practice, ensure that your child does not go there.

I’m not trying to be a buzz kill!

Honestly, I want you all to have a fun and festive winter and the advice I’m giving you will help you to avoid misfortunes. That concludes the post “Child Safety During the Holiday.”

Speak soon and hey, ensure you come by to see us soon!

Coach GRJ

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A Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Bullies

A Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Bullies is one of my most important posts. Please share it via the Facebook link below the post. Many parents will definitely benefit from its advice.

Thanks in advance and I appreciate your continued support.

Coach GRJ

Full disclosure, I’m not a parent. I have a nephew and a niece. The thought of them being victimized by some undisciplined little brat infuriates me. However, below we have a parent’s guide to dealing with bullies.

Frequent Communication is Essential

There should be great communication in the household. Family time is key. I’ve written to my newsletter subscribers about the power of a family meal on many occasions as well providing a parent’s guide to dealing with bullies. A daily ritual of eating around the table will build comradeship between you all and will develop better judgment of character. Therefore, when a child is acting out of character, you’ll notice quicker.

Remain Calm

If your child approaches you about an incident at school, don’t show upset or anger. After all, it took great courage on your child’s behalf to mention what happened. Instead, demonstrate calmness and a pro-active mentality.

I would recommend asking the child how he or she would like you to take it forward. You’ll still have the final say but you’ll prevent your child from panicking about the situation escalating.

It Is Important to Keep Notes

As soon as you hear about these scenarios, grab a notepad and pen, and document these issues. Record dates, times, locations and exactly what’s been happening. Also record any communication between you and the school. This includes who you talked to, the date and time of communication, how you communicated (phone or in person) and copies of emails.

Approach the Head of the School

When approaching the school, it’s tempting to charge into the head masters office. It may also be tempting to have a strong word with the bully’s parents. However, approach calmly. Whatever happens, get the schools attention every time there’s an incident.

Don’t ever be made to feel like a time waster!

Get Support for Yourself

A Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Bullies

You need support too as the thought of your child being bullied is hurtful. Speak to friends who don’t have children in the same school that your child goes too. This is a simple precaution as you don’t want the issue to spread further.

Know When to Take it Higher

If the school is not dealing with the situation, you should contact the school governor. The governor may keep the matter between the headmaster and him/herself but will investigate why the dilemma hasn’t been resolved. Again, record all communications in your diary.

If the governor fails you, report to the local council. When doing this, present your documented notes, ask if other bullying cases have been reported from the school and request a formal investigation.

At this stage, start speaking to other parents. If multiple children are being picked on by the same bully, your case will be stronger and you’ll have more support.

Keep documenting, keep communicating and if nothing happens, keep going higher.

I hope this post “a parent’s guide to dealing with bullies.” Here we have a link to a fantastic charity called Bullies Out. This is another great resource for advice: https://bulliesout.com/

Speak soon

Coach GRJ

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The Difference Between Semi-Contact and Olympic Taekwondo

I commonly have people ask me what the difference between semi-contact and olympic taekwondo is. After explaining it to many new students, I’ve decided to open up the lap top and scribble out a post to explain it.

What Style of Taekwondo Does West Coast Taekwondo Practice?

At West Coast Taekwondo, we practice the semi-contact style. I love our style of Taekwondo. Yes, we have the flashy kicks. However, we kick butt with our hands too. Here’s a run down on our scoring system…

Head and body punch = 1 point

Body kick = 2 points

Head kick = 3 points

Our equipment includes a gum shield, head guard, boxing gloves, ground guard, shin guards and foot pads. 

How is the Olympic Style Different?

The Olympic style was created after a feud between the Korean government and the founder of Taekwondo, General Choi Hong Hi. It has a different scoring system…

Head punch = an instant disqualification! 

Body punch = 1 point

Direct body kick = 1 point

Spinning body kick = 2 points 

Direct head kick = 3 points

Spinning head kick = 4 points 

(This changes consistently so the above information may already be outdated!) 

The Olympic style has slightly different equipment. They have a head guard, gum shield, body protector, forearm protectors, groin guard, shin guard, hand protectors (not to be confused with boxing gloves) and foot protectors. 

It’s a little more to take in but simple enough to to understand. What complicates the Olympic style is its electronic scoring technology. If you don’t hit hard enough or if you’re not precise with your kicks, you won’t score. 

The Olympic style has been criticised for not being a great spectator sport. Personally, I believe that what we do is far more entertaining to watch but I am biased! However, I still appreciate the alternative style of Taekwondo as a great show of athletic capability. 

In Conclusion

So, for my students who get asked about the different styles, you can tell people that it’s like Rugby. Rugby League and Rugby Union are both still Rugby but they have a different set of rules and regulations. Whenever someone asks me what the difference between semi-contact and olympic Taekwondo is, I find the rugby analogy to be very helpful.

Many may wonder if it is possible to transfer from one style to another. Why yes it is! In fact, double gold medal Olympian Jade Jones used to be apart of the TAGB. 

Speak soon warriors! 

Coach GRJ 

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Taekwondo Builds Confidence

Here’s an action shot from the fountains of Barcelona at a Taekwondo summer camp in 2011. This is me and my old team mate John Creg showing off our side kick.

Taekwondo Builds Confidence

Taekwondo really can take you all over the world if you put in the time and effort, but I want to talk about one short term benefit that our junior students prosper with. Confidence! 

Here are just 5 ways Taekwondo helps our students to excel in confidence…

Learning self defence

It is crucial for your child to feel safe in his/her own home town, school or anywhere else they may go. Feeling safe is the initial step towards more confidence. 

Building friendships 

WCTKD allows students to interact through skill building activities. New friendships are inevitable at our clubs and friendships build self esteem. 

Skill development

Students are always developing new skills. At first they block, kick and strike. They master the technique. They get faster, stronger and learn to apply it in a combat scenario. The more they learn, the higher their sense of achievement is. 

Belt gradings

Speaking of achievements, we have a belt ranking system. Therefore, our students get internal rewards and external rewards. These belts often bring validation from others which heightens the sense of achievement further. 

Improved fitness

No, we are not task masters who want your kids to sweat buckets every hour they are with us. That is no fun for anybody. However, stronger muscles and a lower body fat are associated with practicing Taekwondo. It pretty much happens by accident! 

So, bring your kid along to see us. Especially if he or she is having confidence issue. Just click here for 2 FREE LESSONS. 

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Speak soon warrior,

Coach GRJ 

Strength Training for Kids

Strength training for kids can be a complicated subject so I’d like to welcome you to keep an open mind whilst reading this blog post. 

Strength Training for Kids

To keep your legs elevated in the position you see above is a difficult task due to the need for good flexibility and a very strong set of thigh muscles to maintain this posture. I’ve been going to the gym for many years and I can tell you, nothing burns like this! 

Taekwondo has made me so much stronger. It’s encouraged. To this day, the first thing that a white belt must do to pass his or her first grading is 10 strict push-ups.

People often debate about the effects of strength training for kids so this post is dedicated to diving into the research. 

A Consideration for Healthy Joint Development

Rugby coaches are often the worst culprits because they advised children to stay away from picking up weights but then force them into hundreds of push ups and crunches during practice. This can result in joint issues that are associated with imbalances. Think about it. Push-ups work the chest, crunches work the abs. This develops that hunched over monstrous posture. Adding a few rowing acting no with Dumbbells and a few squats and lunges can help to counteract these deformities. 

Technical Enhancement for Safety

The next step is to consider the intensity. A child should never break his or her technique as this can lead to injury. If the child cannot perform the exercise properly, the chances are, they are either not strong enough in the first place or they have been trained too hard. 

An Example Strength Training for Kids Workout

I never like to exceed 2 sets for anyone under the age of 16. Furthermore, I don’t feel that it is necessary for anyone under 16 to perform more than 3 exercises per workout. 

Take a look at this example:

The initial exercise  is 2 sets of 8 push. Secondly, practice 2 sets of 8 bent over row and to finish, perform 2 sets of 8 lunges on each leg

Final Notes

Remember that using additional weight is never the issue. Better muscle density, more muscle tone and additional cardiovascular work can be impacted by resistance training. Too much intensity at a young age must be avoided otherwise there is a chance that physical development will be impaired. 

I hope this gives you food for thought and I’ll speak to you next week! Always feel free to get in touch.

Coach GRJ

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Master Few, Not Many

 A consistent trend I’ve seen between many of the top fighters is their ability to master few, not many. As Bruce Lee once put it…

“Fear the man who has practiced one technique a hundred times, not the man who has practiced a hundred techniques.” 

By doubling down on your strengths, you see a drastic acceleration in the improvement of accuracy, power and speed. All traits needed is a fighter is to win. If a fighter thinks to broad and practices multiple techniques, he or she will not develop at the same speed. Narrow your focus.

“But Geth, we won’t be any good at our other skills?”

I see where your coming from but if your choose the right techniques to master, the other techniques will follow. For example, a side kick is great to practice on a regular basis as it can be used to attack and defend in an effective manner. Our coach Master Peros once said to me “a good side kick will get you out of any trouble.”  

I noticed that once I developed my side kick, my hips became more flexible, my thighs and glute muscles got much stronger and my supporting leg became much more stable. This resulted in an improvement in my hock kicks and turning kicks. I also believe that an axe kick is good to practice as it aids in the development of hamstring flexibility. 

So again, master few, not many. 

You may be working hard in class but please note, it only takes 5 minutes each day to see a drastic improvement in your skills. Choose one technique, even if you’re doing it because it’s your favourite, and master it. 

See you next week warrior!

Coach GRJ

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Fights Are Lost on the Attack

It’s important to understand that fights are lost on the attack. Today’s post is reliant for those wanting to compete and to those who simply want to learn how to defend themselves. 

The Disadvantages of Attacking

I can spend my full rounds working the area, moving and avoiding with no contact with my opponent what so ever. If I’m close enough to block a technique, the chances are, I’m planning on landing a strike. 

It’s important to remain close whilst attacking. When the strike reaches out, it must be done with precision and speed. You can expose yourself to being stuck yourself if this isn’t the case. By jabbing, your ribs are open. Whilst kicking, your balance is worse as your are only standing on one leg. 

A fighter is always most venerable when he or she is attacking. That is how fights are lost on the attack

Street Application

It’s always better to walk away from a threatening situation on the street. Your strike better be a good one if you’re going to strike at all! This knowledge is an advantage due to our ability to strike an opponents open guard. If someone approaches you in an aggressive manner (I.e. They are planning to attack), they need to step in your direction. This exposes their leg to an effective kick to the thigh or knee. This will instantly inhibit an opponents ability to attack you and expose them to a follow up punch to your preemptive strike.

The moral of the story is, the most aggressive fighter is not necessarily the most effective one. 

See you in class warrior! 

Coach GRJ 

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Block or Move

Do we block or move? We need to unravel the advantages and disadvantages of each. 

What is Blocking?

A block is simply a technique that involves moving a limb to defend against an attack. So, if someone throws a punch, we can divert it by blocking with our forearm. 

What Movement is Involved in Martial Arts?

Moving takes many different forms. We may Bob and Weave away from punches or step back away from kicks. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Blocking

Blocking is useful when you are boxed in. If your opponent traps you, you need to block his or her strikes. Blocking is also useful for planning an effective counter attack. This is b cause a block is performed at a close range to the opponent. 

Blocking may sometimes open you up. If you block, you alter your guard. If you do this, you may expose your face, ribs or another vulnerable area. Therefore, blocking must be used wisely. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Moving

Moving helps to combat the disadvantages of blocking. There is also less chance in bruising of the forearms as your body will not make contact with the opponent. However, you may often find that the safest movements will not get you close enough to your opponent to land a counter strike. 

This is more food for thought. Always know your intentions in sparing and in self defence situations. Remain mindful.

Coach GRJ

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