Child Safety Resources for Parents

I have become exceedingly disenchanted with industrious schools in the martial arts community that capitalize on fears about childhood safety. These schools attempt to snare parents through the guise of “free” workshops. The workshops essentially turn into self-serving marketing ploys to sign up the child for long-term taekwondo or karate classes, and they do not thoroughly address the variety of topics that need to be studied to meet today’s safety challenges for kids.

Regretfully, children’s self-defense workshops often present scare tactics that play on parent’s fears just to elicit their eventual enrollment.


You may see these “Free workshop” signs in storefront windows of business & restaurants. Of course few business owners will turn away a request to promote these workshops because they are as concerned about child safety as the rest of us.

As a martial artist, I will candidly admit the last line of defense is a physical response. Child safety requires more than a 1-hour workshop about how to ward off an assailant. In my ongoing philosophy that “an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure” here are some helpful places that you can find good information on child safety at a reasonable cost:


* Yello-Dyno – Non-fearful, research-based, anti-victimization education for children. After one cycle of participation in the Yello Dyno curriculum 80.8% of the students tested demonstrated an increase in safety knowledge regarding the issues of bullies, abductors, violent kids, drug pushers, child abusers, sexual predators, and internet predators. Plus Yello Dyno is a child safety program that meets Federal and State mandates.


* DVDs & CDs such as these on child safety can be found at the Bellingham Public Library (210 Central Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225).

KidSmartz: Abduction Prevention” DVD
Give Your Kids a Fighting Chance!” DVD
Protecting the Gift” Book or CD Audiobook
The Internet and Your Child” website -a comprehensive Internet safety and education program for adults.


I trained at UMA on and off for several months and really enjoyed the experience. Previously I studied Shotokan karate for ten years in New Orleans and Muay Thai Kickboxing at another Bellingham school for a few months. I really appreciated Rob’s level of knowledge, training, and technical skill, and the way that he seamlessly combines traditional concepts and techniques with newer and less universal techniques. His classes are well-structured and I appreciated knowing how each class would proceed every evening – starting off with intensive conditioning and ending with the application and practice of core martial arts concepts. So in each class I was able to strengthen and condition my body, as well as practice sparring, working on combos, take-downs, etc. The instructor’s many years of experience are evident – he draws from his diversified and extensive experience regularly, exposing students to a wide range of information, resources, and making evident his impressive skill level.
The facilities are extremely clean, a rare thing in MMA gyms and martial arts schools. Everything has its place and is very organized. I was very impressed with the extensive array of equipment that is made available for the students to use.
While the classes are very structured, the environment is laid-back and casual; all are welcome to come and train and you aren’t made to feel inadequate. In fact, Rob customizes the classes to individual ability and levels of training. So while one group of more experienced students is performing a specific exercise, a newer group with less experience can still participate at a modified level.
The cost is unbeatable and only further serves to show the dedication of the instructor; he is doing this solely for his love of martial arts, not for the money. Having worked out at another local MMA gym where I was scammed out of more than $1,000, I really appreciate this about UMA.

~ Lindsay Hilton, freelance writer

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