7 yr old grandson has been In karate about 4 classes now. He used what he learned on my 3 yr granddaughter.I think he needs to learn when to use what he learns. His mother lets him get away with murder bc she feels sorry for him bc his real father has been absent since he was 3. My granddaughter needs to learn to protect herself from her bully brother. Is 3 yr old too young to learn self defense?? She is very smart compared to most her age.

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    After 4 lessons there are really a few chances that whatever he learned can be more harmful than what he already knew before... There's also very few chances that whatever your granddaughter might learn can be of use before years of training. The real issue here is the age (hence, strength) difference and the non-punished bullying. If anybody should learn anything, that would probably be that mother...
    – Laurent S.
    Dec 6, 2019 at 13:11
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    Karate is not a weapon. Your grandson should be disciplined for his actions. It is not appropriate to assault another person, regardless of age. Dec 6, 2019 at 20:32
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    If you have an answer, please use the answer box. :) Dec 7, 2019 at 1:58
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    Since his mother lets him get away with it: can you make contact to the karate teacher and ask him to add as lesson about responsible usage of the new skills and about who is an appropriate sparring partner and who isn't?
    – Arsak
    Dec 8, 2019 at 9:32
  • Is that not simply against the Principles of Karate? Dec 12, 2019 at 10:07

1 Answer 1


As Ian MacDonald said in the comments, your grandson should be disciplined. He needs to understand that hitting people is wrong (except in self defence).

Having your granddaughter learn some karate is not the answer for the following reasons:

  • She is physically weaker and less coordinated than your grandson. There is no realistic prospect of her being able to fight your grandson off.

  • Teaching her self defence as a remedy is sending the message that if she cannot fight him off then it is her fault for not being better at fighting than he is, so it is really a subtle form of victim-blaming.

  • Your grandson will get the same message; its OK to hit her because its her fault she is too weak to fight him off.

  • Children need protection from the dangers of the world around them. That is the responsibility of the adults, not the children.

  • Bullying is child abuse; if someone punches you then it hurts just as much, regardless of how old the fist was. If an adult hit your granddaughter I am sure you would immediately phone the police. It shouldn't be tolerated just because the abuser is also a child.

That isn't to suggest that children should not learn how to defend themselves, but it must be in a context where it is the last line of defence after the adults have failed, not the first and only line.

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    Your rite @ Paul Johnson thank you. I agree with you totally. But when I stressed to the mother and she rolls her eyes. Is when I thought about putting my granddaughter in self defense. I can’t be here all the time. It’s turned around that I’m taking up for her. I decide to call the karate class and speak to the teacher. Stress to him the importance of him telling his students and their parents when is appropriate and when not to use what he is teaching. Ty
    – Matilda
    Dec 20, 2019 at 3:41
  • @Matilda Good idea. When teaching kids - particularly younger kids - any form of martial arts, physical-contact sport, etc. then it's very important to teach that there is a time and place for using these skills, and how to recognise it. If your grandson has not learned this, then that needs to be remedied, and that lesson will probably be most effective if it comes from his karate instructor, because it sends the message that learning when to use karate (and when not to) is an integral part of learning karate. From anyone else, it's just an attempt to restrict this fun new thing he's learned. Jan 17, 2020 at 11:16

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