Click here for the liveleak.com video of the middle school student who opened fire at an American school in Monterrey, Mexico, injuring three students and a teacher before shooting himself. It’s gruesome stuff. But it does illustrate an important point: no one attacked the shooter — even when he paused to reload.

I’ve instructed my daughter to run or ambush, should she be faced with an active shooter in her school. I’ve also taught her to never, ever let anyone force her into a car. To take a bullet if that’s what it takes. And she’s starting Krav Maga (“contact combat”) training next week. Still . . .

I wonder if this incident indicates the amount of “fight” in our children, inculcated as they are with the philosophy of non-violence. I don’t “blame” anyone for not mounting a counter-attack, and I have no idea if my daughter would put my advise into action should push come to shove. Would your kids run or attack in this situation? Would anyone’s? And what of teachers?

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52 Responses to Question of the Day: Do Your Kids Know How to Fight?

  1. Good question. Of course my boys know how to fight — it’s all they do sometimes. But we’re talking schoolyard scrapping. I’ve given them some basics on how to break holds and incapacitate in detention-proof ways, but they’ve never done any life-or-death self defense training. Come t think of it, neither have I.

    • Not sure if ‘ability to fight’ is the right question. This video shows students obediently sitting at their desks, waiting for their classmate to walk up & shoot them in the head. What I want to teach my kids is, if a threat appears, don’t just sit there waiting for *someone else* to do something. MOVE! Attack! Run!

  2. You have to make sure your kids can think for themselves. It is fine to tell a 4 yo that the policeman is his friend, but you have to teach a grade school student to think for himself. Teachers will tell him he can’t fight back. A teacher in a bad situation may instruct them to do as the man says.
    Kids have to learn that all adults are not nessisarily good people and many might have good intentions, but if they tell you to do something that his parents wouldn’t, there is a problem and maybe you should run, hide, get behind a concrete post – no matter what the teacher says

  3. Running away is the best option… Not for saving lives, but saving their own life. As long as they don’t freeze.

  4. Funny part of this mess is I still work out on a heavy bag. My grandson just turned 4 wanted to learn to box. 2 months later get angry call from his daycare saying he beat up 2 kids. Went to day care saw video the 2 kids tried to bully him. My grandsons reply was to hit first kid 15 time and 2nd kid 9 times. The manager of daycare wanted me to punish him. Told her to kiss my ass

  5. Horrifying.

    On the question of training kids and teachers:

    One approach might be to have the kids do active shooter drills in like we do with fire drills. Teach them to identify the warning signs, teach them when to run and what to do when running isn’t the best option.

    Kids are tougher than we give them credit for. We should teach them about danger not hide them from it.

  6. I hate to say it but I do not know how to fight. I know how to use a gun but I never had any experience fighting. What would be a good place to start as far as getting a good base for how to end a street fight?

    • Get in one…..

      Or better yet, take up boxing in a gym and seek a sparring partner that’s better than you, and when you improve, seek another sparring partner.

      • Any martial arts class, boxing or otherwise, just so long as it involves a lot of paired sparring work, preferably with some free form stuff.

      • Even better, go on YouTube and watch the Gracie Challenge videos to see how even highly trained boxers, wrestlers, karate and kung fu practitioners and weightlifters are neutralized by the simple application of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques. The first rule of winning a fight you cannot avoid – never get into a situation of trading punches! If you are close enough to punch him (her), they are close enough to punch you, and it only takes one lucky tap on the right spot to put you out.

        Watch the movie “Red Belt” also available on YouTube (terrible copy and the ending is missing).
        Instructor’s advice to new student: “Stand over there – can I hit you?”
        Student: “No.”
        Instructor standing chest to chest with student: “Can I hit you from here?”
        Student: “No.”
        Instructor: “Where could you stand where I could hit you?”
        Student stands at arms length from instructor.
        Instructor: “Don’t stand there. End of first lesson.”

    • Apologies in advance for the length here.

      Ultimately you need to find a primary martial art that you like. It needs to work for you and you need to be confident that it works. Back in the 1990’s a lot of programs were single focus, that’s changed. Good schools these days will cross train with other schools/arts. Some might say you’re getting the best of multiple worlds but I would disagree with that. What you’re getting is the ability to tailor your game to your opponents game. You have to assume that the asshole on the street that wants to fight you knows something. While you’re not going to get to be a black belt in eight different martial arts you will have a lot of options if you cross train and that will give you a huge advantage.

      As a general rule you don’t play your opponent’s game. You don’t box a boxer or wrestle a wrestler because you’re walking right into their wheelhouse. Varying what you throw at the person will seriously screw with them. Go watch the Joe Rogan interview where he talks about being a US Champ headed for the Olympics in Taekwondo and getting his ass kicked by walking into a kickboxing gym. That’s where he decided cross training was a good idea. Now he holds black belts in Taekwondo, at least two forms of BJJ and… honestly I don’t remember but he’s a very, very well rounded fighter. Google his bar fight if you want to see what I mean.

      I recommend a gym that will give you three things:

      A ground game is, IMHO primary because more than 80% of street fights go to the ground and this will give you the ability to dominate in a position where most people are very uncomfortable. A good ground game will give you the ability to take people down pretty much at will. BJJ is the go-to for this. Screw wrestling. White belts with two months experience will tie wrestlers in knots. I’m not trying to shit on wrestling here. It’s just a very limited style because of the rules. There are no points for pinning someone’s shoulders in a street fight. This game should be mixed. Classic BJJ is great. It will teach you how to use clothing against people as well as your general grappling skills. However you want a place that offers “no gi” as well. BJJ is very flexible but you have to know how to get a hold of that guy who took his shirt off before you can whip his ass.

      A standing game: This is where you have a lot of options and I recommend a school that provides a mixture. While taking the person to the ground and ending the fight quickly is a great goal you have to know how not to get knocked out doing it and be prepared in case he has friends. Boxing, IMHO is too limited but a worthy cross training skill. Ideally you want something that gives you a number of tools and lets you see a lot of different attacks so you’ll know what they look like, that is, a form of kickboxing. Muay Thai, kickboxing etc. Avoid arts that take forever to get decent at and/or have a lot of flashy high kicks. Don’t get me wrong, landing a high kick will drop people but it’s risky and a low percentage shot to take. Low, side and front kicks do damage and make space if you need it without the added risk of a high kick. They’re also much higher percentage shots to take at someone. A lot of BJJ schools will cross train with Muay Thai. That’s fantastic. They’ll also incorporate Judo, regular old wrestling and other arts as well. This sort of mix is what you want. You’ll have a lot of tools and you’ll be less likely to be surprised by what someone else does if you’ve seen it, or something similar, before.

      Supportive players and instructors: Some places are really, really good. Of the four BJJ gyms I’ve trained at as I’ve moved around in the past six years three were good. One was total happy-day horseshit. Not every school is great, McDojo’s exist. My Karate school was similarly very good.

      My advice on how to determine this:

      Walk in and watch a beginners class in it’s entirety before you talk to anyone who works there. If, when things “go live” the Blue belts are just beating the shit out of the white belts and not offering them significant advice on how to get better, fuck that place. Blue belts should be stopping, explaining, demonstrating and allowing the White belts to practice. If they’re using their newbies as practice dummies for the Blue belts that are going to competition that’s basically the worst sign you could see. This sucks for both groups. The White belts get the shit kicked out of them with little support and the Blue belts think they’re badasses until they get to a competition. You want a place where you can stop rolling and ask a “How did you do that?” question in the middle of sparring/rolling. “How did you open my guard and pass like that?” is a question you’ll have and you need it answered. Ditto “How come I can’t choke you this way?”. Because you’re doing it wrong. You need to know how you’re doing it wrong before you go any further. You’re looking for a trend here. People nearing a belt promotion may not need such advice but if every higher belt is acting like this the school is not for you.

      Similarly, if everyone in a White belt sits on the wall while the Blue belts roll, fuck that place. You learn by doing, not by watching. Now, keep a close eye on this. Each belt level has promotions within it in most arts. These are demarcated by stripes on the belt. If the White belts sitting on the wall have no stripes but people with one stripe are allowed to roll, ASK about this. What are they looking for before they award that stripe? How long does it usually take? If the answer is more than three weeks of you coming in three times a week or more, walk away. This place will only frustrate you by teaching you things in slow motion and not letting you practice them against someone who’s resisting. No, that doesn’t last forever, but trust me, sitting on the wall watching for months is boring and since half of a BJJ class is rolling you’re not getting your money’s worth. Also, keep an eye on the instructors. Are they sitting there watching the rolling and shouting advice or trying to sign up a new student? The former is what you want. The latter is not. A good instructor waits until the class is over then approaches you. They never leave the mat just to chat while a class is ongoing. That goes for ANY art.

      Also, be sure to ask how the school (for any art really) gears itself towards competition. Some schools basically exist to put medals on the wall. There’s nothing wrong with that per se but in any art that has a significant competition side to it you don’t want to get into a gym that gears itself more than ~60% toward competition. In any art I’ve spent significant time studying there is a significant difference between the competition and defensive sides of the art. Competition minded places will generally not teach things that are not allowed in competition. The reason is because those things have a high probability of inflicting serious injury, which we don’t want in competition or on the mat. On the street however that’s a different world. We learn and teach both competition and “dirty” Jiu Jitsu, you want both.

      So, in summary, I’ll echo Cliff a bit here. BJJ isn’t the end-all-be-all of martial arts, but within it’s scope it’s extremely effective. A good BJJ school will also provide most of the cross training I’ve discussed which means you don’t need a membership somewhere else. Krav Maga is something I have very limited experience with but I hear very, very good things about it so check it out too and let me know what you think.

      • I respect strych9 as he is obviously an actual practitioner of martial arts and immerses himself in it. I’m almost 58 so my glory days are over with; sadly it’s the nature of flesh.
        In the 90’s when I was in my early thirties I enrolled in a school that primarily taught TKD to pay the bills but whose instructor was a Laotian fellow who absolutely loved Muay Thai. Small class sizes at the time as MT was barely known in Texas. It was great fun but exhausting as hell, just the warm ups had my instructors experienced TKD students gasping for breath. Plus he never turned on the AC in order to condition us “Hot and humid, just like Thailand !”…”Breath through your nose, not your mouth!” He was an inspiring, extremely likeable teacher who himself was instructed by Chai Sirisute.

        A super fun time if you could keep up.

      • PDW:

        Take a crack at BJJ. Most places will offer you anywhere from a free week to a free month and usually a free gi (it usually won’t be a nice one though). See if it works for you. We get old guys, people rehabbing injuries, cops, women from age four to 50.

        If you have injuries or whatever, tell them that right off the bat when you talk to them. They should tell you flat out that they can and will work with you as well as how they plan to do it. If they don’t sound accomodating walk away. Gracie schools will also have diet and other exercise programs and often will tailor them to your needs should you request it. No one is going to force you, or even try to talk you into rolling when you’re injured or just can’t. If you see that sort of behavior, walk away. I’m only 32 and as much as it sounds lame, I’ve been thrown hard enough that I had to stop right then and there. No one is going to make fun of you for that, everyone wants to come back tomorrow and therefore no one wants to hurt anyone else.

        As for age, we have a guy who just got his Blue belt. Took him about three years. He’s 74. Since he joined he’s dropped 30lbs+ of fat and added 10lbs of muscle. The doc took him off his heart and blood pressure meds too. He’s in better shape now than he was in his 50’s (according to him).

        • Thanks strych9. Travis Lutter has a BJJ / MMA school not far from where I live. My youngest nephew is a fireman who recently took up BBJ in the city he works in, also.

      • Very well said!

        I’ll second this, for the perspective of several decades of martial arts in a number of styles. I would personally prefer to stay on my feet during a fight but I’ll use whatever works (going to the ground with multiple opponents is generally a bad idea; you also probably don’t want to go to the ground with someone jacked on many drugs, as pain-compliance won’t work and they are often insanely strong.)

        Definitely train in multiple arts. In self defense you need options, not the one perfect technique. A gun is simply one tool for self defense, but if you’re serious about it, carry a toolbox.

    • Only one way. Learn Kata and practice it, over and over, until you understand the meanings hidden in there. Very few will do that, so if you persevere, the reward will be that you will simply be almost unbeatable.
      One must continue directly in the face of the many who will say; “Kata is useless”, “we only train to fight”, etc., etc…
      It takes some time and effort, plus some diligent ignoring of naysayers, but it is well worth it.
      A good instructor will be invaluable, but beware. There are far more blowhard charlatans around than there are of the genuine article.

    • FreeAz; If the commitment to learning Katas is too much, a lot has been written here about Brazilian Jujitsu. Its a good art, better than most. Quite weak on use of the feet and legs, but still excellent training(given a proper instructor, OFC).
      But you asked about the quickest and easiest way. I know of no such thing, but beware of those who say that the style they learned is the “best”. Most all styles have weaknesses, and one must learn to recognize the weaknesses in a technique and overcome them.
      This CAN be done in one class, but seldom ever IS. Thus there is great value in training at many different dojos under many different instructors. Just beware of any that want to spend all their time on high, flashy kicks (TKD… I’m looking at you…), or neglect kicking entirely. Seek after balance.
      The most effective kicks are directed below the waist. Any ‘teacher’ who disputes this bares questioning… OFC, most do not wish to discuss anything like this, just say; “Well, that’s what WE teach…”, or some similar cop-out.

  7. No one ‘knows’ what they will do when that moment is upon you. Instinct will kick in but the brain can freeze up or focus too much and distract. Training would help for adults but these are children who likely still have a rosey view of the world in some small way. Teach them to run away, watch Forest Gump a bunch of times with them…They’ll get the picture. RUNNNN!

  8. /sarcasm on That must be “fake news”. They have gun control in Mexico, so nobody has guns, only police and military…oh and the drug cartels. /sarcasm off

  9. Karate club from age 4 plus some judo from me as I did both over the years for son. My advice was don’t start fights but make sure you finish it.

    Rifle etc from about 9.

    He got to college without ever having to use it. I suspect bullies decided to look somewhere else.

  10. Been in a few harrowing scrapes in my life. Did I know how to “fight”? Not really but being fast and very strong helps a lot. My ex military son(and MP) can kill with his bare hands. My other 3 sons not so much. But they’re all tall and not fat. Everyone is grown up and I’ve tried to impart some toughness. My wife taught self-defense to goofy white women and wouldn’t hesitate to maim a baddie…

  11. I don’t have kids. If I do in the future they’ll start martial arts young, just as I did.

    That said, how you choose to approach this will depend on your state. Lots of my friends have kids and here in Colorado we have some of the dumbest school rules you’ve ever heard of. Long story short “self defense” of any variety is verboden. If you are attacked there is only one “legal” way to deal with it, curl up in a ball, protect your head and wait for a teacher or administrator to break up the “fight”. Striking back in any way lands you in the same position as your aggressor. Further, if someone else is attacked, all you can do is slide in between the two people and take the beating for them. That’s it. If you touch the other person you’re just as guilty as they are. No pushing, no grabbing, no throws, no nothing. If you instigate contact in any way you’re now as guilty as the kid punching you in the face.

    Some will say they give no shits about such legal tomfuckery. Trust me, if your kid gets caught up in this you will care. My friend’s son just barely, barely escaped expulsion and multiple felony charges over bullshit like this and the only reason is because the principal was reasonable (retired Army). He still has a black mark against him on his record so if anything else happens for the rest of his school career he will be a “repeat offender” and he will get the book thrown at him. He’s nine, with another nine or 10 years of school ahead of him. His mother is understandably very concerned.

    You’re wondering what happened. I mean he must have done something wrong right? He found kids playing with an arrow with a hunting broad head on it and took it away from them to give to a teacher. While crossing the playground another kid, separate from the original ones, wanted the arrow and tried to take it. He held the arrow in one hand and pushed the kid back a bit with the other. He then turned the arrow in to a teacher. The kid who wasn’t allowed to touch the arrow complained and “the process” started. He was looking at three felonies; weapon on school grounds, simple assault, assault with a deadly weapon. Lovely, eh?

    This sort of thing can and will end your kids life before it gets started and it can happen even if your kid is 100% doing the right thing. Consider that when dealing with children.

    • ^^This.

      Our schools are “teaching” self defense and resistance right out of our children.

      A friend’s son (12 to 13 years old) was walking home from school with a classmate when they were attacked by three older kids. An attacker had the classmate on the ground, sitting on his chest with arms pinned underneath delivering multiple blows to the head.

      My friend’s son was a bit small for his age and was facing kids somewhat larger than himself. He grabbed a big stick and used it to successfully defend his friend and drive off the attackers.

      All of this occurred off school property. The hero of the story was suspended from school and was nearly taken from his parents. They endured a legal nightmare.

      The district attorney told the boy that he had no obligation to stop the fight and should have run away to tell an adult.

      I wonder what he will do next time.

  12. It’s vital for kids to learn how to fight, true, but it’s equally vital to learn how not to fight, when not to fight. My father taught me to fight dirty.. he was a very violent and evil man. The result was I nearly choked another boy to death when I was twelve. In another fight, my opponent had blood gushing down his face in torrents. I was the leader of a teen gang at fourteen with about 300 or more felonies to my discredit. I’m quite ashamed of all this so I divulge it here to make amends of a sort.

    Parents, be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

    • My Dad taught me (without really teaching me, if that makes sense) the only fights you really win are the ones you don’t have to fight. Hell, even as an E-8 I don’t think I ever heard the man really raise his voice. Just normally if I messed up or he got pissed off, his voice stay perfectly even and he gets this look which makes people feel about 3″ tall, and that he’s only a short curly hair away from starting to demolish souls. It’s pretty scary. I’ve unconsciously done the same thing when facing down bullies (including belligerent drunks intent on fighting)… and have never had to throw a punch, ever.

      Also long before I saw the movie, he taught me what Josey Wales said; “when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up, then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is”…

      Hell, I made it through training and two trips downrange just by getting mean and not giving up; plus when I was a kid he was always telling me that look up while walking/standing & listen to hunches about danger. On many occasions it’s allowed me to un-ass the AO before things went sideways.

      But dealing with a schoolyard fight is one thing, spotting the kid who’s been mercilessly bullied and is sitting quietly with imminent murder/death/kill on their mind is a bit different. I’m rapidly finding that my Dad’s way of doing things is even more vital in today’s world than just being able to knock bullies down a rung. Still, my kid is definitely going to be taught how to prison-shank with a No.2 pencil and make it count, someone who is going postal/jihad… rather than just sit and wait to be executed.

  13. I don;t know if they do this in Mexico. But in every public school in the US, any person who acts in any way to defend himself or another student from an attack get suspended for fighting. And that can kill a college application.
    Students raised in zero tolerance are more likely to become adults that do not fight back.
    Maybe the kid in this video was the son of a cartel capo. Can’t touch him without risking the whole family.

    • “…any person who acts in any way to defend himself or another student from an attack get suspended for fighting.”

      It’s so much worse than that in some states. See my post above. Felony charges and expulsions for defending yourself are now a thing in some places.

  14. “I wonder what the city fathers of Hiroshima or Nagasaki would say to [the belief that violence never solves anything] that?”

  15. My former stepson, a very good-natured kid, was being bullied in school so I taught him how to fight. When the time came, he applied his lessons well and the bullying ended right then and there.

    A few weeks after the confrontation, he crossed paths with the kid who had been bullying him. My former stepson was about to exchange pleasantries (actual pleasantries, not a euphemism) when the kid blurted out, “Please don’t hit me again.”

  16. I watched this video on Live Leak or You Tube and was horrified…well maybe not horrified, but I noted how the kids sat at their desk like obedient programmed drones while someone shoots at them. Yes the one boy had no chance,but others did and should have fought.

  17. Even with these isolated incidents showing up on the news, most people really do feel like “it will never happen to me” and they have never visualized themselves in that position. Thus, when it happens, the “freeze” kicks in.

    Most of the people that visit this website engage in at least some “what if” pretty regularly. What if I need to draw my concealed pistol, what if I have a malfunction, etc. Even a modest amount of “what if I am in a room and someone starts shooting” where they can visualize themselves in the room, hearing the noise, seeing the shooting, and making the move against the gunman or possibly escaping can go along way. If you’ve visualized it, at least part of your brain will think you’ve already been there / done that.

    A number of firearms instructors seem to be offering very basic unarmed combative training now, I had a great opportunity at InSights Training here in the greater Seattle area, taught by folks with police and military experience. Mostly very simple stuff, no fancy moves. Basic self protection/breaking from a hold/ delivery of strike training.

  18. We all know this video must be fake. Don’t we??

    Shootings don’t occur in countries that have gun restrictions and control.

    Yes, by boys know how to fight, and mostly grapple since most fights end up on the ground.

  19. My son was a TKD black belt at 8. His sparring has always been impressive. Now: level headed, disciplined, well versed with firearm use, still young and prefers shooting a 1911.

  20. not hard to imagine that the untouchable lime cartel’s kid who attends the same school could be used to terrorize the parents and families of the other students.
    people tell me that they can’t believe i am my mother’s son; i mention that i had a father, too. my boy is pretty damn passive, but he is my boy…
    the girl, well, i worry about what she may be subjected too, of course. but i think she’d fight as long as she could. sometimes when i get in late and find her alone, there’s my rawling’s corkball bat leaning on the couch. helluva stick.

  21. Can my son fight?
    First degree black belt and a smattering of other martial arts / self defense
    Eagle Scout
    Would he?–has been on mission trips outside the country and has a pretty level head.
    Yes, he would!

  22. Just want to say, that watching this was just about as brutal as anything I’ve ever seen on the old interwebs, cause seriously man, those poor kids. — We need Teachers ARMED nationwide, we need them to be backed up by administrators, districts, and superintendents who understand that it is just good policy to ensure piece of mind in parents and students, that teachers will give a bullet to any SOB who tries to hurt any child. For teachers who refuse to carry based on their personal issue with firearms, pink slips and early retirement. I don’t see how bridging the gap between LE response times and shootings with teachers is bad.

    The larger issue are parents who never explain the world to their kids. We need a revamp of the stupid zero tolerance policies nationwide. If a kid gets picked on and stands up for themselves they are EQUALLY as guilty as the little pos who bullied them. That’s gotta go. I’m no cop, soldier, sailor, airman, or marine, but that was an ambush, a surprise attack unseen by any, of which the shock and horror immobilized the room, and only once the shooting stopped were the survivors able to flee. What law can stop that from ever occurring again? The only way to even give the next group and the next group of kids a chance is with a teacher whose mind is now attuned to the reality of life, that some times, some days, bad things happen, and only your protection of your life and others can save you.

  23. I’m too old to stand and fight, but my trigger finger still works just fine. If I have to run, they will be slipping in shit all the way!

  24. Not sure this behavior is exclusive of children. Weren’t a lot of people at the Pulse nightclub shot in one of the bathrooms? The shooter going from stall to stall, those that lived playing dead. Not running away or fighting or anything but sitting in a stall waiting for him to make it to your stall and start shooting.

  25. I grew up in the 80’s I cant remember the teacher walking out of the room without kids wanting to clown around and or fight, honestly thought that’s what recess mostly consisted of. Martial arts are fine and good knowing what your doing is one thing. Being aggressive enough or assertive enough to actually do it is a completely differ thing. I’m not knocking martial arts at all I’ve taken a quite a few different styles their all pretty decent, but when your in a ill light gravel parking lot getting blind sided or in those kids case a class room with a gunman 3 feet from you its not as much of do you know the correct moves or stances. its being aggressive enough to beat the hell out of the attacker how ever seems the easiest way. martial arts class teaches skills their a nice thing to have. old school dodge ball, 3 on 3 tackle football stuff people in their late 30’s on up did as a kid teaches how to be aggressive that’s mandatory survival skills all the martial arts in the world wont make a kid gritty enough to deck someone with a school chair or something like that an honestly if one of those kids had just laid him out with a math book it woulda been over an done. Kids need to go outside an role around, have bottle rocket wars and be allowed to do things that in 1985 where fun an now have become borderline criminal. The need to be allowed to play rough if they’re expected to do anything except act like sheep.

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