Laura Holmes and I (Sherry McGregor-blog author) went to Kibbutz Ein Zurim, Lachan and taught about 20 troubled and at risk youth. These are kids who have been abused or found on the streets. All but two of them were boys, which mean you have to quickly establish who the big dog or in our case dogs, and once you have their respect you can work with them. We did that. They are very wild, aggressive and DID test us.
One of the first things we taught was an escape from a wrist grab. I grabbed a ~15 year old boy by the wrist so he could try it and he immediately punched me hard in the bicep. He was testing me. I did not flinch, looked at him and smiled, he paused–not knowing what to do with this. He looked around at his friends and then punched my arm again, I kept holding him and smiled again—then he calmed down and did the technique we taught. Laura’s test came in the form of flying kick to the back (sucker punch style). She also did not flinch. She turned around, smiled, and put him in a head lock.
These kids are violent and act out of control manners all the time–they are used to adults reacting with anger and violence. It totally changes their perspective when they don’t get violence as a reaction, but yet you are still strong, hold your ground and stay calm and in control. They are really afraid…and that breaks my heart. Before we started they told us that these kids usually walk out when people come to speak or work with them, regardless of the topic. They get bored and show no respect…the head counselor told us to not take it personally, it is just what they do…NONE of them walked out—in fact when it was time for us to leave they wanted us to stay…several of them walked us out to the car….Amazing…..
They shook our hands and thanked us very politely…not normal for them at all…but now a possibility for their future.
Keep an eye on this blog for photo updates. Obviously photos at the time of teaching were not an option. Their instructor took some photos for us and promises to send them.