It's better to be safe than sorry.
That's a lesson we hear all the time.
But one Sioux Falls business is making sure children practice this.
"Kids live in such a little bubble and they don't see the big picture,” says Hoover’s Martial Arts instructor Larry Hoover.
Through high kicks and punches, 4 to 6-year-olds at Hoover's Martial Arts are learning valuable lessons: how to protect themselves.
"By what we're doing, the confidence level, the common sense, the self-esteem, the majority of that is self-defense,” explains Hoover.
Experts say it's especially important to have these skills now since school is back in session.
Some kids are walking to and from school without adult supervision.
"First thing parents need to do is plan a route, so parents and children know what route they're taking to and from school,” says Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens.
Officer Clemens suggests walking that route with their child a couple of times until they have it memorized.
He says along the route, there should be a safe house or business that the child can go into if they're approached.
And majority of the roads taken should be back roads to avoid busy streets.
Officer Clemens says it's not every day that a child is approached by a stranger, but it does happen.
"The best thing the kid can do is run away,” he says. “If someone grabs hold of them, make as much noise as possible. Be as difficult as you can.”
Instructors say it's easiest for a young child to remember this important advice if they're learning it while doing something fun and entertaining, like martial arts.
"We're memorizing the sequence so it helps them train physically and mentally,” says Hoover. "We need the kids to understand- why would an adult stop and ask me a question- that makes no sense. We need the kids to start thinking outside their spear or space.”
If you're interested in having your child take self-defense classes, Hoover's Martial Arts teaches kids ages 4 and up.