Metro martial arts instructor teaches kids curriculum to combat danger

MISSION, Kan. -- Parents are thinking about safety for their kids after a reported attempted kidnapping in Overland Park on Monday.

A boy says a man in a ski mask asked him to help find a lost dog near Harmony Elementary at 141st and Grant. When the child refused to help search for the dog, police say the man demanded the boy get into his truck. The boy ran off and told his parents what happened.

The incident came just one day before kids in Mission hit the mat to learn what to do if they are approached by a stranger. FOX 4 stopped by Shogun Martial Arts Center in Mission.

With kicks, punches and blocks, the kids work on things like awareness, discipline, and self-control. It`s a combination that could potentially save their lives someday. During the class a proud mother watched her son as he trained in self-defense.

“This is where he has strived, and that`s why I knew he needs to come here," said Jen Rigsby.

She enjoys the confidence and focus her 10-year-old son has learned, but most importantly: “He knows how to defend himself, and he knows that sensei does put his foot down about you`re not here to pick fights. You`re here to defend yourself,” said Rigsby.

She says her son attends class between two and three times a week. That repetition is something Sensei Greg Brown says is necessary.

"The thing I like about it more than anything else is you`re getting confidence and discipline to be able to handle a situation a scenario that happened like what happened the other day," said Brown.

He says his heart goes out to the 11-year-old boy's parents in Overland Park. A father himself, Brown can relate to their ordeal.

"My daughter was almost abducted last Wednesday and she fought an assailant off with the techniques that I taught her here, our curriculum. Simple techniques,” said Brown.

If a child is approached, Brown says it`s first recommended the child try to get away, draw attention and making as much noise as possible.

“As you`re running, yell, help, help, I don`t know you,” said Brown.

If things turn physical, knowing what to do next, is critical. That`s why Brown encourages parents to have their kids stick with their self-defense lesson, even if they don`t feel up to it.

“Could you really live with yourself knowing that, that one class that was taken could get your kid home?" said Brown.

He believes awareness plays a big role in keeping kids safe, and not just for his young students. When Brown observed a few people park their cars, and watched kids walk home from school near his martial arts center, he approached them asking who they were here to see. He also let those who didn’t have legitimate reason to be there know they looked suspicious and that he didn’t mind calling police.

Since doing so Brown says the suspicious activity has stopped.