The Pick-up Password – Safety tip to protect your child

kids safety password

If you’re a parent then you care about your kids.
You want to know your kids are safe.
You want to know where they are.
A simple password can make all the difference.

Having a system for school pickup is a must. Most parents tell their kids if they are going to be picked up by someone else. Sometimes the parent might forget. Sometimes the child may not remember. A simple, yet effective solution is the pick-up password. The parent and child agree on a password. Only the parent, child and authorised collector know it. That way, if someone forgets an arrangement there is a quick solution.

Situational examples:

“Hi Billy.”
“Hi Mrs Jones.”
“Billy, your mum asked me to pick you up from school today.”
“Oh, ok. What’s the password?”
“Oh, yes. Your mum said you’d ask me that. The password is (correct answer)”
“Thanks Mrs Jones. Let’s go!”
(Gets in the car)

“Hi Billy.”
“Hi Mrs Jones.”
“Billy, your mum asked me to pick you up from school today.”
“Oh, ok. What’s the password?”
“Password? She didn’t tell me one!”
“The password is (incorrect answer)”
“Get in the car. I don’t have time for this!”
“Thanks anyway Mrs Jones, but my mum said “No password, no go!”
(Billy now goes to find a teacher)

Simple steps any kid can learn:

  1. Choose a password you and your child can easily remember
  2. Any time you arrange someone to collect your child remember to tell them the password!
  3. At pickup, your child will challenge the collector for the password.

If the password is correct, your child knows they are safe to go (and will probably be chuffed with the system!)
If the password is incorrect your child knows to run and find a teacher immediately.

Using a simple (polite) challenge/response system like this achieves a number of things.

  • Your child is safer at pickup time
  • You and your child will be more aware of personal safety without any fear or paranoia
  • Remove situational ambiguity so your child can practice making confident choices
  • Give your child the ability to say “no” to adults in certain appropriate situations

The exact wording can be modified depending on the age of the kids involved. The message must stay clear.
This tip (and many others) are the sort of thing taught in the self defence classes at FunFit.

Do you think this system would work for you? Please post your thoughts to comments and share this with parents you think could benefit. Thanks.

Goal Setting: Planning to Succeed – this is really Important!

Do you know how to set a goal that will help you achieve what you want?

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
– Rabindranath Tagore

Goal setting may be one of the most important skills you can learn.

In fitness, knowing what you want means you and your trainer can put together a plan to work towards your goals. Whether you want to lose ‘weight’, improve your strength, get leaner, improve your core strength, get more flexible/improve mobility, increase your cardiovascular or muscular endurance or have sport-specific goals has a huge impact on the programming – exercise selection, timing, rest, sets, reps and loads.

In martial arts, knowing whether your true interest lies in MMA, fitness, kata (patterns), tournaments or street-realistic self defence can have a huge impact on the style you choose or the emphasis you want to put on different aspects of your training.

Start the process by choosing 1-3 targets. Limiting the number means you won’t get discouraged if you have lots of things you’d like to improve. Map them out – making sure they are SMART:


This means the goal is clear and unambiguous; without vagaries and platitudes. To make goals specific they must say exactly what is expected and why is it important.

A specific goal will usually answer five “W” questions:
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
Who: Who is involved?
Where: Identify a location.
Which: Identify requirements and constraints.

This stresses the need for concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. The thought behind this is that if it is not measurable, it is not possible to know whether progress is being made toward successful completion. Measuring progress is supposed to you stay on track, reach target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs on to continued effort required to reach the ultimate goal.

A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:
How much?
How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?

This stresses the importance of realism and attainability. While an attainable goal may be a stretch to achieve, the goal is not extreme. That is, it is neither out of reach nor below standard performance, as these may be considered meaningless. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and capacity to reach them.
An attainable goal will usually answer the question:
How: How can the goal be accomplished?

S.M.A.R.T goalsGoals-mistakes

This stresses the importance of choosing goals that matter. A bank manager’s goal to “Make 50 peanut butter sandwiches by 2:00pm” may be specific, measurable, attainable, and time-based, but lacks relevance. Many times you will need support to accomplish it. A goal that supports or is in alignment with other goals would be considered relevant.

A relevant goal can answer yes to these questions:
Does this seem worthwhile?
Is this the right time?
Does this match my other efforts/needs?

This emphasizes the importance of grounding goals within a time frame, giving them a target date. A commitment to a deadline helps efforts to be focussed on completion on or before the due date. This part of the SMART goal criteria is intended to prevent goals from being overtaken by the day-to-day crises that invariably arise in life. A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.

A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:
What can I do six months from now?
What can I do six weeks from now?
What can I do today?

Using these criteria – think hard about what you really want. Write it down. Start planning. Start achieving your goals!

Self Defence and Martial Arts – What’s the difference?

A lot of people use the terms ‘self defence’ and ‘martial arts’ interchangeably. They have some overlap but are different things and should not be confused. A martial arts school can teach self defence, or it may ‘only’ teach martial arts.

Martial arts is the practice of physical techniques. These can vary greatly in focus. Super effective street realistic maneuvers, MMA (mixed martial arts made prominent by the Ultimate Fighting Championships); sparring (fighting for points or practice at full speed); and forms (patterns of movement to cement technique or for stylistic tradition).

Self Defence training is concerned with risk assessment and measures to minimize or eliminate that risk. The risk in this case is of being attacked. Risk minimization strategies include situation awareness, understanding the motivations and tactics of the attacker, how to circumvent the attacker’s behaviour, maintain distance and boundaries, choice speech to defuse the situation, pre-contact cues – and, of course, effective technique to escape and get home safely.

Obviously, smaller targets (potential victims) who appear weaker than the attacker will be more likely to be targeted. Women, teens, kids and older adults are all at increased risk compared to a large, strong looking adult male. It is even more important that these ‘at risk’ populations are pro-active in getting the right training to keep themselves safe.

In real-life emergency situations, defending yourself is not a sport. There will be no rules, no referee and no time-frame.
The assumption must be that the attacker is faster, stronger and much more aggressive. If they didn’t feel superior, stronger and faster, they wouldn’t attack. The strategies and tactics used must match the scenario.

That’s when realistic, scenario-based training will make the difference in improving your odds of avoiding or escaping the situation and getting home safely.

For more information, or to book into a self defence session, please contact Tim


Defend Yourself Ethics

No rational personal wants to be in a violent confrontation.
That being said, ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away.

Aside from learning effective physical counter-measures, a vital aspect of responsible self defence training must include mental preparedness and an ethical perspective.

It is up to the instructor to provide an ethical framework for the practitioner to use as a launch-pad for developing their own set of values to use when faced with violence. Even if the eventual position of the practitioner is ‘anything goes’ the instructor has not been the one to make that decision.

The ethical exercise for the practitioner is not for altruistic reasons alone.
The idea is that the defender has thought deeply about the types of possible confrontation, motivations of the attacker(s) and consequences of the various responses (physical injury or death to themselves or to others, property damage, psychological repercussions and involvement of the authorities).

This way, the practitioner can have made a rational and ethical decision ahead of time as to the appropriate response for the scenario in which they find themselves. This eliminates a snap decision in the heat of the moment while under physical attack and psychological pressure which may have life-long consequences.

What is the situation? How serious is it? What am I prepared to do? What am I absolutely NOT prepared to do?