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Thread: Aikido and Children

  1. #16
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    I teach a traditional form of Aikido and emphasize the importance of learning how NOT TO FIGHT and NOT TO COMPETE (as is emphasized in other sports versions of Aikido). Many martial arts advertise the training as a venue to build self-confidence (and other claims regarding psychological functioning related to ego-functions) and "conflict resolution." They simply fall into the domain that other sports serve to function. Traditional Aikido has a distinctly different focus. The student learns how to develop a calm, self-focus; body awareness; interpersonal awareness and conflict-resolution skills that DO NOT involve intended violence and other forms of fighting.

    I keep adult classes for adults (High School age and up). I will allow parents to train with their children in a child class. I do this for several reasons: One, I strongly encourage parents to be involved in their children's lives. Two, I STRONGLY emphasize that the importance of Budo is to keep our personal world safe. The family unit is the most important aspect of our personal world. Making our personal world more strongly connected (through family practice) helps to make that world that much more important to keep safe.

    Marc Abrams
    www.aasbk.com
    Dr. Marc Abrams
    www.aasbk.com

  2. #17
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    This has been a very interesting thread indeed which I have been trolling for a while now and have decided to add my 2cents. I have been a Judo and Jujitsu instructor for many years and recently recieved Shodan in Aikido ( at 50 yrs old). From a developmental point of view children tend to have a harder time with fine motor movement than with gross motor movement. Hence, when teaching Aikido to children (which I do, youngest is 6) I focus more on the elements of Tai Sabaki, Hamni, Ukemi waza, Tenkan, Irimi and Kokyu-Ho and Za-ho (kokyu dosa partner training). After these elements are grasped I take them into the Aikido techniques that require more advanced gross motor movements such as Ikkyu,Tenchi Nage, Juji nage, etc so as to avoid to much joint manipulation or damage. AS they progress with this and their control is better then I move into the joint manipulations, etc.
    BTW-No I do not make it a game, I believe in the discipline that comes with the formality of the art. They are REQUIRED to perform the techniques slowly and proficiently and are not allowed to exert too much pressure when pinning or fly through the technique. They are also taught early on to respect the tap immediately. Interestingly enough they seem to do quite well as their clumsiness subsides and body control kicks in. Judo training is great, but the Aikido helps them to really integrate the concept of their center and how to apply it not just in Aikido but in other sports as well, including their Karate and Judo training. (I teach at a multidisciplinary school). The most important lessons of Aikido are the internal elements of self control, peaceful conflict resolution and attempting to establish harmony in one's self and the external world (as stated in previous posts). These messages can be given to kids by relaying examples that are age relatable and not some esoteric jargon they cannot understand due to limited life experience. It is sad to say that sometimes we tend to underestimate our childrens ability to learn. BTW- I was teaching my 3 1/2 y/o granddaughter the concept of Ikkyu this weekend while playing with her on my knees!
    I would encourage any Aikido instructor who has not taught a kid or two to step out of their comfort zone a bit and take on a couple of kids to train. Imagine their skill level at 12-13 when their training started at 8-9. They grow as we grow when taken out of our comfort zones. Besides,is that not what Aikido is about also.
    BTW Dr. Abrams I wholeheartedly agree with you post as it was full of much truth.
    Rick Torres, Dojo Cho
    Integrity Defensive Arts
    Victoria, Texas
    www.ksrjujitsu.com
    [/B]

  3. #18
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    This is something that I am currently wrestling with. Mainly for safety reasons. My questions concern things like; What age is too young for various wrist techniques? What techniques shouldn't be taught? How much "real" aikido can kids handle (as opposed to warm-ups, stretches, games, etc.)?

    I'll be watching this thread carefully.

  4. #19
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    Girls tend to have softer connective tissue than boys, so teen years are a minimum. Boys are done on a case by case basis. All techniques work on kazushi so that they do not have to torque hard on joints. I teach children internal power development and movements that work. this is opposed to adults pretending that a child can do a kokyu-nage, etc. on them.

    Marc Abrams
    Dr. Marc Abrams
    www.aasbk.com

  5. #20
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    Good discussion. I've been teaching kidsAikido from age 7 for about 30 years.
    I don't teach them any pinning other than Ikkyo and modify Kotegaeshi & Shihonage so as not to involve the wrist until about age 16.
    Not had any serious injuries - main issues are around collisions during practice.
    I started at age 9 myself with no such restrictions and do have some joint issues; probably related; so am very careful. In saying that children naturally want to challenge themselves and "copy" the adults they see training.
    My recommendation is to make it fun, concentrate on body movements and (as Marc says ) kazushi.
    Philip Smith

  6. #21
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    Sumie Hasegawa (Daito Ryu under Kondo Sensei) last I knew only teaches children. The kids are great. I saw them at a demo years ago.

    PS- I mean years ago. All this may have changed. I can't speak to to long term health issues but the kids looked great.
    Last edited by CEB; 2nd March 2015 at 18:16.
    Ed Boyd

  7. #22
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    Are there any Aikido schools in Europe? I want my son enrolled this summer.
    I always play chess and go during weekend, unfortunately theres no tournament in Sweden.

  8. #23
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    I've done some Aikido with my daughter who is seven. My wife thinks that it is too soft however, and has enrolled them both in a school for kickboxing next month. She didn't like it when i told her that she isn't allowed to practice the moves outside of the club!

    John Robinson.

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  10. #24
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    My teachers taught kids as young as 5 years old, as do i. Safety as well as protecting one's uke is stressed repeatedly, as is PAYING ATTENTION! The class is run as a budo and discipline is upheld. Not everyone is cut out for it, and are free to leave if they choose.
    Steve Shimanek
    Aikido Yuishinkai
    Bladesmith

  11. #25
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    The Martial Art you choose is relatively unimportant for very young children. More important, however is the following:-

    (1) that the club you choose has established policies regarding children, their safety and protection.
    (2) that all instructors and coaches are vetted by police and have undertaken a course in Code of Ethics for Young People in Sport.
    (3) that all instructors Dan grades can be verified independently
    (4) that they are qualified coaches. i.e. they have completed a recognised Instructors course in that art
    (5) and finally, that the instructors are balanced individuals with a friendly manner.

    With all of this in place.. it's down to a personal or philosophical choice whether you choose Judo, Karate, Kendo, Aikido or other.

    VonRyan.

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