View Full Version : Teaching budo to children with emotional and behavioral issues

14th December 2005, 15:52
Just wanted to see if anyone had experience with using budo (physical skills) and budo (ideas and concepts) to work children with emotional and behavioral issues. Myself and a few co-workers are pursuing the possibility of working with about five fifteen year olds. Focusing on breathing, meditation, body movement and body awareness. Any input is appreciated.

16th December 2005, 00:04

I am a licensed psychologist (with a post doc in child psych), and train in and teach Aikido. I use to do a program at a local psychiatric hospital with that population. I focused on Ki and body awareness and how it related to their sense of self, personal space, and interpersonal relatedness. No problems with the kids, just the staff. You should never turn your back or really trust an emotionally disturbed adolescent. Avoid anything that has to do with attacks, or will be too emotionally stimulating.

marc abrams

19th December 2005, 03:16
I've done some work with one-off groups of "at-risk" or "problem" teenagers, teaching kendo. I also teach kendo at the high school were I work, and some of those kids have various "problems": ADHD, disruptive home background, visual or aural processing problems, developmental delays, interrupted schooling, refugee BG, etc. Here are some things I have learned.

* Make sure you (and your colleagues) have a very long fuse. You will be tested in every way possible. But I think the only way is to persevere. Some of your kids may have had adults cop out on them before, so they might have in place rigourous testing mechanisms to see if you can last the distance. The answer to that is to stick with your program, no matter what they throw at you...

* ... and then know the difference between adjusting your expectations realistically, and still having worthwhile expectations for them to aspire to.

* One useful technique I found for imparting some of the culture of kendo (which can be a bit abstract for some kids)and should work for most MA is to have some members of the class there as role-models or exemplars. The best way IMHO is to have members of their peer group who can model the behaviours you expect of the difficult ones. I don't think you should underestimate the power of non-didactic teaching methods. IOW while you're there laying down the law verbally, it's good to have bodies present who are just quietly getting on with it. Almost like good cop/bad cop. "The teacher's a massive pr1ck, but Fred and Amanda are cool coz they don't give me a hard time. And their MA is really wicked..." or some such. This may not be such an issue if you are tailoring the content to match their needs. In my situation I am usually trying to keep some integrity to the art and culture I am transmitting, as for me there needs to be a destination beyond just getting the kids involved. I want them to be able to see how big a universe MA can be. OTOH I have no problem with people using aspects of MA, such as you mention (body movement, breathing, meditation, etc) and constructing a syllabus around desired outcomes with the kids.

Best of luck and let us all know how you go. I'd also be interested to know more about your program and its context and aims. If you like, PM me and I'll give you my email address.

ganbatte kudasai!


Joseph Svinth
22nd December 2005, 02:51
Promote 'em all to Soke after just a couple days, with your blessing to start schools of their own. That's the traditional method, isn't it?

Budoka 34
22nd December 2005, 04:13

I recently left a program I'd been with for four years. I taught an "Ethics" class at the beginning of every year based on " Living the Marital Way" by: Forrest E. Morgan. It was interesting to see our clients responses to the idea of obligation.

I also taught a ChiKung or Moving Meditation class three days a week. Some enjoyed it some did not.

We tried Zazen and other forms of meditation with mild success on refocusing.

Several years ago we had a relatively succesful trial with Tang Soo Do. Unfortunately the financial situation changed and the instructor moved on.

Understand that our population changed drasticly over the time I was there. From "at risk" to adjudicated and severly emotionally disfunctional.
We became a "mental health" day treatment center my last two and a half years.

Good luck!

22nd December 2005, 13:56
Thanks for all of the responses. We are still writing a curriculum and are hopeful to implement the program to some degree in the new year. I will give you an update once we get things going.