View Full Version : Aikido Practice with Family?

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Ryan Sanford
07-16-2007, 10:30 AM
Okay, first, some background... I'm 17, and have a younger brother, and a father and mother. About 9 and a half months ago, I went with a friend and joined an Aikido dojo and we've both loved every day of it since then (I'm now 8th jr. Kyu at my dojo, still a total newbie. :D ). The dojo is about a 20 minute drive away, and I'm sure my parents are annoyed of the drive there by now.
What I would really love more than anything now is for my family to begin training with me! My father is always very stressed from his job, and I'm sure that Aikido would help with that. My younger brother will be unable to continue sports next year when he enters high school, and he leads a rather sedimentary lifestyle. I believe that Aikido will help keep him in shape too. I've asked him about trying out Aikido, and he seemed totally uninterested (he's never even seen a class before, though..).
Any tips or advice on trying to encourage my family to train with me? I look forward to hearing from the Aikiweb community here. :D

Marie Noelle Fequiere
07-16-2007, 11:40 AM
You know, Ryan, when you love something, it's sometimes difficult to understand why other people are not interested. Tell your family about all the fun that you are having during your training. Tell them to come one day and watch a class. But do not bug them. Especially your little brother. If he is not naturally athletic, he might look at you as if you where talking a different language to him. And, in a sense, he might be right.Your family might start feeling interested after a while, or maybe never. Respect their choice.
I am the first woman ever in my family to enjoy martial arts, and they look at me as if I was a bit loony. They just don't understand what pleasure one can have being kicked, or having their wrist twisted the wrong way.
One of my sisters enrolled her daughter in Karate when she was a kid, but she never saw it as something important, and my niece quit after a while.
Talk about your training, about the positive things it brings in your life. I don't think you can do much more than that.
Now, an interesting anecdote: a father enrolled his little boy - about six years old - in my A´kido school. He talked about joining too, but he never seemed to have the time. Then one day, he learned that, when he would start, his little boy would be his sempai.
He never enrolled.:D

07-16-2007, 03:45 PM
Hi Ryan,
You know, I've often felt the same way, and I think the advice given before me was good. I might be reading too much into my own experiences, but it seems to me that to most people "martial arts" is some mystical thing that takes a huge leap of effort in order to practice properly. So, when I've suggested that friends or family practice with me because, say, "it's healthy for them," they've often balked or seemed apprehensive. However, when I simply talk about some aspect of training that I find interesting/beneficial (without any attempt at "selling" it to them), they've shown the most interest.
Take care,

07-16-2007, 06:21 PM
My $0.02: while many people may have some superficial interest in martial arts inspired by what they see in movies, there are not that many people who truly enjoy the reality of martial arts training. It's just not something that appeals to most people. Therefore, if you hope to get your family (or a significant percentage of it) involved in training, you're setting your hopes pretty high. I've known many people who got all excited at the idea that a martial art was something they could do as a family, in aikido and other styles. I've never known one single family where it worked out that way.

07-16-2007, 08:05 PM
I think in your case, you may want to just speak positively about your training, and get them to come to any tests or demos where you'll take part. When they see you doing it and enjoying it, they may want to take part as well.

On the other hand, sometimes it's nice to have interests that other family members don't have . . .

I want to applaud you for thinking about the well being of your dad and brother- it shows empathy that is often missing in teens.


P.S.-I hope to start bringing my daughter to the dojo in a couple years, and hopefully, my son a few years after that. If they don't like it, I'll let it go. I think it's important to expose my kids to positive things, if they have other positive pursuits- sports, clubs, etc., that's okay w/ me.

Ryan Sanford
07-16-2007, 11:58 PM
Thanks, everyone, for the replies.
You're very right Marie, it's hard for me to understand why someone wouldn't enjoy Aikido when I love it so very much. (oh, and my little brother isn't in health trouble quite yet, but when he stops doing sports...). Still, I want to at least get them to give it a shot, and if they don't like it, then I can say that I tried. I've brought my parents to both tests I've had so far, and I'll see if I can get my brother to come to my third test in a few months.
Thanks again for the feedback! :)

07-18-2007, 11:25 AM
I must be one of the lucky ones. I wrestled thru high school and then went on to Tae Ku Muk Sul for a few years. Life got in the way and I have now started back up in Aikido. I am enjoying focusing in on one art and learning to refine what I already know from my previous training.

My wife and daughters decided they all wanted to join me and took a couple trial classes to see what they thought. So far they are really enjoying it.

Mind you I have been married 15 years and out of the 17 years I have known my wife this is the first time she has taken a true interest in any Martial Art.

As for my daughters they have always wanted to do it as they have seen me practice at times at home to keep my skills as sharp as I can. This is the first opportunity to get everyone together and afford it. We have a 45 min drive to get to the dojo but it's well worth it.

Jill N
07-18-2007, 01:04 PM
Hi Ryan:

I practice aikido with my 19 year old son and have done so for 13 years. We both get a lot out of it and it really gives us a connection that is often hard to maintain during the teen years. I think it is amazing that you are encouraging your dad to join. (encorage mom too!) As others have said, you can't make them want to do it, but if they are driving you anyhow, see if your dad or your mom might be willing to try it out one of these times and then let it speak for itself. They will either like it or not.

I started after my son did because I was looking for something to get back in shape, and it fit my schedule since I was already going to take Joel. I've been hooked ever since.

e ya later

07-19-2007, 03:07 PM
Does Aikido help with stress??? I have never noticed that...for sure it gives me alot of frustration class after class LOL.

Ryan Sanford
07-19-2007, 08:30 PM
Erik, I wish things would work out that well for my family!

Jill, thanks for saying that. I'll talk to my dad about it, but my mother is a Jazzersize addict though, I don't think I could get her away from it. :)

Aikido is a great stress reliever! Nothing makes me feel better than launching uke across the mat. :D