View Full Version : Can Aikido become contagious amongst the village kids?

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Irem Bray
06-16-2008, 06:15 PM
I am helping my teacher to train kids between 6 and 12 in a Turkish village as a community project. This means it is voluntary on our part. Kids don't pay anything. I am looking for ways of making the training more stimulating for the kids as well as attracting more of them.

There is the problem of cheating as well, they seem to want to win so much! They can do anything.

I ideally would like Aikido to be a contagion between kids. Parents are not aware of anything. And to be honest they don't seem to care very much. Children are often in the streets during the summer months messing about whilst parents focus on earning money via tourism.

Any ideas to make all the village kids do Aikido?:)

Amir Krause
06-17-2008, 02:52 AM
Make it fun !!!
Even at the expence of making it "less Aikido" (in the long run, you may find out you are doing even better then you think).

And if the kids are too competititive, make up only games in which each has to achieve by himself (not one against another but each against his own abilities).


Eva Antonia
06-17-2008, 03:41 AM
Merhaba Irem,

I'm also one of the silent readers in this forum (only 5th kyu so I think I don't have too much valuable contributions to make in the technical threads at the moment...), but I'm a mum of four kids, who all do aikido, and I have observed the kids groups in our dojo for a while.

I think for children aikido is much more difficult than for us adults. They need more time to learn techniques efficiently, and they practice with each other. So they rarely benefit from training with someone really experienced, whereas as an adult beginner you often get the opportunity to train with an advanced aikidoka from whom you can learn a lot both as uke and as tori.

If you start a dojo in a village I assume it would be even more difficult - all of the kids would start from scratch, and you wouldn't even have a yellow or orange belt among them. So if they don't see the impacts you can achieve with aikido, they will be much less fascinated than children in a mixed dojo where they see also advanced aikidokas working together.

If I were you I'd try to bring some more experienced children from town into the village dojo and maybe also two or three adults, just to show them some of the more spectacular applications and make them long to master these also one day. Even better if you could bring regularly two or three kids that have already some basic knowledge, so that they could train with someone more advanced than they are.

I think another factor is getting some parents to co-operate. Didn't you mention that there was already one father participating? Maybe you could get some more? In my dojo, more than half of the kids come with their parents, and this helps enormously keeping the children interested. First, because they can talk about their progress to a father or mother who understands something about the subject, second, because they can from time to time throw their mom or dad on the mat, third, because they can practice a bit at home with their parents, when they want, fourth, whenever the kid is not very motivated but the parent is, this helps to keep them on track.

And last, use weapons! Things like tantos and bokkens just fascinate children, especially little boys. And there are some simple attacks like shomen uchi gokyo with the tanto, which you can easily train with children, which doesn't require them to take ukemi, and which makes them feel that they really learnt something useful (they just shoudl get it very clear that they shouldn't repeat it at home with the kitchen knife...:p ).

In our club and generally in Belgium, children start at six years. Smaller ones have great difficulty to concentrate, and sometimes they are afraid of ukemi - but I know in Istanbul a dojo where they have lessons from 4 years up (www.aikimode.com); and it seems to work; maybe they could also give you a tip.

Best regards, and I wish you both fun and success with your village dojo,


06-17-2008, 06:23 AM
Think of games the kids like to play and create your own Aikido version of it. For example, a common game over here to teach children to listen and follow directions is call "Simon Says." You have all the kids line up, and the teacher will say "simon says touch your toes." Then all the kids have to touch their toes, if they do anything else they have to sit down. If you just say "touch your toes" and then some touches their toe then they are out. The aikido version whould be having them stand in right hanmi, left hanmi, forward roll, back fall, backward roll, tenkan, irimi, ikkyo exercise, etc. The game ends when one child is left standings.

Another fun game is shikko soccer (football). You make your goals and then have the kids play soccer (football) but while doing shikko.

We also do shikko dodge ball. You use a light weight ball that will not hurt any child. You get all the kids in the middle of the mat with 3-4 adult volunteers. The adults will throw the ball at the kids and they have to move by shikko or rolling to get out of the way. It's a lot of fun for everyone.

To tone down the competitiveness, don't emphasis who won. Just have everyone play again. These games are great to use as something fun to do at the end of class.

07-27-2008, 01:33 PM
Word will spread and they will come...
It's still best that parents are aware of what you're doing so they can encourage their children to try or go and see.
I think that children are easy to teach when they are curious, and find it fun...also, they must be free from fear.
Like fear of rolling, or falling..etc.
so maybe get them comfortable on the mats and with basic skills and exercises first before introducing techniques.

Irem Bray
07-29-2008, 03:16 PM
Thank you all for your useful comments.