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alexmasters
12-01-2009, 09:34 AM
During my time at school we were never given the chance to study a martial art, some schools do offer arts such as Judo and Karate in sports lessons, however they never seem to regards it as a serious option, in UK schools at least.

I'm interested in hearing what other countries do and whether you feel it would be beneficial to teach Aikido at high school level.

Do you think young adults at that age are too immature to train with their fellow classmates? or maybe this is exactly what they need to gain respect for each other and become mindful of their surroundings (or streetwise, to put it another way) when they are let loose in the big bad world? :)

I would have loved to get into Aikido when I was younger, when my brain was like a sponge, soaking up all that knowledge, but the UK is not like Japan, I'm not sure our school kids would have the same mature outlook on martial arts as they have.

Maybe you teach Aikido at school, or maybe you know someone who does, I'd love to hear everyones thoughts on this...

Alex.
http://www.kuma-aikido.co.uk/signature.jpg
http://www.kuma-aikido.co.uk

ninjaqutie
12-01-2009, 01:19 PM
I think it COULD be a great thing. Aikido is a less aggressive style, which could benefit those kids who have some anger issue problems. My old sensei used to say the kids who had behavior problems were the ones that could benefit the most from the class. She was right (at least with the students who joined our dojo).

MM
12-01-2009, 01:37 PM
The Internet is your Friend. :)

Seriously, here's a couple of articles and programs to get you started.

Kick Start. Started by Chuck Norris. I don't think it's exactly a program in high school, but it does target kids through high school ages.
http://www.kick-start.org/

MMA in Massachusetts high school
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/sports/othersports/18mma.html

MMA club in Chicago High School. From the article, "My point is that this stuff saves kids' lives, and not in the self-defense way, either. But I'll let Bryan tell you himself, in his words."
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/esther-j-cepeda/mixed-martial-arts-at-cle_b_182628.html

I think someone else has long espoused that MMA creates better martial artists and better people. :)

San Marino High School supposedly has a Wushu Club.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Marino_High_School

Moanalua High School has Judo
http://www.moanaluaathletics.com/

alexmasters
12-01-2009, 02:28 PM
Thanks, interesting what your Sensei said about behaviour problems because I've noticed that with some students we have had previously at our dojo.

Thanks Mark, I appreciate what you're saying, but I'm not looking for information on martial arts at schools in details, I'm more interested in the views of the people here, for their personal experiences and opinions, that's why I like the forums here, more personal.

Victoria Pitt
12-01-2009, 02:31 PM
I think it depends on what age range.

We had to take square dancing in grade school.I would have preferred Aikido.

crbateman
12-01-2009, 02:35 PM
I think it's a good thing, as long as aggressive/confrontational kids are controlled. Unfortunately, it's easier said than done, and schools nowadays are more concerned about liability issues than about anything else, it seems.

mathewjgano
12-01-2009, 03:33 PM
I'm all for it. For one thing, physical education is an underappreciated aspect of our public education system and I think some form of Aikido could be a good option.
Actually, I don't understand why we don't teach conflict resolution as a more integral part of Gen. Ed. Graduate it: Teach evasion techniques at an early age (primary school) along with basic conflict resolution skills, and progress from there with age-appropriate contextual applications. Why couldn't a school make it a one-quarter per year or two focus? At the very least why not include something as an extra-curricular club? I'm pretty sure schools in Japan have Judo clubs.

Ketsan
12-01-2009, 06:39 PM
My instructor used to teach after school classes in schools. It wasn't what I'd call a success. Most kids do not want to be there, their parents want them to be there. In fact it pretty much ended up that parents treated the classes like a creche. They could pay 7+ an hour for child care or dump their kids in Aikido for an hour for 3.50, so they came to Aikido.

The only children that made any progress were the "problem" kids that the schools kept dumping in the classes. The root cause of their behavioral problems seems to have been bordom due to being taught far too slowly because the rate of progress of these kids had to be seen to be believed.

Basia Halliop
12-01-2009, 07:45 PM
The concern I would have would be if kids were there because they had to be (parents or teachers made them, needed the credit). I just don't see that benefiting anyone the majority of the time. On the other hand, making something free and available to people who are genuinely curious to learn sounds great.

I think gym classes in schools (at least mine) have WAY too little variety. I know so many people who within a few years were completely convinced they were not interested in anything active, because the traditional big team competitive move a round object around to lots of arbitrary rules sports completely didn't appeal to them (also, in my school system, they weren't really taught or coached particularly - it was more explain rules briefly, throw all the class together and force them to play). We had no exposure to anything else until one brief mini-course in highschool where for about two weeks we did all kinds of random stuff like canoeing and archery-- at which point gym became non-mandatory but counted in you average (i.e., could and would bring it down), so any kid who wasn't completely hooked by that time dumped it immediately and celebrated their escape from the basketball/volleyball/etc torture.

Gym would have been a totally different experience if we had done short sections of different random activities that spanned an actual spectrum of physical things one can do.

lbb
12-01-2009, 09:01 PM
I'm not a fan of the idea. I think that most people of any age aren't suited for martial arts practice. I know the "it's for everybody!" line, but it's not really true. All it means is that people aren't automatically not suited to martial arts practice because of their size or gender or physical ability or whatnot. It doesn't mean that martial arts training is right for the average person, and if you've trained for a while, you've had a chance to observe that. Of the people who started training with you, how many are still training in three months? In six months? In a year, or two, or five, or ten?

The people who belong in a dojo are the people who want to be there. It's not for those who are there because they're required to be there.

alexmasters
12-02-2009, 04:06 AM
Wow things are different in America! thanks so much for your replies, it's interesting that sports is part of the credit system at American schools.

In most parts of the UK, if not all, I think when I was a school kid they taught sports as a mandatory lesson, which consisted mainly of ball games and some indoor exercise stuff. 'Rounders' is a good example, that's kind of like mini baseball over here in blighty! :D

Then once or twice a year at my school we did a cross country run, again completely mandatory, which most people hated because it created a kind of leader board of failure haha, terrible memories! :crazy: Then when you got older in your final couple of years everyone didn't really want to do sports because exams were far more terrifying.

Nowadays I think there is more variety over here but still nothing to inspire young kids, apart from the ever present football teams. Like you said Basia, if schools maybe provided access to many different activities, maybe by visiting different places each week to experience things like archery, athletics, martial arts clubs, tai chi, all that kind of stuff, it would definitely inspire more people to get involved at least.

I know I would have looked forward to every sports lesson if I knew I was going to go somewhere and see something instead of get changed and go out into the freezing cold playground and get thrashed at footy by all the wannabe David Beckhams! :D

mathewjgano
12-02-2009, 06:40 AM
I'm not a fan of the idea. I think that most people of any age aren't suited for martial arts practice...Of the people who started training with you, how many are still training in three months? In six months? In a year, or two, or five, or ten?

The people who belong in a dojo are the people who want to be there. It's not for those who are there because they're required to be there.

Couldn't you say this about English class too though? No one I knew in school wanted to be there and were only there because they were forced to be. Most people stop training in language skills as soon as they don't have to, but that doesn't mean they're not suited to it.
...and regardless of their desire, that's a case where I wish more people would take more effort so naturally we should force them in that direction! evileyes :D
Some people don't like physical activity and I'm all for respecting that, but I think some exposure could be good, particularly if approached right.
Besides, I think conflict resolution and self-defense skills would be greatly appreciated by a number of kids.

dps
12-02-2009, 07:05 AM
What style of Aikido would you teach? A soft style like Ki Society or a harder style like Shodokan. Is it being taught for self defense reasons or to make them feel good about themselves.

Martial arts are not for everybody and certainly Aikido more so.

Could you image if everyone in your high school was forced to take wrestling?
David

chillzATL
12-02-2009, 07:24 AM
I'm not a fan of the idea. I think that most people of any age aren't suited for martial arts practice. I know the "it's for everybody!" line, but it's not really true. All it means is that people aren't automatically not suited to martial arts practice because of their size or gender or physical ability or whatnot. It doesn't mean that martial arts training is right for the average person, and if you've trained for a while, you've had a chance to observe that. Of the people who started training with you, how many are still training in three months? In six months? In a year, or two, or five, or ten?

The people who belong in a dojo are the people who want to be there. It's not for those who are there because they're required to be there.

Perfectly stated! You also don't want kids who are doing it for the class credit, but have no real affinity for it, walking around trying to crank sankyo's or whatever on random people. If they don't really care about what they're doing they're not going to have much respect for what it's capable of.

MM
12-02-2009, 08:16 AM
Thanks Mark, I appreciate what you're saying, but I'm not looking for information on martial arts at schools in details, I'm more interested in the views of the people here, for their personal experiences and opinions, that's why I like the forums here, more personal.

As my links show, and other research will show, those schools that have some sort of martial arts club or focus will have a martial art that has a competitive focus. Aikido does not, and as such, will be a rare find in high schools here in the U.S.

If you look at athletic programs in high schools, the major ones are always competitive. Football, basketball, and wrestling easily come to mind. I don't think Aikido would be a very good idea for high school.

First, aikido teaches a sort of passive aggressive behavior. Think about it. What do we learn in aikido practice? First, how to roll and fall for "safety". But, we learn that when our center is taken, to roll and fall. It is usually far later (as in years) that people start learning reversals, etc. So, initially, you have a passivity reinforced through repetitive rolling and falling. So called "break falls" are the worst. "Break falls" normally require a willing uke to help complete the action of twisting in mid air to land in a specified position.

Add to that the lack of competition, and you get some very badly reinforced habits in the early stages of aikido training.

Then, an "ideal" is projected upon aikido trainees about "20 year techniques", "self defense only", "lethal techniques", etc, etc, etc, to rationalize away any competitive nature. Thus, an aggressive attitude toward why aikido fares poorly against peer level judo, BJJ, MMA, boxing, etc. "Peace", "love", and "harmony" add in to the rationalizations.

So, I think aikido in high school would ruin teens rather than help them.

BJJ, judo, MMA have a competitive atmosphere that teens can use as an outlet for all that energy they have. Plus I've seen quite a few incidents that show very "sportsmanlike" conduct from BJJ and MMA people. I watched one UFC event where the guy made an illegal hit. I'm not sure why and I don't know that anyone did. But the guy stepped back, held out his hands to get the opponent to pause for a second, and then apologized for his illegal hit. They then continued to fight.

Overall, I think teens in high school are better served by a competitive sport rather than aikido. It builds camaraderie in a team environment, a competitive nature which will help them in the real world (non academic and non governmental world), give them an outlet for their high energy levels, how to work as a team player, setting goals in an environment where other people are actively trying to negate those goals, push them to limits, etc. All these things are much more served by competitive sports than non-competitive aikido.

And as Ueshiba's history proved, he, too, went through that phase. He went up against many people of different backgrounds who tested his mettle before he finally settled down into the aikido he had created. He stated that he spent 20 years doing hard before he could do soft. So, I wouldn't shortcut high school teens from those experiences either.

Historically, too, Tomiki (and all the others) had to have that great background in judo before meeting Ueshiba so that he had the experiences to understand that what Ueshiba had was foundationally and vastly different than his own experiences.

Brett Charvat
12-02-2009, 08:19 AM
"I would have loved to get into Aikido when I was younger, when my brain was like a sponge, soaking up all that knowledge, but the UK is not like Japan, I'm not sure our school kids would have the same mature outlook on martial arts as they have."

I can assure you that your idea here of Japanese school kids is erroneous. Japanese school kids are just like all other school kids, and they have no more inherent maturity on any topic (including budo) than any others.

lbb
12-02-2009, 08:21 AM
Couldn't you say this about English class too though? No one I knew in school wanted to be there and were only there because they were forced to be. Most people stop training in language skills as soon as they don't have to, but that doesn't mean they're not suited to it.

So what's your argument? We force kids in school to do one pointless thing, so therefore it makes sense to force them to do all pointless things? I think you just made my argument for me :D

Actually, it sounds like the point that you're making is more or less the opposite, sort of "English class isn't pointless even if kids don't want to do it." Well...aikido class isn't pointless either. The class isn't pointless, but an individual's presence there may well be, which is why I'd oppose adding it to a mandatory curriculum. And no, I'm not going to get drawn down over the slippery slope of, "Oh well, let's just make all classes optional, shall we?" The proposal to add aikido to a school's phys ed curriculum is a proposal to add another requirement to an existing series of requirements, some of which could stand to be reexamined. I can decline to take on the task of top-to-bottom educational reform and still have firm grounds for stating that mandatory participation in aikido class for school kids isn't the way to go.

Besides, I think conflict resolution and self-defense skills would be greatly appreciated by a number of kids.

This, of course, presupposes that an aikido sensei is qualified to teach conflict resolution and day-to-day self-defense skills. I think that this is a bad assumption, particularly the conflict resolution. Everyone who doesn't practice martial arts thinks that they have the power to teach the yout's all these amazing things: self-discipline and restraint and perseverance and respect for others and focus and blah de blah de blah. Hands up, senseis! Tell me about how, in your association, anyone who is to be named shidoin has to go through a mandatory session in which they sit you down and say, "Okay, here's how you teach self-discipline and restraint and perseverance and respect for others and focus and all that other crap!" Oh yeah, you remember that class -- it came right before the class where they taught you meditation and other esoteric practices, or was it right before? Doesn't matter anyway, because neither one of those classes happened. A lot of senseis -- not all -- are pretty good exemplars of self-discipline and restraint and perseverance and respect for others and focus and all that other stuff. That doesn't mean they can teach it to others, or even that they've ever really reflected on what they have. Some senseis are very good at conflict resolution. Most are probably good enough at the level where an adult human being has to be in order to stay alive and out of jail, but very few will have really studied it to the point where they can teach it to others. Some senseis have made a real study of self-defense applications, but not all -- and a lot of those probably haven't thought through issues like situationally appropriate uses of force, which is pretty vital when you're talking playground scuffle vs. knife-wielding ex-employee.

In summary, I think that teaching martial arts to children opens up a big can of worms that, for the most part, we silently agree to pretend isn't there. If you start making such classes mandatory, the mess gets too big to ignore.

Basia Halliop
12-02-2009, 10:05 AM
"In most parts of the UK, if not all, I think when I was a school kid they taught sports as a mandatory lesson, which consisted mainly of ball games and some indoor exercise stuff. 'Rounders' is a good example, that's kind of like mini baseball over here in blighty!

Then once or twice a year at my school we did a cross country run, again completely mandatory, which most people hated because it created a kind of leader board of failure haha, terrible memories! Then when you got older in your final couple of years everyone didn't really want to do sports because exams were far more terrifying."

That sounds SO much like my elementary school experience. Then part way through high school it became an optional course for credit.

BTW, I really disagree very much with the idea that competitive sports are more suited to schools. It's precisely because so few schools do anything else that half or more of the kids despise gym and drop it like a hot potato the minute it stops being mandatory, and that kids from a young age have learned to strictly divide themselves into active 'sporty' kids and the rest of the world who is inactive. If they actually acknowledged different personality types and interests, they might actually attract more than the same group of kids who always does all these sports.

alexmasters
12-02-2009, 10:06 AM
Great posts people, thank you, I expected this would have equal weighting on both sides of the fence.

It's interesting how some people feel it's not a good idea for school and others really like the idea. I agree Mary; I think an Aikido class in school would be a good option to be able to choose, and not pointless at all, it's true some students would be a complete waste of time and not embrace it but that's the same with everything.

If I were a teacher I would be looking for those one or two students that got engaged and had a passion for it, if it were an option then the students who didn't enjoy it could do something else.

Not all kids are aggressive, competitive and immature and I'm surprised that people on here would tar everyone with the same brush by saying 'No Aikido in schools' simple because a select few are not being sensible about it.

Brett: I imagine there are a lot of naughty Japanese kids, but on my travels to Japan and other parts of East Asia I found there to be a much better maturity and sensible attitude in the kids than here in England, I have taught at college and University and English teenagers are a nightmare in comparison. Obviously this does not count for all English kids, nor does it mean all Japanese kids are saints, I just felt a difference. We English do tend to be 'wind up merchants' :p

alexmasters
12-02-2009, 10:12 AM
I totally agree Basia! :D

I think you have to experience English school to understand it, it's not like American school.

That's exactly what I mean when you talk about two side emerging, the 'sporty side' then 'everyone else'. That is why I wish there had been something like Aikido when I was at school.

Something that I could have been part of and felt confident about rather than feeling like I was crap at sports and subsequently avoiding it like the plague. Plus I bet the girls would have fancied us as little Ninjas, which would make up for the piss taking by the footy kids about the pyjamas :rolleyes:

Thanks for your post Basia!

crbateman
12-02-2009, 10:37 AM
Not all kids are aggressive, competitive and immature and I'm surprised that people on here would tar everyone with the same brush by saying 'No Aikido in schools' simple because a select few are not being sensible about it.Your point is well taken, but I think that, in public schools particularly, "tarring all with the same brush" is difficult to avoid. It would be problematic to single out and exclude those kids whose personalities are judged to be of more concern. I think a school would have only two practical choices: 1) let everybody in, or 2) keep everybody out. To do anything else would be a top-of-the-lungs invitation to litigation. That's just the world we live in... :(

Lyle Laizure
12-02-2009, 11:07 AM
Hello Everyone,

I am currently teaching an Aikido program in five middle schools and one elementary school. It is part of an after school program. I agree that Aikido isn't suited for everyone. But if you don't try something how do you know if it is suited for you. And with that if you don't give it a chance, meaning more than one or two classes how do you really know if it is for you. How many things have you tried and just quit on?

This is the second year I have taught in the middle schools and I am teaching at two more schools this year than last. It is true that some youngens don't have a choice but to participate in my class and some of those students don't make it. Safety is my biggest concern and it is something we discuss. When a new class begins I explain to students that my class is not like thier normal school classes and those that get out of line will get a smack on the back of the head. ( I teach all my regular classes the same.)

Students that will not listen are sent out and can try my class again in the future but as I explain not listening is a safety issue and again safety if my first priority. I teach everything that I would teach at any other class and the only thing that has been hurt during a practice is a bit of pride.

At each school there are students that have a tremendous ability for Aikido and some that do not. Ability isn't an issue so much as attitude. And believe me, middle school youngens have some serious attitude. It isn't however something that can't be overcome in time.

As for the style of Aikido I teach...my SAikido comes by way of Hawaii so it has been descrided as "rumble" Aikido. Youngens like physical contact/activity, well some do so they enjoy the aspect of throwing one another down. Applying techniques comes after students have demonstrated to me they can be safe in what they are doing. We also discuss the use of what we do in class for outside of practice.

Ideally parents would be more involved in thier children's lives but for a lot of reasons they cannot be or will not be in this day and age. Aikido is a magnificent way of prividing a structure to everyone to help them become better individuals. This is the same for any other martial art or activity. A great deal of this is dependent upon the teacher.

If you want any other details feel free to pm me.

alexmasters
12-02-2009, 11:13 AM
Thanks Lyle great stuff. Good to here it's working!

In reply to Clark:

I didn't say anything about excluding anyone, I was referring to them choosing to change subjects. if it were an optional class they would be able to try it and then change if they felt it wasn't for them.

I also find it strange that you refer to public schools, why would private school kids be any different? After all, they do not choose to go to private schools, it's the parents or legal guardians that decide that.

Lyle Laizure
12-02-2009, 11:38 AM
My instructor used to teach after school classes in schools. It wasn't what I'd call a success. Most kids do not want to be there, their parents want them to be there. In fact it pretty much ended up that parents treated the classes like a creche. They could pay 7+ an hour for child care or dump their kids in Aikido for an hour for 3.50, so they came to Aikido.


This used to happen at my dojo. Parents should should be involved in thier childrens' lives. I expect parents to sit through an entire class at least once a month. I only have a couple of young youngens in class now but thier parents are there almost all of the time and I have a couple of parents that train with thier children.

lbb
12-02-2009, 12:21 PM
Aikido is a magnificent way of prividing a structure to everyone to help them become better individuals. This is the same for any other martial art or activity. A great deal of this is dependent upon the teacher.

It absolutely is. So, how do you teach your students to become better individuals, and who taught you how to do that?

SeiserL
12-02-2009, 01:54 PM
I know of at least one graduate program in transpersonal psychology that requires the study of Aikido.

MM
12-02-2009, 02:18 PM
I though the original question regarded aikido in high school? Did I miss something and the topic has changed to middle, elementary, or colleges? Because each school has specific age ranges and should be treated differently.

mathewjgano
12-02-2009, 03:15 PM
Perfectly stated! You also don't want kids who are doing it for the class credit, but have no real affinity for it, walking around trying to crank sankyo's or whatever on random people. If they don't really care about what they're doing they're not going to have much respect for what it's capable of.

They already do it on the college level as a P.E. credit. Highschool doesn't seem much different to me...particularly when you consider every one I know of already has wrestling as a program. My Jr. High had wrestling. I don't remember anyone from those programs assaulting people...certainly no more so than any other group of people I've known. I get that it couldn't be a "pure" form of whatever arts were used and perhaps there should be some form of disclaimer. The curriculum would have to have very specific goals in mind, among which would be not getting sued or otherwise held liable for anything. In P.E. Football you play flag; in Football football you sign a waver and hit each other. It would depend on the nature of the program for what kind of constraints to apply.
As regards liability I've never been directly injured practicing any of the few styles of Aikido I've experienced, but I've been injured plenty playing football, soccer and other sports.
To answer another question, I think a softer style would generally be an easier choice for the school system...or at least some kind of low impact curriculum.

mathewjgano
12-02-2009, 03:24 PM
I though the original question regarded aikido in high school? Did I miss something and the topic has changed to middle, elementary, or colleges? Because each school has specific age ranges and should be treated differently.

Sorry. Lately I've been thinking about this idea of applying activities like martial arts in a public education setting. Didn't mean to expand the topic too much.

ninjaqutie
12-02-2009, 03:41 PM
I expect parents to sit through an entire class at least once a month.

Interesting to hear your thoughts on this. It seems to me from the old dojo I went to, the kids were paying more attention to their parents then class when they were there. I think it is best if they aren't in the dojo watching. Minimizes distractions. My current dojo doesn't have parents watch either. I don't know if this is a dojo preference or not though. The one parent that stays the whole class sits downstairs and reads. The rest just pick their kid up after.

alexmasters
12-02-2009, 07:14 PM
I was referring to high school in my initial question, simply because I think thats the only period of education that is called the same in most countries.

Colleges and middle schools, and primary schools go by different name in different countries as far as I'm aware, didn't want it to get too confusing but all are relevant. (Please refrain from picking this apart and correcting me, i'm just assuming this, it's not important, the age, say 12 - 18 that's the ball park age group.)

I think all are best discussed together, for comparison.

crbateman
12-02-2009, 08:26 PM
I didn't say anything about excluding anyone, I was referring to them choosing to change subjects. if it were an optional class they would be able to try it and then change if they felt it wasn't for them.I was referring to your surprise that people would take the "No Aikido" position in such black and white terms. I offered a possible explanation for that. No offense intended... Personally, I think it would be great if the schools offered Aikido, but there's not much progressive thinking going on in the schools around here. Most thinking is in absolutes. They're so worried about being sued every two hours, that it's a wonder that they have left any "fun" activities in the curriculum.

alexmasters
12-03-2009, 04:27 AM
Yeah i see what you mean Clark, it's a shame isn't it? When I was at school there didn't seem to be any worry about people suing or stuff like that, seems the world is changing so much.

I can't imagine how it might be in 10 years time, I doubt things will go back to the way they were say twenty years ago or something like that, where you'd get a clip round the ear for misbehaving and stuff.

lbb
12-03-2009, 07:36 AM
I think the talk about lawsuits is a bit of a red herring here. This thread didn't start as a question to a bunch of school administrators about whether they would be open to aikido classes in their schools -- it was a question to a bunch of aikidoka as to what we thought of teaching aikido in schools. A number of us have expressed reservations about this, and mine, at least, have nothing whatsoever to do with the likeliness of lawsuits. So perhaps a bit less of the "oh you can't do anything anymore because everyone's so lawsuit-happy", yes? The question of lawsuits is irrelevant if you decide something's just not a good idea.

Lyle Laizure
12-03-2009, 10:46 AM
It absolutely is. So, how do you teach your students to become better individuals, and who taught you how to do that?

It starts with "onegaishimasu," The definition I use is that it means "I am offering my body for your training, please respect it." From this I use instances on the mat to show where they are not being very "onegaishimasu" and when an opening presents itself I try to get them to realize that what we are doing with regard to respecting one another applys to everything. I ask them a lot of leading questions to get them on the same page of thinking I am using as well. It doesn't always work but for some it does.

As for who taught me, I have to give all credit to the Lord and my sensei. Without the understanding and patience of both mixed I couldn't do what I am doing.

Lyle Laizure
12-03-2009, 10:50 AM
Interesting to hear your thoughts on this. It seems to me from the old dojo I went to, the kids were paying more attention to their parents then class when they were there. .

In the beginning this is normal but after a couple of classes it diminishes. Now and again I will call on the parents to be their child's uke for escapes and such.

ninjaqutie
12-03-2009, 11:34 AM
In the beginning this is normal but after a couple of classes it diminishes. Now and again I will call on the parents to be their child's uke for escapes and such.

Hmm... I'm glad this works out for you. I think that is an interesting concept (parents being uke- provided they can take ukemi).

Zach Trent
12-03-2009, 12:10 PM
Hi friends-

I am quite interested in this topic- My M.A. thesis is going to look at the impact of "embodiment eduation" on youth in conflict and youth at risk.

The areas I hope to explore are acting, Aikido, yoga, and maybe meditation.

Obviously, I think it is useful and would be helpful to teach Aikido in high schools (even over MMA or other martial arts). I certainly don't think that competitive sports are more helpful for young people who are developing their sense of self- on the contrary I think it helps to establish a mentality of conflict and aggression in the world that stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Of course- anything mandatory isn't very helpful, but the option would be a wonderful thing.

SmilingNage
12-03-2009, 01:26 PM
Martial Arts in general are beneficial to school age children. The Martial Arts provide the bridge between the mental and physical aspects of one's character. All to often there is a disconnect between the Mind and body in children, Martial Arts and some sports help bridge that gap.

I have taught public middle school children, as part of a curriculum, it was one of their electives. I believe the Principal had a different martial per trimester come in and teach the kids. I would say it was a challenge, as per the children were not use to addressing a person with respect. If anything, that was the issue I drove home to them. The first 2 to 3 weeks of classes were getting these kids to recognize that isn't a joke or waste of time or just a class to hang out. If they wanted me to teach them Aikido, then it would have to be done my way. Believe me it was struggle.

The next point is, Aikido involves ukemi as well as understanding and restraint. Until you get the kids up to speed ukemi-wise, the class is really limited until you can get the kids to roll safely and secondly be trusted enough to act responsibly enough to execute a technique. You have to teach ukemi, how to attack, technique and finally enough understanding of the technique to know how far you can go with a technique before it becomes a hazard. All in a hr period 1x or 2x a week. Its basically building a dojo from the ground. By the time things get going the semester is over. Its a huge challenge to teach Aikido as part of school curriculum from a teaching perspective, never mind any of the school system and state education rules that need be addressed.

As for parents sitting in on children's class, I think its great as long as the parents follow the golden rules, do not interact with your children on the mat, and be quiet as possible. The children need to be focused on the instructor and on his/her assistants and nothing else.

Kent Enfield
12-03-2009, 03:17 PM
It starts with "onegaishimasu," The definition I use is that it means "I am offering my body for your training, please respect it."
How do you get that out of "onegaishimasu"? :confused:

As for the main question in the OP:
I'm interested in hearing what other countries do and whether you feel it would be beneficial to teach Aikido at high school level.
I don't see how aikido would be more or less beneficial than any other martial art, sport, or difficult activity of any sort. If you mean offering it at as an optional activity, whether elective class or club activity, I don't see anything wrong with that. If you mean adding it to the required curriculum, it strikes me as entirely bizarre.

aikidoc
12-03-2009, 08:11 PM
I have a college class (community) and also high school students getting PE credits.

crbateman
12-03-2009, 10:37 PM
I think the talk about lawsuits is a bit of a red herring here. This thread didn't start as a question to a bunch of school administrators about whether they would be open to aikido classes in their schools -- it was a question to a bunch of aikidoka as to what we thought of teaching aikido in schools. A number of us have expressed reservations about this, and mine, at least, have nothing whatsoever to do with the likeliness of lawsuits. So perhaps a bit less of the "oh you can't do anything anymore because everyone's so lawsuit-happy", yes? The question of lawsuits is irrelevant if you decide something's just not a good idea.Mary, I will reiterate that I opined this because it was specifically asked by the original poster (whom I addressed directly in my response) why some people might see logic in categorically rejecting the notion of Aikido training in schools. That one might be mindful of the litigious nature of our society today is, in my opinion, not irrelevant (I wish it was). Sorry you feel so strongly that my response was off topic, but I felt the question put to me was at least deserving of an answer. I shall now repair to my books, and leave this topic to those more motivated.

Lyle Laizure
12-03-2009, 10:39 PM
How do you get that out of "onegaishimasu"? :confused:


Onegaishimasu -"do me this favor" What favor is it you're asking your partner for. I will grant you that the definition I use is not a literal translation but IMO it is an implied concept.

lbb
12-04-2009, 09:50 AM
How do you get that out of "onegaishimasu"? :confused:


Onegaishimasu -"do me this favor" What favor is it you're asking your partner for. I will grant you that the definition I use is not a literal translation but IMO it is an implied concept.Right, but I believe in general, "onegaishimasu" is used more or less as "please" is used in English when asking for something. It's a courtesy, but an ordinary daily courtesy -- while it's better than just saying, "Gimme the ketchup," I don't know that it really rises to the level of creating a better human being.

If we are to promote the value of aikido in creating better human beings or resolving conflict or straightening out your life or curing bad breath or whatever, we need to be honest about it and not exaggerate. Aikido is not a magic pill. When presented in the right way by the right person, it can serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of people who are ready to make such changes, but so can countless other things, from writing to volunteer work to spiritual practices to rock climbing. This forum naturally self-selects for people who feel that their lives were changed for the better by aikido; many of them may never have experienced such a change before, and (erroneously) attribute some unique character to aikido as a result. The truth is, if you're ready to make a change, there are a lot of catalysts that will get the job done. Hence, the problem that I have with putting aikido in schools is that it puts the emphasis in the wrong place, and creates an unrealistic set of expectations. Yes, there is magic in the process...but its name is not "aikido".

Keith Larman
12-04-2009, 10:34 AM
Right, but I believe in general, "onegaishimasu" is used more or less as "please" is used in English when asking for something. It's a courtesy, but an ordinary daily courtesy -- while it's better than just saying, "Gimme the ketchup," I don't know that it really rises to the level of creating a better human being.

When I first learned the term it was in context of ordering beer or Sake at a Japanese restaurant. "O-sake, onegaishimasu!"

One second thought that was about making me a better person... I like Sake... Makes me happy. Happy is better. ;)

But I remember someone later saying "Onegaishimasu" is about offering up your body, etc. I remember sitting there in seiza wondering "was I offering up my body to the cute waitress every time I ordered sake?"

Translation and context is fun...

lbb
12-04-2009, 11:17 AM
But I remember someone later saying "Onegaishimasu" is about offering up your body, etc. I remember sitting there in seiza wondering "was I offering up my body to the cute waitress every time I ordered sake?"

If that's true, then the cute waitresses at the sushi bar are offering their bodies every time they hand the itamae an order! :D

Keith Larman
12-04-2009, 11:31 AM
If that's true, then the cute waitresses at the sushi bar are offering their bodies every time they hand the itamae an order! :D
Good God, I know where I'm going for lunch then. They say it to customers too! I think they're Korean and don't really get it either, but whatever... ;)

Seriously, on aikido in schools...

I teach kids are our headquarters. Grade school and up. Those who start at grade school level are there because they know anything about Aikido -- it's their parents who put them there. Most have fun, some even stay over time. A few grow up to be incredible aikidoka. Some are there because they have "issues" that their parents think will magically be solved by getting them into "martial arts". Well, usually that doesn't work as the real issue usually isn't whether I can *make* them behave in class. It is why their parents can't...

Which leads into the point Mary made originally -- not everyone is cut out for it. On that issue I am of two minds. There is no problem if they try something like Aikido as a sort of PE deal. Heck, there were things I was terrible at -- the rope climb in gymnastic. I dreaded that. But it was simply part of PE. You can't like everything.

On the other hand aikido does train in things like throws, wrist controls, joint controls, and even some painful things (yonkyo done as a nerve pinch). There I have some issues. Some kids don't need to learn new and unique ways to hurt other kids. Nor do they need to be in a class where they're given an opportunity to do just that.

So... I'm of two minds. If it is going to happen they need to be *really* careful and monitor the kids closely. And there better be a mechanism for dealing with those kids who get out of line.

In a dojo setting the door swings both ways. We've suspended kids who misbehaved in class. I had one kid intentionally hurt another one -- he found himself kicked out for a long time. He had issues, but the issues were deeper and much too important to deal with to think that we could fix them. And we let the parent know just that.

Kent Enfield
12-04-2009, 11:45 AM
If that's true, then the cute waitresses at the sushi bar are offering their bodies every time they hand the itamae an order! :D
Damn, you two have put every self-introduction I did or heard at my middle school in Japan in a disturbing new light.

Lyle Laizure
12-04-2009, 01:31 PM
Right, but I believe in general, "onegaishimasu" is used more or less as "please" is used in English when asking for something. It's a courtesy, but an ordinary daily courtesy -- while it's better than just saying, "Gimme the ketchup," I don't know that it really rises to the level of creating a better human being.

If we are to promote the value of aikido in creating better human beings or resolving conflict or straightening out your life or curing bad breath or whatever, we need to be honest about it and not exaggerate. Aikido is not a magic pill. When presented in the right way by the right person, it can serve as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of people who are ready to make such changes, but so can countless other things, from writing to volunteer work to spiritual practices to rock climbing. This forum naturally self-selects for people who feel that their lives were changed for the better by aikido; many of them may never have experienced such a change before, and (erroneously) attribute some unique character to aikido as a result. The truth is, if you're ready to make a change, there are a lot of catalysts that will get the job done. Hence, the problem that I have with putting aikido in schools is that it puts the emphasis in the wrong place, and creates an unrealistic set of expectations. Yes, there is magic in the process...but its name is not "aikido".

I'm not crediting Aikido nor onegaishimasu with creating a better human being. But what does it take to make someone a good human being? Good manners are a start.

mathewjgano
12-04-2009, 02:33 PM
If it is going to happen they need to be *really* careful and monitor the kids closely. And there better be a mechanism for dealing with those kids who get out of line.


I agree. I think for it to be accepted in public education as part of the regular PE curriculum, whatever martial art was used would have to be seriously pared down. Nearly all the impact would need to be removed to the levels it already is in PE for other sports and activities (e.g. if no floor hockey, then no punchy punchy). It would be Aikido-based, not Aikido.
Certainly it's not for everyone, but neither is geometry, calculus, or any other number of subjects students are forced to take.

OwlMatt
12-12-2009, 08:09 AM
I can't speak to Aikido in schools directly, but I do have experience with martial arts as school curriculum. I work as an aide at a public charter school in Milwaukee for students (grades 1-12) with learning disabilities and behavioral issues. Most of our student body is made up of children from low income and/or inner city families.

All of our students who are physically able take taekwondo as a class. We have a wonderful taekwondo instructor on staff who is very focused on teaching students the principles of the martial arts (rather than just the moves) and I am seeing it work wonders for my students, especially those students who have trouble controlling their anger.

Perhaps aikido might be a little more difficult to implement than taekwondo, because aikido requires a greater degree of trust between students. But I can say this for certain: martial arts training at my school is really, truly saving lives.

Basia Halliop
12-12-2009, 05:58 PM
Lyle, I kind of see your point, I think. It just means 'please', of course, but from the context in Aikido it means 'please practice with me'. And that can certainly imply important things like agreeing to try help each other learn and agreeing to look out for each other's safety as well as our own, and, for example, the fact that what you're doing is by mutual consent and for mutual benefit is one of the things that makes some of the things we do in training ethically OK (hitting, grabbing, pinning, etc).

As long as you don't tell kids that the japanese phrase 'onegaeshimasu' _literally_ means all that - I would tell them that it literally is just 'please', and then get into the discussion of what we're asking please for - I don't think it's totally out there to draw attention to the significance of asking please before you attack someone....

Azz
12-12-2009, 11:33 PM
My Sensei has taught High School (13 -17) aged students through their schools on quite a few occasions, usually a block of classes are held one week after another.

He has had mixed results depending on the students and their level of maturity when it comes to behavior.

Some weeks they hardly progressed from being able to sit still for a few minutes or to being able to put their bags and shoes in an orderly fashion. But he is a very patient and determined person and has managed to achieve results that teachers could not.
I beleive it is those most troubled and uneducated that need to be reached out to most, and this definately includes children of all ages. They should be at least able to have a glimpse into a world they may have never experienced, let alone heard of before. They may not grasp the opportunity at the time or ever for that matter, but at least there is an awareness there is more to their world than they knew before.

Our childrens classes have shown that through persistence, troubled younger people can be shown a path of greater harmony and happiness.

Who is to say that anyone should not be given the chance to train?

lbb
12-13-2009, 12:14 PM
Some weeks they hardly progressed from being able to sit still for a few minutes or to being able to put their bags and shoes in an orderly fashion. But he is a very patient and determined person and has managed to achieve results that teachers could not.
I beleive it is those most troubled and uneducated that need to be reached out to most, and this definately includes children of all ages. They should be at least able to have a glimpse into a world they may have never experienced, let alone heard of before. They may not grasp the opportunity at the time or ever for that matter, but at least there is an awareness there is more to their world than they knew before.

Our childrens classes have shown that through persistence, troubled younger people can be shown a path of greater harmony and happiness.

Who is to say that anyone should not be given the chance to train?

The counterarguments to having aikido training in schools have nothing to do with not giving them a chance to train; that's a strawman argument. They do have a chance to train, the same as anyone else: dojos are not closed to them. As far as the whole outreach argument: yes, youth at risk are in need of outreach. So...why do you want aikido senseis to do it? How many sensei do you know who are professional educators, or social workers, or psychologists? Believing that an aikido sensei, by virtue of being an aikido sensei, is somehow qualified to help people with their personal problems and struggles, is just buying into the standard set of myths and misconceptions about martial arts.

Lyle Laizure
12-13-2009, 06:08 PM
Lyle, I kind of see your point, I think. It just means 'please', of course, but from the context in Aikido it means 'please practice with me'. And that can certainly imply important things like agreeing to try help each other learn and agreeing to look out for each other's safety as well as our own, and, for example, the fact that what you're doing is by mutual consent and for mutual benefit is one of the things that makes some of the things we do in training ethically OK (hitting, grabbing, pinning, etc).

As long as you don't tell kids that the japanese phrase 'onegaeshimasu' _literally_ means all that - I would tell them that it literally is just 'please', and then get into the discussion of what we're asking please for - I don't think it's totally out there to draw attention to the significance of asking please before you attack someone....

This is what I am saying. Thank you.

Lyle Laizure
12-13-2009, 06:19 PM
The counterarguments to having aikido training in schools have nothing to do with not giving them a chance to train; that's a strawman argument. They do have a chance to train, the same as anyone else: dojos are not closed to them. As far as the whole outreach argument: yes, youth at risk are in need of outreach. .

Some folks do not have a chance to train for a variety of different reasons; for the children in the afterschool program that I currently work with it is a financial situation not to mention distance. I'm sure most of us can relate to missing out on a seminar or something due to financial reasons.

So...why do you want aikido senseis to do it? How many sensei do you know who are professional educators, or social workers, or psychologists? Believing that an aikido sensei, by virtue of being an aikido sensei, is somehow qualified to help people with their personal problems and struggles, is just buying into the standard set of myths and misconceptions about martial arts.

I don't think because one is an Aikido instrutor they are qualified to help people with their personal problems etc, but I think if someone has a good heart and a genuine desire to help another person he/she shouldn't need to be a professional educator, social worker, or psychologist. No doubt there are those that may require help from such professionals but from my experience, admitedly limited, anyone can make a difference in another person's life.

Perhaps we should agree to disagree.