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going along with this week's poll...
it seems closer than most... how did you guys vote and why do you feel that way?
12-21-2000, 04:19 PM
I believe that Aikido classes can teach children the fundamental principles of Aikido. I feel this way for several reasons. Reason number one is that I have experience teaching children, and I've found that the children are able to grasp the most basic aspects of Aikido such as ukemi (much faster than the adults). I will admit that children require more time to learn certain techniques due to the complexity of the technique, but the simpler techniques (Kotegaeshi, Nikyo) are easy for them to grasp. I've found that patience is the key when working with children and it's important to use visual teaching methods (I've had the most success by talking less).
Reason number two is that I believe Aikido is one of the best martial arts for children to learn. Aikido (most styles) are non-competitive and the techniques are learned in a completely cooperative manner. Since there is no competition, the students don't feel like they have lost or they are "not as good as" another student. Children learn to work with other children, not try to compete with them.
Reason number three follows along with reason number two. Aikido is non-violent and entirely defensive. I've never had a teacher or parent call me and inform me that one of my Aikido students picked a fight with another child and beat him / her up. On the other hand, I've witnessed children who have studied other martial arts try to demonstrate their abilities on other children.
I will agree that all martial arts were intended for defensive purposes. However, one must agree that Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Jeet Kun Do, etc. all use punching and kicking as parts of there defensive techniques. Punching and kicking is offensive in nature (I'm not going to argue the point of simultaneous attack/defense, so just agree with me for now), I believe if you teach children how to punch and kick to defend themselves the likelihood of them using techniques like that on a friend (even if just messing around) is greater and someone could get hurt. I suppose the same is also possible with Aikido techniques although I do not know of any Aikido student who has just grabbed someones hand and performed Nikyo or Kotegaeshi for no good reason.
I realize this was a long post, I just firmly believe that children can learn the fundamentals of Aikido and benefit from them.
12-21-2000, 04:45 PM
I've sat through some pretty interesting children's classes and was amazed by what I saw. Children may not be able to grasp the full range and depth of Aikido but they begin to assimilate the principles from the time they start. Later they add that knowledge to their improved hand-eye coordination and end up getting better a bit faster (generally speaking) than those who have never touched the stuff. Also, children have an empty cup so to speak and bring no habits to their training. Special teaching methods can be used to facilitate learning and interest in the students thus helping them acquire some skill while having fun and sometimes even paying attention. :) IMO.
12-24-2000, 07:52 PM
Children classes are great. The children at my dojo seems, more like do very well in all kinds of stuff. As a helper, I help at the children class three times a week. I started out as a nine year old in a children class and now I am 14 almost 15 year old teen who still helps and trains in the children classes. What really surprises me is how much techniques and information that these children can take in and remember. The children classes most consist of 7-13 years old. I mean these kids like know a lot. While I watch these kids test, they really surprise me. On most tests there are randori work and some hidden surprises. Most children just move right through with randori work as if they were only testing with a single uke instead of multiple ukes. Kids seem to learn more of the basic rather than the idea of the name of the technique and how they do it. I remember testing for my yellow belt (a very long time ago). There were probably three or four techniques. Basic blends, shihonage, and maybe ikkyo, and some basic ukemi. Now these test are so much harder. Now there are even more stuff but there are even more stuff. Everything from vocab to even randori work, but what really surprises me is that the children breeze right through them as if it was really nothing. Children are very good. I think that is very important that the senior "adult" student spend some time in the children classes to help the younger students to learn new things. Chidren usually like training with adults but are sometimes shy about meeting new people. It would almost be treat to them if an adult student was to help out in a children. Both the adults and the children would gain a lot of exprience by training and learning from each other.
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