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AnniN 03-15-2009 08:15 AM

Tips for kids class
 
Our dojo has quite recently started kids classes. The children currently training with us are aged 5-8. I was just wondering, are there any games or excercises that you would like to recommend? What techinques do you usually do with kids that age in your dojos? Thanks a lot :D

Aviv 03-15-2009 02:51 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Go to Aikidokids.com and join (free). You can also join our online discussion group. Lots of resources.

jennifer paige smith 03-15-2009 04:37 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Quote:

Anni Nurminen wrote: (Post 226495)
Our dojo has quite recently started kids classes. The children currently training with us are aged 5-8. I was just wondering, are there any games or excercises that you would like to recommend? What techinques do you usually do with kids that age in your dojos? Thanks a lot :D

Hi Anni,
There are plenty of games,ideas and exercises on the aikiwiki right on this site http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/Teachingkids . The resources Aviv mentioned above are good one's, too.

Lulu 06-11-2009 12:10 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
I teach a kids class aged 5 & up. I do not do "games" of any kind, I gear the class to the age level but still teach Aikido. I have witnessed a few kids classes at other Dojos and frankly was appalled at what I saw! Silly jumping about etc. It is just my opinion - I think that the kids are there to learn a Martial Art and the parents are paying for Aikido Instruction - not games.

ninjaqutie 06-12-2009 10:37 AM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
I think you can do aikido and make it fun. A few games for the youngest aren't so bad, provided you do something that will help them progress in their training. Jumping around just for fun isn't furthering their training though. We used to have some of our younger kids do rolls through hula hoops placed vertically on the mat and if they were able to roll well, then we had them roll over an object or through a raised hula hoop. They really seemed to enjoy that.

I have never seen this done, but someone once told me of a game called tails. You stick a rag or something in the back of the kids belts and they have to try to get behind the person to grab the rag. Both kids are moving around and trying to grab each others. It helps them work on trying to get to the back where you can work on several different techniques. You could also have all the students do this if you want a bit more chaos and to make them more aware of their surroundings. Like I said though, I haven't seen or tried this. Just read about it from someone else.

Keith Larman 06-12-2009 12:06 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
I have zero problem with games in kid's class if there is a purpose to them related somehow to Aikido. It might just be learning to work together. Or simple life skills like sitting still, focusing, etc.

One game I do every now and then with the kids, especially if I have a range of abilities, is to have them do "rolling" races. But I modified it a bit -- I tell them the goal is not to win, but to "race" together. So you lose if you go too fast or too slow which is defined by how the other kids are going. I like to get 3 lines of kids going side-by-side and try to mix up the kids so more experienced ones will be going when less experienced ones will also be up. So the newer kids who aren't as comfortable rolling and who tend to hesitate a lot learning rolls will often go a bit faster and "get over" some of their hesitation in the excitement of the game. The more experienced kids learn to roll with more control. And overall the idea is for them to become more aware of everything around them, how to "blend" with the other kids, and how to work together. It also reinforces the notion that the more experienced kids are supposed to "take care" of the newer ones. Be it helping out or simply by rolling slower so they can keep up. Teamwork, responsibility, etc.

Lyle Laizure 06-13-2009 01:58 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
As several have alreayd posted, games are a wonderful way to engage children as long as they are still learning what they are there to learn in the first place. I agree with Lisa that parents are bringing their kids to class for a specific purpose. But I wonder what that purpose really is. I have all my students complete a registration form that includes a space for them to let me know what their learning goals are as well as a space for parents to include what is important to them regarding what their children learn. This does not mean I tailor classes to students/parents requests. I teach what I teach and if they don't like it they don't have to attend. I know that sounds bad but wait.

Any class, whether martial arts or a swimming class or a class on how to tie your shoes should provide participants an avenue to express themselves. It should teach dicipline, self-respect, tolerence, and this list could go on and on and on. While I teach Japanese martial arts and my students are learning those martial arts but with that they learn Japanese culture and more importantly they learn how to relate to others including themselves in a respectful manner. How to overcome what they didn't think they could overcome. To meet obstacales, whether in class or outside of class, with an indomitable spirit.

Whether students ever use the physical side of a martial art they will all have an opportunity to apply the spiritual side. Oh, and I even make the adults play the kids games. :)

Suru 06-13-2009 03:39 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
I've found from training with preadolescents that many are much more capable, focused, and dedicated than I ever thought they would be. I recommend training somewhat gentler with them, but perhaps with not even any less intensity. Flying ukemi and koshinage could be taken out of sessions for safety reasons, but it is quite amazing to realize these mini-people are still people.

This wasn't even at a kid's class, although there might have been a few youngsters among the 20 or so, where I saw Dumlao Sensei (USAF) play a game at the end. I had never seen it before. It was a game of tag while crawling as if under barbed wire in the military. Everyone looked like they loved it. The challenge was that the person who was "it" had to tag another Aikdoka who had never been "it." I had brought a couple friends with me, and during this game at the end, I said to them, "Forget everything you saw before. This is pure Aikido."

Drew

Shannon Frye 06-20-2009 12:43 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
A favorite in my dojos is a variation of Simon Says, but call it "Sensei says". But DON'T elimintate anyone. When kids messup, just say "Ok - we'll start over". Never make anyone sit down for making a mistake.

A kids class with games or fun is a boring dry class. Kids learn best when they are playing.

Another game is to teach them 3 different things (tenkan, irimi, switch feet). Assign each a differnt number, then call them by number. Then start to switch up the order. Kids love it.

Dunken Francis 06-22-2009 02:46 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
We do several "games" in our kids classes. Ukemi races (mixing the teams up after each race, so everyone gets to be on a winning "team") body movement mix-up (sensei calls the tenkan, tai-sabaki, irimi etc and tries to catch them out) and we use plastic cones too to make up slalom courses for ukemi and to create a kind of "circuit training" base whereby the kids can move from partner to partner doing a different technique with each. Still Aikido, but keeps them interested, especially the younger ones (we start them at 7-8 years)

Amendes 07-29-2009 01:35 AM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Quote:

Anni Nurminen wrote: (Post 226495)
Our dojo has quite recently started kids classes. The children currently training with us are aged 5-8. I was just wondering, are there any games or excercises that you would like to recommend? What techinques do you usually do with kids that age in your dojos? Thanks a lot :D

There is a very good book written by Gaku Homma founder of Nippon Kan in Denver. He personally gave me a copy of all his books to share with everyone at our school. Of course since I am sharing I lent this one out recently to one of the students at our school who is teaching now. The book is called "Children and the Martial Arts". You will find games and exercises in it as advice on teaching children. I think everyone who teaches children any martial art can benefit from it.

AnniN 09-12-2009 05:31 AM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Another question: we have recently got a couple of older kids in our class as well: 9-12 year olds. How large an age range do you usually have in kids classes? How would you conduct a class with both 5-6 year olds and 9-12 year olds without the older ones getting frustrated or the younger ones overwhelmed? We are thinking of having a separate older kids class but there aren't that many of them yet...Any tips are welcome! :D

Brian Gillaspie 09-12-2009 06:43 AM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
We let kids in our dojo played shikko tag and shikko dodgeball (same rules as freeze tag or regular dodgeball but the only way you can move is with shikko and forward or backwards rolls). We only play games for the last few minutes of class...and they have to earn it by paying attention and working hard during class.

As far as ages, I think there could be some benefit so separating older and younger kids but at our dojo this is not really an option because there are just a few kids in the class. Keeping all kids under 13 in the same class has been working ok for us.

Jorge Garcia 09-12-2009 08:48 AM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Quote:

Lisa Donner wrote: (Post 232460)
I teach a kids class aged 5 & up. I do not do "games" of any kind, I gear the class to the age level but still teach Aikido. I have witnessed a few kids classes at other Dojos and frankly was appalled at what I saw! Silly jumping about etc. It is just my opinion - I think that the kids are there to learn a Martial Art and the parents are paying for Aikido Instruction - not games.

I feel exactly like Lisa does. I have also had the privilege of teaching hundreds of kids at the YMCA over a 5 year period. At one time, we had 30 kids from ages 6 to 10 and 25 kids from ages 10 to 14. I never played a single game. We ran a regular class just like the adult class with modified (simpler) versions of the techniques. Just like the adults, we taught breakfalls and all sorts of ukemi and every aspect of Aikido. I think our kids have had a ton of fun but I also am glad they learned Aikido techniques. I have kids that have been with me from 5 to 7 years. Of course, we also have the normal turn over.

I feel that kids can play almost anywhere and usually do. I wanted the dojo to be a different place for them where they could practice self discipline as well.

What we teach and do in our classes is here.
http://www.shudokanaikido.com/docume...quirements.pdf

My kids have learned that you don't have to play all the time and that you don't always have to be entertained. They have learned to have fun behaving and learning.

Best wishes,
Jorge

Michael Hackett 09-12-2009 02:37 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Our kids' class is currently composed of two groups; the little ones range from about five to eight, while the older kids are in their early teens. One thing we've done recently has been to pair the older and bigger kids with the little ones to train for periods of mat time. The older kids act as mentors to the little ones and are amazingly good about helping them progress. The older ones benefit from developing some leadership and teaching skills and the younger ones enjoy throwing and pinning the much bigger ones. Safety hasn't been much of an issue although we are constantly on the watch and I've been really impressed at how careful and caring the older kids are with their smaller training partners.

If we've really run them into the ground during class, we will occasionally play an Aikido-related game the last five minutes of class time. Frequently we do a variation of sumo in which the students have to use Aikido technique in the ring and sometimes we will do a variety of "Sensei Says" kind of thing which requires the students to pay attention to the names and terms. We encourage shikko tag before classes bow in and they usually are pretty well warmed up and stretched before formal warm-ups.

Class size is usually around a dozen students on any given day and we always have a minimum of two instructors on the mat with them so we have the luxury of dividing class up into two groups and providing different, but related material to each group.

Dang, but they teach me a lot every session!

Lyle Laizure 07-30-2010 09:48 AM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
I will play a game or two from time to time but generally I teach children no differently than I teach adults. Which is probably why most of the adults I teach look at me funny, but it all works.

Aviv 03-29-2011 12:36 PM

Summer Internships for Kids Instructors
 
This Summer we will have a week of kids day camp and a week of teens uchideshi camp. For each of these weeks we have the opportunity for one or two instructors that are interested in learning about teaching Aikido to children to be uchideshi at our great "green" dojo and participate in these programs. No experience is required.

Please contact us if you are interested.

Abasan 05-09-2011 11:55 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Quote:

Jorge Garcia wrote: (Post 240493)
I feel exactly like Lisa does. I have also had the privilege of teaching hundreds of kids at the YMCA over a 5 year period. At one time, we had 30 kids from ages 6 to 10 and 25 kids from ages 10 to 14. I never played a single game. We ran a regular class just like the adult class with modified (simpler) versions of the techniques. Just like the adults, we taught breakfalls and all sorts of ukemi and every aspect of Aikido. I think our kids have had a ton of fun but I also am glad they learned Aikido techniques. I have kids that have been with me from 5 to 7 years. Of course, we also have the normal turn over.

I feel that kids can play almost anywhere and usually do. I wanted the dojo to be a different place for them where they could practice self discipline as well.

What we teach and do in our classes is here.
http://www.shudokanaikido.com/docume...quirements.pdf

My kids have learned that you don't have to play all the time and that you don't always have to be entertained. They have learned to have fun behaving and learning.

Best wishes,
Jorge

Please teach me how to have the kids pay attention and keep quiet during class be it in demonstration or practice. :o

genin 07-26-2011 09:44 AM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Typically most dojos instill a sense of discipline in their students, especially children (who need it the most). That being said, the student's ability to receive discipline is directly related to what goes on at home. I was a good kid, taught well by my parents, so I always feared and respected my master, never doing anything that I thought would disappoint him. That being said, there were some kids who you could tell just weren't getting it. I recall the kid who for no apparent reason spat a huge puddle in front of him during stretching excercises one day. Who does that in a dojo?!?

I guess the point is that for most kids, a standardized disciplined based system will work. They can be trained alongside adults in most cases. But there are some kids that won't allow themselves to be trained, at least not easily. That's a problem any teacher or parent faces with children, even outside of martial arts.

Lyle Laizure 08-09-2011 08:20 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Quote:

Shannon Frye wrote: (Post 233128)
A favorite in my dojos is a variation of Simon Says, but call it "Sensei says". But DON'T elimintate anyone. When kids messup, just say "Ok - we'll start over". Never make anyone sit down for making a mistake.

I have done the "Sensei says" game. I don't understand why you wouldn't eliminate anyone during the process of the game after making a mistake. What's that about?

Jorge Garcia 08-10-2011 02:46 PM

Re: Tips for kids class
 
Quote:

Ahmad Abas wrote: (Post 283399)
Please teach me how to have the kids pay attention and keep quiet during class be it in demonstration or practice. :o

Nice question but can't do it. It's a gift taught to me by my hispanic mother who could stop any two or three men and has had no trouble with my dad for the last 55 years. He's only one man!:)

Our kids come in quietly, train and then leave the same way because I expect them to. When they look at me, they are sure I mean everything I say and it is that assurance that makes them "self" behave. I teach my kids that playing is undisciplined fun and training is disciplined fun. The dojo is a place for disciplined fun.
Best,
Jorge


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