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sbaker4224 10-11-2003 06:16 PM

teaching kids Aikido - can you share ideas
Hello -
We have had a kid's Aikido class at our dojo for about 2 years now. It is going well all-in-all. I have been involved for about the last year.
We spend time working on basic footwork, strikes, ukemi, and such. Sometimes we play games and other times we do basic techniques.

I am wondering if anyone knows of any good web sites or books about teaching children (ages 7 to 14 primarily)? I am wondering how other people run their classes. What seems to work and what over time seems not to really do much.

Thank you,

akiy 10-11-2003 06:35 PM

Although the site is a bit graphics-heavy in some places for my taste, here's a site devoted to the subject of aikido and kids:

Hope that helps,

-- Jun

batemanb 10-13-2003 01:10 AM

I've been teaching a kids class for about a month now. Michael Friedl has a good book "Ahh to be a kid" withs some interesting games. It's out of print at the moment, but a lot of the games are available on the site that Jun mentioned above. Gaku Homma also has a book "Children and the Martial Arts: An Aikido Point of View" which also has some good info.



Sharon Seymour 10-13-2003 02:13 PM

Hi, Sarah. I like the book The Peaceful Way: a children's guide to the traditions of the martial arts, by Claudio A. Iedwab. Not Aikido-specific, but has lots of good stories and information for you and your students.

We have also been enjoying the stories from Remembering O-Sensei.

Jesse Lee 10-14-2003 02:40 PM

Bruce Bookman produced a video years ago, titled "Teaching Aikido to Children." I have not watched it, though.

Kensho Furuya 10-14-2003 03:14 PM

I have been teaching kids since the early 70's and have worked with many kids with "special needs" as well. Over the years, I have learned to treat kids like adults with the same expectations. If you treat them like adults they begin to act like adults and think like adults and learn to take responsibility. With much younger kids, I emphasize more flexibility and hand-eye, hand-foot coordination exercises, balance, footwork are important. Many kids do not receive enough strength training as well in the public school system, some running, jogging in place, push-ups and sit-ups are also important.

Kids must be quiet, learn to bow and say, Hai!, when spoken to in my Dojo. They must keep their uniforms clean and behave themselves. Many of my kids continue and graduate to the adult classes and some have become black belts in turn. One of my assistants started when he was fourteen. One student who started with me in college is still with me for the last 35 years. Several of my kids, I have seen recently are now married with kids of their own.

Kids need respect and if given respect, will in turn learn to respect others. They must learn that it is all give and take. If I act silly in class to entertain them, they will act silly too. If you act seriously in class, they will become more serious about what they are doing.

Kids need honesty, and do not like to be cheated, feel cheated or lied to. You must be very alert when teaching kids because they absorb everything you do and say. Finally, all kids have a natural genius and it is up to you to help them to develop their genius and natural talents.

I have not ever met any bad kids, but I have met a lot who have "learned" to be bad. Sometimes we have to correct this too and Aikido is the very best for this.

If you have a good heart, the kids will sense this and develop their good hearts too. I recommend all my black belts to help out with our children's class to develop their teaching skills. Some people can teach adults but not kids. If you can teach kids well, you can teach anyone very well. A kids will challenge you as a teacher - you will learn more from teaching the kids than they will ever learn from you. Give them all you have. Hope these hints help you out. Thanks.

Sharon Seymour 10-14-2003 08:25 PM

I have viewed the video by Bruce Bookman Sensei and found it helpful. Thumbs up.

Furuya Sensei, thank you for your inspiring essay. I have taught children since 1984 and concur in all your comments. Children will keep you honest in your training and hone your teaching skills. I have learned not to underestimate their capacity for understanding.

Sarah, thanks for starting this thread. I look forward to more excellent posts!

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