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Amassus 02-10-2004 04:40 PM

Training with kids
Hello all

Just recently, the numbers of our adults class has increased three fold. Our small dojo usually has 10 or so people training, now with old members returning and new members beginning, the place is cramped with thirty people.
Among this group are about five 11 - 12 year olds that have 'graduated' from the kids class. They have achieved 4th kyu after three years of kids classes...good on them I say.
My problem however, is this.
I am an adult 4th kyu and due to being equal rank with the kids, find myself training with them more often than not. I feel my training is being effected by this. Due to their small size, my obvious strength advantage, they cannot test my technique or resist. I am tall for an adult and have long arms and legs, one of my irimis can drag a poor kid off his feet before I even attempt to extend.
I understand that this gives me an opportunity to give slow, gentle technique but at the end of the day, I feel I have nothing to aspire to while training with these guys. Also, due to class size now, the class is often cut in half, and people of my rank are considered the highest rank of the 'junior' grades so I do not get to train with the higher belts very often.
The whole dynamic of the club has changed alot. A month ago I would be training with anyone from a beginner right up to a shodan, it was great. Now...

I spoke to one of the club shodans about it, and he agreed that the children perhaps should be a bit older, it is quite a jump from the kids class to the adults. Also, the adult 4th kyus tend to have a higher level of training than the younger 4th kyus due to training with higher belt adults from day one. The chance of a kid getting injured is also a concern.

How would you people battle this problem. I'm actually thinking of changing clubs for awhile until numbers drop away, just so I can have some serious, rigorous training again.:disgust:

taras 02-11-2004 11:07 AM

Dean, have you spoken to your instructor about this? Maybe he is doing this for a reason. Anyway, if you feel that your training is suffering you shyould bring it tot he attention of your instructor before leaving the dojo.


Don_Modesto 02-11-2004 02:08 PM

Re: Training with kids

Dean Suter (Amassus) wrote:
....being equal rank with the kids, find myself training with them more often than not. I feel my training is being effected by this.

I enjoy training with kids, but if I was limited to that, I'd be upset and switch dojo myself. That being the case, I'd have nothing to lose by communicating my frustration to the instructor. Hope this helps.

Josh Bisker 02-11-2004 03:54 PM

Dean mate, i'm sure that this sounds really condescending but i don't mean for it to come off that way, i just want to give you an awareness of something:

in your last paragraph, your words were:

"How would you people battle this problem?"

I agree that your situation sounds troubling and frustrating, and i'm sure that if i were in your shoes i'd want to do something about it too, but maybe "battling" isn't the idea that's going to get you the furthest. As crap as this sounds, maybe you want to think of it in a more "aiki" way; try to assess the negative force that is damaging to you and see how you can negate its negative effects without fleeing or fighting. It sounds like you've been at your dojo for a while now, surely you can talk to your Sensei or your highest Sempai and tell them about your frustration and your difficulty in figuring out what the best decision is. Even if it amounts to no significant change in the dojo, and it might, at least you will not leave with harsh feelings of futility, but maybe good feelings of inclusion in a larger concern. Or who knows, maybe they haven't realized the situation was as bad as it is for you, or maybe they are already at work on a solution.

I don't mean to come off as patronizing or anything, obviously you have a good head and heart in this, but i just saw in your language an idea that might want some help.

Hope things go well,


Amassus 02-11-2004 07:32 PM

Josh - thanks for the advice. Maybe 'battling' was the wrong word to use, I most certainly didn't want to give that sort of aggressive impression. Believe me I'm not the aggressive type...far from it.

I certainly enjoy training with the kids, they are good value, but I really feel my training is hampered. I have spoken to a shaodan about it and he will most likely talk to my instructor.

Its just a matter of weathering the storm really. Its the start of the year, and summer. As the year wears on, our numbers usually drop back.

In the meantime, I'll keep on, keeping on. That attitude has got me this far.

The post was more of a rant I guess, I was venting having just trained the night before.

Thanks again everyone for polite, constructive advice.

Jesse Lee 02-12-2004 06:03 PM

We have a couple junior yudansha that are, I dunno, ten or eleven or something. With each other they extend :ki: and look mighty powerful for all their littleness. With adults, or at least with me, there is almost no power there whatsoever. Honestly it feels like training with a butterfly.

So when working out with them I think, OK, I will train with a butterfly for a while and practice staying connected, ultra-soft, and muscle-free. It is fine for a while, and absolutely yields some benefits. Later I try to pair up with the biggest bruiser on the mat, just to balance things out :)

Ultimately I agree with Don:

I enjoy training with kids, but if I was limited to that, I'd be upset and switch dojo myself.

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