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Old 01-25-2006, 06:50 AM   #37
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,219
United Kingdom
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Re: should there be an age for black belts?

My own experience is this:

I started a kids class when I first ventured into teaching aikido. I thought that the minimum age should be 8 as I figured that by that age they should be able to last the 1 hour, attention span wise. I did take on 1 young lad who was 7 because he looked me straight in the eye and asked me if he could start, because he really wanted to do it. So on he came. He's still with me roughly 6 years later, and is now practicing happily with my adults group.
As for the age for 1st dan? Our Federation has a minimum age of 17, and a great grading system that allows for juniors to progress, through to youth, and finally to senior grading, with gradings taking place at regular intervals.
As for wrist damage, we just don't practice in a way that may cause damage. Our emphasis is on movement and co-ordination, and not using 'strength' to apply techniques. ( you've probably guessed I am from the Ki end of the aikido spectrum ).
One of my juniors, a young girl of almost 13, has been with me for about 4 years, has moved up to practice with the adults. She has no trouble dealing with the fully grown men, and many of them are totally surprised by how effortlessly she can perform her technique. I just smile, when I hear a loud bang as someone hits the mat down the end that she is practicing, as when I look it is inevitably some guy on the end of her 'aikido'.
Ages are thing, maturity is another, attitude another still, sometimes they come together sometimes they don't.

I recently read in our local paper of a 6 year old gaining a black belt in TKD. Now that may be a little young, don't you think?

Cheers,

Mark

Last edited by Mark Freeman : 01-25-2006 at 06:59 AM.

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