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Old 06-17-2008, 03:41 AM   #3
Eva Antonia
Location: Brussels
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 211
Re: Can Aikido become contagious amongst the village kids?

Merhaba Irem,

I'm also one of the silent readers in this forum (only 5th kyu so I think I don't have too much valuable contributions to make in the technical threads at the moment...), but I'm a mum of four kids, who all do aikido, and I have observed the kids groups in our dojo for a while.

I think for children aikido is much more difficult than for us adults. They need more time to learn techniques efficiently, and they practice with each other. So they rarely benefit from training with someone really experienced, whereas as an adult beginner you often get the opportunity to train with an advanced aikidoka from whom you can learn a lot both as uke and as tori.

If you start a dojo in a village I assume it would be even more difficult - all of the kids would start from scratch, and you wouldn't even have a yellow or orange belt among them. So if they don't see the impacts you can achieve with aikido, they will be much less fascinated than children in a mixed dojo where they see also advanced aikidokas working together.

If I were you I'd try to bring some more experienced children from town into the village dojo and maybe also two or three adults, just to show them some of the more spectacular applications and make them long to master these also one day. Even better if you could bring regularly two or three kids that have already some basic knowledge, so that they could train with someone more advanced than they are.

I think another factor is getting some parents to co-operate. Didn't you mention that there was already one father participating? Maybe you could get some more? In my dojo, more than half of the kids come with their parents, and this helps enormously keeping the children interested. First, because they can talk about their progress to a father or mother who understands something about the subject, second, because they can from time to time throw their mom or dad on the mat, third, because they can practice a bit at home with their parents, when they want, fourth, whenever the kid is not very motivated but the parent is, this helps to keep them on track.

And last, use weapons! Things like tantos and bokkens just fascinate children, especially little boys. And there are some simple attacks like shomen uchi gokyo with the tanto, which you can easily train with children, which doesn't require them to take ukemi, and which makes them feel that they really learnt something useful (they just shoudl get it very clear that they shouldn't repeat it at home with the kitchen knife... ).

In our club and generally in Belgium, children start at six years. Smaller ones have great difficulty to concentrate, and sometimes they are afraid of ukemi - but I know in Istanbul a dojo where they have lessons from 4 years up (; and it seems to work; maybe they could also give you a tip.

Best regards, and I wish you both fun and success with your village dojo,

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