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Old 08-06-2011, 02:15 PM   #3
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,225
Re: Teaching Children Aikido

Peter Wong wrote: View Post
Sensei is thinking of starting a children's Aikido class to help with the rent. But does not feel comfortable teaching children joint locks nor does he want to be a babysitter. So... for those who teach children or have children classes at their school,what do ya teach?
When I taught I focused more on balance and good posture principles, so we did a lot of irimi tenkan and simple push-tests to get the kids used to being strong in multiple directions (or at least to start thinking about it). We did a lot of rolls and warm-ups as well as breathing exercises.
A "game" I often employed was to use a shinai with simple shomen, kesa and tsuki attacks (I also did an empty hand version) slowed down and having them practice simple evasions to focus on maai and irimi tenkan. I told them to "count coup" by tapping my koshi ita if they could...It was probably better practice for me than for them.
I also focused a lot on ukemi with the idea in mind of teaching them ways to avoid getting hurt by going with the flow rather than fighting against it and always trying to keep slack in the areas where slack is being taken out.
I think quite a lot can be covered just with simple grabs, irimi tenkan, and tai sabaki. I was always very quick to point out that I wasn't trying to teach them how to "fight" but rather to get them to practice some of the important parts involved, namely balance and awareness of some of the ways the body can potentially move. At the end of class I would have them attack me so I could do a kind of "free-form" ukemi practice (since it wasn't clear exactly how I was going to move them), giving pointers where I could. I found this was a good way to guage their ukemi in a safe way. I would say my classes could've been described as "beginning ukemi," more than Aikido.
...Just saw Michael's post. He'd certainly be a better source than me. I'll only add that I had a 6 year old in my class, but he was only allowed to stay because he was exceptionally well-focused. Another student was allowed to attend one class, but wasn't able to focus. I told the parent she wasn't quite ready yet and they seemed to understand completely.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 08-06-2011 at 02:19 PM.

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