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Old 08-22-2013, 04:22 AM   #1
David Norton
Dojo: Pax River Aikikai / California, MD
Location: Lexington Park, MD
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 25
Teaching children - age restrictions and safety

Hey all,

I am considering starting a children's class, but there are some things I'd like to know beforehand. First, what is the youngest age I should accept students? In talking to my Dad (who has been coaching kid's sports for more than 50 years), seven years old seems to be the point where kids have the attention span and emotional maturity to participate in sports. This varies, of course. But generally, younger than seven seems to be too young. What is your experience?

Also, I am very concerned about safety for kids. I've heard that growth plate injuries are a big concern for kids in sports. But are growth plate injuries common in the martial arts, or aikido specifically? And what about joint techniques (kotegaeshi, nikkyo, sankyo, etc.)? How safe are these for children? I would think they'd be slightly more dangerous than for adults. But I have only just started to look into it. Does anyone have any solid evidence (e.g. info from medical journals) related to children practicing aikido?

By the way... I've done a bit of searching in the forum here, and have seen some great ideas on running a children's class (games, exercises, etc.). So thanks to everyone who's posted on that subject! I plan on borrow liberally from these posts.

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