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Old 01-05-2005, 05:54 AM   #6
Lyle Laizure
Lyle Laizure's Avatar
Dojo: Hinode Dojo LLC
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 563
Re: Is aikido suitable for children.

I have taught children ages 5 and up at my sensei's dojo and now in my own. It is very rewarding and eye opening. Age is really a good indicator as each child is an individual and will respond differently. I have had children start that I didn't think would make it but have done fabulously and vise versa. As a rule I tell parents to have the child try a couple of classes before paying for classes. If the child likes it at this point then I allow parents to pay the monthly dues etc. I don't however push a uniform until the child has been in class for a couple of months or at the very latest before the child tests for their first belt.

I also insist, and I think this is the most important thing, that parents sit in on at least one class to see what we do and how we do it. Obviously everything won't be covered in one class but the parent can determine to a small degree how classes are run and will lessen the likelyhood of a parent being aggressive with you when "little Johnny" tells mommy or daddy that you whacked them in the head for not paying attention. It also helps the child feel more at ease during the first class but you can't let the child run to mom or dad when things get tough either. You would be surprised how many parents don't have the "time" to sit in on a class.

I have taught in both situations, a childrens only class and a mixed class. I think having a childrens only class is nice but having a mixed class has tremendous advantages. PM me if you would like more info.

Getting started is the most difficult aspect of teaching children. Once you have one or two that have a few of the basics down it will become considerably easier as children teach themselves.

Lyle Laizure
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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