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Old 05-27-2008, 01:10 PM   #11
jennifer paige smith
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Dojo: Confluence Aiki-Dojo / Santa Cruz Sword Club
Location: Santa Cruz
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,049
Re: Children transitioning to adult class.

Keith said:

"3. Preparing them for adult level tests. In our dojo once they hit about 14 we start testing them as adults. Basically kids start testing at 10th kyu, adults at 5th. So the transition from 6th to 5th is really a large jump from kiddie ranks to adult. And there simply is no "kid" 5th kyu test. There is no distinction. So if they get that far they will be in an adults test. I've had a number of kids test now for gokyu and even yonkyu. Each has aced their tests often doing better than all the adults testing for the same ranks. I've joked with the Chief Instructor that my ultimate goal is for my evil sith kids ninja death squad to shame the adults into preparing better for their tests. Just kidding of course, but there is a real lesson here. Some of these kids are so grounded in basics due to years and years of basic kids classes that if you get them going in a focused, strong, high expectation class they will often do *very* well *very* quickly. They hit about 13 or 14 and they can really blossom. They don't always realize just how good they are, but it is so ingrained at this point it becomes more about helping them realize what they're capable of already. So it becomes a huge advantage for them as they hit the adult ranks. As long as you can keep them interested and focused."

I really enjoyed and agreed with your entire above post. So, first off, thanks for the energy and thought that went into it and the training that created your thoughts and experience.

I wanted to make 2 limited comments on the above, section 3.

If we, as teachers, can keep in view that we are always teaching aikido to anyone, kids or otherwise, the transition is easier for those students because it is essentially the same. We need to be lighter in our application of techniques because of growing bodies ( or old bodies for that matter), cartiledge development and all; but we don't need to water it down for them. The most developed aikido is generally expressed simply and that is wonderful for kids and fortifies training for us 'grown-ups' while we're at it. In that way we are consistent and aligned as aikidoka.

Second. My kids who hit it up to 7th kyu have an immensely broader repetoire of technique, including weapons,than a shodan. In fact, they've been at it for about three years longer than your average shodan. So when they hit 5th kyu, it's like starting over. A great example of humility.

I love that you offer them leadership opportunities. They deserve that respect and you model it.

Right On, Keith!


p.s. I know i said brief comments. but........

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-27-2008 at 01:14 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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