Stelios Papados wrote:
I recently became father of a very handsome baby son. I am thinking of introducing him to Aikido principles in the forthcoming years....The last thing I wish is to cause any unecessary stress to the normal skeletal development of my child. Any feedback on that, people? Is there any alternative -less stressful- approach?
If you haven't read this yet, please do:
My belief, based on many years of aikido training and observation of many children, is that children naturally do aikido. To teach them, it is only necessary to guide them into cultivation of certain things that they do naturally. And along with this, by carefully observing children in natural action, I think most aikido people can learn how to make their own movements more natural, spontaneous and effective.
Your concern about teaching tenkan, for instance, is understandable, but if you watch your child as he learns to stand and walk and get around freely, you will see that he naturally develops the ability to spin around very freely and that movement will be much more effective than any kind of formal "tenkan" you could try to impose on him. Look at this video of my son doing an opening aiki movement that I never taught him:
and here's one that shows outward turning (in the very beginning):
Again, this is only "root" movement, but teaching someone who has the root is a lot easier and more effective than trying to get someone to develop the root by giving them the leaves off your own tree.
This way, you begin "teaching" them from just after infancy, but it means that you are constantly observing them on subtle levels and gently guiding their awareness without making them lose their own naturalness and spontanaeity.
Hope this gives you something to consider.