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Old 05-27-2008, 11:23 PM   #26
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
Re: Any and all advice welcome

Children... huh... well... huh...

If you are forced to teach a children's class, and lets face it, that is the only real reason to teach a children's aikido class... (allow time for dissenting opinions...)

1. Don't teach children, lead them. (my thoughts)

If that doesn't fit your teaching model, you can try out the one my senpai gave to me many years ago. He said, "...when it comes to teaching, treat children like adults and treat adults like children."

This has worked for me, both on the mat and off the mat ever since.

Thanks George-San


I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:25 AM   #27
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,188
Re: Any and all advice welcome

Al Gutierrez wrote: View Post
But I'd recommend Gaku Homma's book on Aikido for kids. I've forgotten the title. I'm sure you can look it up.
This book contains a fair bit of malarkey re: the inherent saintliness and nonviolence of aikido vs. the inherent aggression and violence of every other martial art. If you already drank the kool-ade and thought it tasted great, this book might provide excellent guidance.
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:00 PM   #28
d2l's Avatar
Dojo: Purple Dragon School Of Self Defense
Location: Florida
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 42
Re: How to Train Small Children

I see the title of the thread changed. Well, I gave 4 kids (all 10 years old) a shot. I figured I'd try 4 to see how I could handle them. We did mostly redirection techniques from punches, kicks, and take downs. They were paired up, and then towards the end, I let them practice on me. I tried making it fun and interesting. I think the thing that shocked them them most, was when I let them practice on me. I think they thought, "Oh no! He's too big!" But I think they were pleasantly surprised when it was shown that they could take someone like me and learn to keep away and learn that they could basically use me against ME. I tried to instill in them that as much as their bodies could be weapons, so could the other persons body be made into a weapon. I explained to them that they are not going to be like Jet Li or Jackie Chan. They are not going to beat up the whole world, nor are they invincible. I also put it very bluntly, that if my Sensai or myself hears that they are trying to beat up on other kids, from their parents, we will not train them. My Sensai has a long practice of teaching kids, and I do not of course. But he let me take a little from him and let me put in a little. As much fun as they had, I think it's safe to say I had fun too.
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:57 PM   #29
Location: Vancouver Washington
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 21
Re: How to Train Small Children

Techniques that involve joint locking or manipulation can be damaging to small children. Their skeletal structure is still growing, the growth plates have not ossified and trauma can cause abnormal growth patterns which may not show up as injuries until the child has matured. Because kids are so flexible and resiliant, you may never realize that you have caused trauma to the joint structure.

If I work with kids, whether it is TKD, Hapkido, or Aikido, I am extremely careful, and soft, with any joint manipulations.
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Old 05-29-2008, 09:26 AM   #30
Dathan Camacho
Dojo: Triangle Aikido Club
Location: Bentonville, AR
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 35
Re: How to Train Small Children

When I have taught kids judo classes, I've relied on teaching though 75% games, 15% technique and 10 % positional sparing.

I select games that work the techniques I want to work on. Pinning games, Kind of the hill (mat pile), monster in the middle, etc.

Normally it goes like this, we warm up (lots of fun exercises and break falls) This means running, bear crawls, worming (shrimp crawls), etc. Then we stretch. Now I introduce new techniques and we drill for around 10 minutes. Then we play games based off that technique, finally we do positional sparing and I correct techniques.
I believe this is a very good approach. My kid's instructor uses this approach and they're very excited to go to class and they don't view it as work.

I suspect kids are often in the class because their parents want them there (guilty ) whereas the kids might prefer to be playing Nintendo - until they find out the class is fun!

"...when it comes to teaching, treat children like adults and treat adults like children."
This makes sense. Kids are suprised when people take them seriously, i.e. listen to their opinions and talk to them as equals. You can show them you're on their side quickly with this approach. That said, I think you have to be a lot more animated and up-beat with kids than with adults, provided it's earnest and doesn't come across as fake.

Also get down on their level for initial introductions or when they're trying to tell you something. I.e. if you're being introduced to a 6 year old, or need to get them to listen to you, drop down to seiza so that your heads are the same height.
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:08 AM   #31
Dojo: Ren Shin Kan
Location: Birmingham
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 358
United Kingdom
Re: How to Train Small Children

Dont know whether this may help but I teach a childrens class (up to 20 kids) and have trained continuously since I was 9 years old.

1 Get some mats!! You can throw them a whole lot harder and faster.

2 make it a mix of fun and hard work. Even small children (the youngest I teach is 6) respond well to discipline but also come to have fun. I tend to reward good behaviour with games (all of which have some Aikido bias)

3 Do not apply locks or joint manipulations. As a qualified physical therapist (and from personal experience) this can and will cause joint damage in later life.

4 Get some mats!!
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