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Old 09-08-2008, 11:06 PM   #1
Amassus
 
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Dojo: Aikido Musubi Ryu/ Yoshin Wadokan
Location: Hamilton
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Question Teaching Teenagers

Hello one and all.

I have taken on the task of teaching aikido to anyone that is interested at my high school. I myself am a teacher at the school and I wanted to share the art with the kids.

Things are going well but I would like to know if people have some tips or ideas to keep the students engaged. They do lack the drive and persistance of the adults in my own club it seems.

Thanks in advance.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 09-09-2008, 02:45 AM   #2
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Teen turmoil

Teens are in a turmoil of hormones, passage into adulthood, and all that. Not easy to keep them focused, or to teach them patience...

I think that one should not give in to this restlessness, but remain in a calm alternative to it. Teens might seem to disapprove, but they often really enjoy the ingredient in their lives.
Nonetheless, they need to get a lot of their energy out, and will be pleased with a training that makes them pant and sweat a lot.

Usually, they enjoy throws more than pinnings, because of the action bit - and the way it allows them to show off their agility and daring. Well, this may be more true for boys than for girls.

And they're usually much more openminded to the spiritual aspects of aikido than one might assume.

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:48 PM   #3
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Teen turmoil

Quote:
Stefan Stenudd wrote: View Post
Usually, they enjoy throws more than pinnings, because of the action bit - and the way it allows them to show off their agility and daring. Well, this may be more true for boys than for girls.

And they're usually much more openminded to the spiritual aspects of aikido than one might assume.
Hi Everybody!

I find the conclusion at the end of the first paragraph to be, in general, true. Girls often come up with different scenarios than their boy counter-parts in class. They want to know how to deal with boyfriends and brothers who 'playfully', albeit uncomfortably, put them in headlocks, bear-hugs, etc....IOW they are excited when we work with how to deal with guys who are 'showing off' at their expense. Those particular girls (although that isn't All girls) want to learn techniques from grabs and wrist-locks, initially. For them, that is a good 'hook' into learning aikido.
The boys do love to roll and learn flashy ukemi at first ('flashy' being a relative term, thank you very much ) and they also like to look good in front of each other. This is an interesting place of competition at times. I try to keep the tone down on that aspect, but kids do love to tumble, wrestle and fly.
The place where they come together, IME, is the same for both genders. They want to do strong, practical techniques, that their partner can effectively receive, and look 'good' , which often translates to looking capable of handling themselves in the eyes of others.

By mixing up my approach from class to class I keep them guessing what will happen in class from one session to the next while also managing to address the initial/primary needs of most students. Or at least what they think they need. In the end they get a practical piece of aikido and a fun piece of aikido to put together how they see fit, over time.

I've worked teaching teens aikido in Public and Private schools as my primary occupation for the last 5 years and I've taught young people and teens for about 15 years in dojos. Just like all other aspects of the art, you must blend with your partner, whether that be a collective partner or an individual partner and find the right fit. That, to me, is the joy and challenge of all of our common training. Finding a good fit by applying appropriate technique in the appropriate environment.

I would also like to say that the kids deeply love the spiritual aspects although they would not call them such. They would just say, 'that's the way it is'. I endeavor to support them in maintaining their natural spirit and I notice they appreciate it by their growing trust of me and of the art, whatever their background.

Thanks,
Jen

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:55 PM   #4
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Here's a link to one of the programs I've been involved with. Please feel free to use any of the information you find there. Print it. Copy it. Whatever. It was developed for public/educational use.

This means YOU!(never mind the goofy pictures of me :-) )

http://www.pe4bodymindspirit.santacr...ram/index.html

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:11 PM   #5
Keith Larman
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Just to add to an already good conversation...

One challenge I've found with teenagers is trying to motivate them to get involved in their own progress. In other words, many seem to be so ingrained with "sit quietly and listen" that they become, well, more like receive only units. Many seem to sit there ignoring obvious connections and watching the fly by without even a blink. So for me it is all about trying to get them to understand that they need to be engaged, an active participant in their own learning. And some kids find that frightening while others thrive. Aikido can be taught by rote work, but it seems best *learned* by actively struggling with the ideas and themes.

And I have to say my proudest moments haven't been in teaching adults. It has been watching a teenager have an "ah-ha" moment on their own. Nothin' better...

So it is all about helping them understand the connections. And teaching principles and trying to help them explore how those principles manifest themselves in techniques. Then how those ideas can be generalized into life in general.

But then... Some just wanna toss each other around. More power to them.

I would add a caution about the raging hormones thing. Watch out for techniques that are a little too personal in the grabs. Personal space issues can be really complicated with teens. Not to mention their parents.

Which reminds me... Make sure you *always* have another adult present at all times. You're venturing into an area that requires touching, grabs, and all sorts of potentially awkward and easily misunderstood areas. Not to mention those who take advantage intentionally... So all due diligence here. The last thing the Aikido world needs is another debacle on this front.

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Old 09-09-2008, 07:21 PM   #6
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

One of my students kept saying 'Dude!, Dude!, Dude! This stuffs intense', today.

Bingo!
Good day at the chop shop!

Keith, I'd love to check you out in So Cal someday!

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:06 PM   #7
Keith Larman
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
One of my students kept saying 'Dude!, Dude!, Dude! This stuffs intense', today.

Bingo!
Good day at the chop shop!

Keith, I'd love to check you out in So Cal someday!
Sorry, been away for a few days.

By all means, any time... I'm just one of many there at that dojo, but if it's a kid's class there's about a 50% chance I'll be there either teaching or assisting our chief instructor (who likes to teach the kids classes).

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Old 09-13-2008, 11:32 AM   #8
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Quote:
Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Sorry, been away for a few days.

By all means, any time... I'm just one of many there at that dojo, but if it's a kid's class there's about a 50% chance I'll be there either teaching or assisting our chief instructor (who likes to teach the kids classes).
Thanks Keith!
I have a great deal of respect for the late Sensei Koboyashi, and I would like to inquire who is the chief instructor of the Aikido Institute?
Thanks for the continued dialog,
Jen

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 09-13-2008, 12:58 PM   #9
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Expect nothing from them and you'll be happy. If they learn one thing, you've done a lot.
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Old 09-13-2008, 01:24 PM   #10
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Quote:
Lyle Bogin wrote: View Post
Expect nothing from them and you'll be happy. If they learn one thing, you've done a lot.
Nice Lyle,
Well said. I couldn't agree more!

And if we learn one thing from teaching kids, we've done a lot!

Best,
Jen

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 09-13-2008, 03:32 PM   #11
Keith Larman
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Quote:
Jennifer Smith wrote: View Post
Thanks Keith!
I have a great deal of respect for the late Sensei Koboyashi, and I would like to inquire who is the chief instructor of the Aikido Institute?
Thanks for the continued dialog,
Jen
Currently Joe Crotty and Larry Wadahara share chief instructor duties at AIA. And Stewart Chan is the Kancho overall of Seidokan.

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Old 09-13-2008, 11:11 PM   #12
Richard Sanchez
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

For years I wouldn't accept people under 18 until one of my students, who ran his own dojo, surprised me by turning up to a grading with a bunch of 15 and 16 year olds. What I saw in terms of quality technique and the sense of fun and excitement they brought with them convinced me to change. (My wife, a state judo champion at age 14, had been suggesting this for years!)

Once I got used to students answering 'cool' when their technique was corrected, turning somersaults when only a backward roll was required, or being asked to teach 'ninja' techniques, life in the dojo became more fun, more interesting and more fulfilling- for everyone. I graded the first of this new generation to Shodan when he reached 19 and have to say that technically he was one of the best shodans ever. He's still training, (at another dojo), and is, I hear, a very strong Nidan.

It opened my head to possibilities and stopped me becoming an old grouch- well almost! I haven't much to add to the excellent comments by other posters except to say in my experience teenagers love to train (and talk) hard.
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Old 09-14-2008, 12:48 PM   #13
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Quote:
Richard Sanchez wrote: View Post
For years I wouldn't accept people under 18 until one of my students, who ran his own dojo, surprised me by turning up to a grading with a bunch of 15 and 16 year olds. What I saw in terms of quality technique and the sense of fun and excitement they brought with them convinced me to change. (My wife, a state judo champion at age 14, had been suggesting this for years!)

Once I got used to students answering 'cool' when their technique was corrected, turning somersaults when only a backward roll was required, or being asked to teach 'ninja' techniques, life in the dojo became more fun, more interesting and more fulfilling- for everyone. I graded the first of this new generation to Shodan when he reached 19 and have to say that technically he was one of the best shodans ever. He's still training, (at another dojo), and is, I hear, a very strong Nidan.

It opened my head to possibilities and stopped me becoming an old grouch- well almost! I haven't much to add to the excellent comments by other posters except to say in my experience teenagers love to train (and talk) hard.
Personally, I'm enjoying this excellent set of comments!

Kids/ Teens keep it real. And if, in fact, we are teaching an art of defense and protection then what better way than to contribute to healthy lives of our future generations?

So if anyone asks me, 'does aikido work in the real world'? Well, there ya go.

Best,
Jen

Jennifer Paige Smith
Confluence Aikido Systems
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:10 PM   #14
Amassus
 
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Thanks for the enthusiastic replies!

It has been exciting and challenging to teach a group of people that have no background in aikido and are all under the age of 17. I have a range of girls and boys and what many of you have said about 'hormones' rings true.

It is nice to hear that I am not alone with dealing with some of the behaviours mentioned (boys showing off etc.) and that it is all normal.

I originally started the thread becasue I saw my student numbers drop from 22 to 9 over the year and I was feeling disheartened. However those students that have stuck with it seem dedicated and are getting a lot out of it.

Thanks again for all your comments.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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Old 03-02-2009, 08:14 AM   #15
92ilyas
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Hi there I've been teaching kids from 5 years old and lots of teenagers both within the club and school groups for about the last 10 years and basically try to put as much fun in the class as possible while trying to teach Aiki skills.
One such activity is sword fighting using "pool noodles" those round floatation devices made from some kind of foam. I have found both boys and girls enjoy this and has proven to be a great leveller plenty of times I've seen the "show off's" be bettered by the smallest quietest kids in class. Then there is samurai soccer played with a smallish soccer ball but you are only allowed to knee walk or roll or a round or two of dodgeball before class.
The biggest mistake I made early on was I got to caught up on technical details and teaching the kids like they were adults which of course the kids would find to dry and boring these days I keep demonstration and talking to a minimum and the doing to a maximum with as much fun fun fun as can be thrown in.
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:22 AM   #16
gdandscompserv
 
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Keeping the youth deeply involved in the maintenance and upkeep of the dojo seems to be something they like more than I expected.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:23 PM   #17
Amassus
 
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Re: Teaching Teenagers

Just an update guys.

A new year and a new group of kids have joined up. Life is good!
I was suprised to see people still replying to this thread and it gladdens my heart that many of you are so positive about teenagers.

Thank you.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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