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Old 04-06-2011, 10:18 AM   #1
senshincenter
 
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How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido:

- Hold quitting as a viable option.

- Hold the child's whims, fancies, wants, and desires, as elements worthy of weighing when considering if your child should start Aikido, continue Aikido, and/or quit Aikido.

- Diffuse your child's Aikido training with an abundance of other culturally motivated pursuits (e.g. music, baseball, football, soccer, etc.).

- Fail to firmly uphold the position that there is no "on" and "off" the mat (i.e. all virtues gained and cultivated on the mat are expected to be held and further cultivated off the mat).

- Fail to address your child's physical wellness in terms of their strength to weight ratio, flexibility, and endurance.

- Fail to clearly, directly, and immediately address all demonstrations of half-effort, poor concentration, and improper mindset.

- Don't have them train as much as possible.

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:45 AM   #2
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

I think it depends a little on the kid, but those are definately some good things to remember!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:51 AM   #3
Rabih Shanshiry
 
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido:

- Hold the child's whims, fancies, wants, and desires, as elements worthy of weighing when considering if your child should start Aikido, continue Aikido, and/or quit Aikido.

- Diffuse your child's Aikido training with an abundance of other culturally motivated pursuits (e.g. music, baseball, football, soccer, etc.).

- Don't have them train as much as possible.
I've got these same ones on my list too, only I call it "How To Make Sure Your Kids Hate Aikido (And Possibly You Too)"
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

I think one has to be more proactive and creative when it comes to getting around these basic elements of acquiring skill. Being hated is not the automatic end result. The problem is that us moderns don't really know how to do this anymore.

The deluded concept that we can only get skilled at that which we want to do and/or love at all times denies that fact that all masters have learned how to reconcile boredom and even the lack of personal affinity via their training. How? By first having the training generate huge amounts of boredom and even hate. Only then can such things be reconciled - only then does the door away from mediocrity and/or poor skill open up.

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:38 AM   #5
raul rodrigo
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

I achieve the same thing by simply not having them train at all.

R
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:52 AM   #6
David Board
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido:

- Hold quitting as a viable option.

- Hold the child's whims, fancies, wants, and desires, as elements worthy of weighing when considering if your child should start Aikido, continue Aikido, and/or quit Aikido.

- Diffuse your child's Aikido training with an abundance of other culturally motivated pursuits (e.g. music, baseball, football, soccer, etc.).

- Fail to firmly uphold the position that there is no "on" and "off" the mat (i.e. all virtues gained and cultivated on the mat are expected to be held and further cultivated off the mat).

- Fail to address your child's physical wellness in terms of their strength to weight ratio, flexibility, and endurance.

- Fail to clearly, directly, and immediately address all demonstrations of half-effort, poor concentration, and improper mindset.

- Don't have them train as much as possible.
As a father of two young aikidoka and as a soccer coach, I strongly agree with with the sentiments but wholeheartedly disagree with the nuisances of these statements.

-To force a kid on to the mat when they no longer want to be there can create a very bad situation for the kid and their dojo mates. It can disrupt class and distract the Sensei.

-While the whims and fancies of a child can be fleeting and unfocused. By not listening to them you create a conflict that doesn't need to there. I find it better to listen to their whims, fancy, desires and wants. But listening is only part of the conversation. They aren't the deciding factor but by listening and addressing them appropriately leads to a better solution than ignoring them.

-While I have seen many kids over committed to cultural activities to focus solely on anyone thing doesn't allow a child to learn what they want to pursue. My boys have three activities that they choose to participate in. They learn different skills with each activity. They are asked to commit to each activity to their fullest. They are learning to balance their activities so that they can get the most out of each one. The learn that a commitment in one can be that they can't do something else in another. While Aikido is our mainstay, it isn't their only thing. They are allowed to explore activities and find the ones that suit them and our needs as a family.

-While we constantly apply what we learn on the mat off the mat. The distinction of on and off the mat helps to focus their energy in the dojo. When they are at the dojo, their focus becomes Aikido. Just like when they are on the soccer field they are focused on soccer. What they learn can be applied outside the dojo and they are expected to show what they learned in the dojo in daily life, the dichotomy of on and off the mat helps to focus their energy while on the mat. School troubles, soccer losses are all put aside when on the mat.

-Recognizing physical limitations is important but shouldn't be limiting in that they should challenge themselves to improve what they can.

-While recognizing failures is important it most be done in a positive manner for younger kids. Sometime it helps to turn a blind eye to one while another is being focused upon. Always pointing out the lack of focus especially without pointing out what they did well can lead to a kid that doesn't want to be on the mat because they feel themselves failing on every effort. You can't ignore the problem but harping on it can have the opposite effect. And of course don't forget to let them know when they are doing it right. I am a strong believer in the sandwich method. One good thing, a redirection or critique and one more good thing.

-Training as much as possible is great advise as long as it is not overdone. The oldest boy makes it to the dojo 2-4 days a week depending on commitments and health. Over-training is a concern in any activity especially physical activities. There is often trade-offs to be made. My boys want to go to the dojo on most days but sometimes, they are worried about school assignments or are just burned out for the week. They know that they are expected to make it to the dojo at least twice and try to make it three times. However, if they say on Wednesday that they need a break they can take that break. They just know that Thursday becomes a must go (barring unforeseen). We are fortunate that our dojo has four family classes plus a little kids class that the oldest helps participates in as a sempei so we have lots of options. Burn out is real.

Like I said I agree with the sentiment of your statements.
-Aikido is a commitment that should be taken seriously. It should not be quite lightly.
-A child's whims and wants should not become the leading factor in when to train or when to quit.
-Aikido should not be one of a dozen things a child does nor should other things be allowed to distract from a child's practice.
-Aikido can and should be taken off the mat.
-A child limitations should be addressed and acknowledged. Lack of focus should not be allowed to continue and dealt with.
-Training is important and should be done as much as is reasonable.

Long winded I know...
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Old 04-06-2011, 11:57 AM   #7
crbateman
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

You can remove the word "Aikido" from your suggestions and substitute "soccer", "baseball", "math", "music", "acting" or a myriad of other things, and they all sound the same... overbearing. IMHO, you can't get out your blacksmith's hammer and pound a kid into something. They'll resent and rebel. You have to let them enjoy the experience and be supportive, not manipulative. A set of ethics that a child grows into and can take personal pride in is much better than a set that's "painted on". Just sayin'...
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:00 PM   #8
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Trying to live trough them. Want aikido? DIY.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:30 PM   #9
Keith Larman
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Whenever I see lists like this I wonder if they have kids... Maybe they do and their experiences are a heck of a lot different than mine as a parent, but I find many of those things miss the nuances. It ain't so easy.

My daughter spent many, many hours at the dojo as a tiny one. She knew everyone, including shihan, kancho, etc. She decided to start but after a few classes she melted down -- she felt pressure to be "good" because she knew everyone, I was her dad, etc. In other words, her "way" of being a perfectionist, of being her own worst critic, made it nearly intolerable for her to be on the mat. So I was faced with either forcing her, crying, in to taking class. Or allowing her to sit on the sidelines when she didn't feel up to class. Or telling her "okay, come back later if you want". I did the last one.

She never wanted to play soccer. All her friends were playing AYSO for a couple years before she announced she wanted to try. And once she got on the soccer field, she blossomed. She now plays literally non-stop all year. She was recruited by the local, big-deal soccer club literally only a few months after the first time she touched a soccer ball and now she gets private goalkeep lessons from the club on Mondays, hour and a half practices with her team on Tuesday and Thursday, one hour of special skills training Friday, and an hour and a half of focused skills training on Saturdays. It is ruining my practice time in Aikido. We go nuts getting her everywhere not to mention the games and tournaments.

But she loves it with all her soul.

My point is that what she loves right now is soccer. I couldn't have forced her in to it. I could have forced her to stay in Aikido. Maybe she would have gotten over her issues there. Maybe not. Maybe she would have continued to be miserable.

In retrospect she wanted to start aikido to some extent because I did it.

Maybe someday she'll come back on the mat. I do spend time with her periodically teaching her things which have helped her in her soccer fwiw. But... Parents walk a tightrope of nudging, pushing, and sometimes standing back. It is difficult at best to figure out the right way for each kid. Sure, there are lots of ways to screw it up. But IMHO one guaranteed way is to try to create rules that you think will be universal. What works with one will not work with another. The hard part of being a parent is navigating those minefields juggling what your child wants with what the child needs and what is best for the child. Lots of balls to keep in the air...

No answers here.

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Old 04-06-2011, 12:59 PM   #10
Michael Hackett
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

My grandson wanted to try Aikido and we worked out an understanding. He agreed to attend every class practical for six months and then could choose to quit if he desired. He trained for about nine months and then asked to try karate instead with the same understanding. That lasted six months and for the past five or six years he's been shredding on his guitar, writing music and teaching others. Music turned out to be his passion. He gave the martial arts a fair try, but guitar became consuming to him. No complaints here.

Michael
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:05 PM   #11
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

I don't think you can make your child love what you love by forcing him/her.

Me and my wife have one kid. He is almost 8 years old. If he wants to try something new, he can, but in return he has to commit to it. First we let him try it for a lesson or two. If he still thinks he wants to continue, he has to do it for at least half a year. We have done it this way since he was 5 years old.

He started with athletics. He was not very good, but he really liked it and he did it for a year.

Then we had him quit athletics to take swimming lessons. When he got his first diploma, we let him choose if he wanted to continue for the second diploma. He chose to do that and after half a year he got it, but then he did not want to continue for the third.

Then he wanted to do karate. He has been doing that for a year now (red belt). Most of the time he really likes to go, but even when he does not feel like it, he still has to go and train seriously. I think he will quit karate this summer though. He is thinking about going back to athletics. He actually wants to do ninjitsu because he thinks the weapons are supercool, but we won't allow it because we think he is much too young for that.

He does not have much interest in my passions: aikido and go. I might be able to teach him to be a youth champion in the Netherlands, but he does not love it like I do, so I don't push him. He loves meeting friends of his age at go seminars and we practise every now and then at home, but that's all. Ofcourse I still hope his interest in go will grow when he gets older, but I'm not counting on it. Either way is ok. He is not me.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:20 PM   #12
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

As I said, as moderns we have a tough time moving beyond thinking that commitment, the reconciliation of boredom, and the cultivation of discipline can only be generated by matching what we do with what we love or by forcing ourselves (like some sort of abuse).

Nothing in the list says "force" the kid - but you've read it that way because that is how modernity understands self-discipline today.

At the same time, folks that are writing thus far are describing kids that have quit Aikido and/or that have dabbled in a myriad of art forms/practices. Though not "forced," they certainly remain unskilled at Aikido if they have quit it and moved on to something else.

For the record, I have three kids, and have ran a kids program for 11 years now. All of my kids practice Aikido. None of them hate me. They train in Aikido beyond the child-based whims and misunderstandings of love and hate. They just do it because that is what we do.

Yes, any skill could be replaced for the word "Aikido" on the list.

Last edited by senshincenter : 04-06-2011 at 03:25 PM.

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido:
No child is going to be good at aikido. Not really. Parents who expect them to be good are either deluding themselves about what "good" is, or setting an unreasonable expectation.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
- Fail to clearly, directly, and immediately address all demonstrations of half-effort, poor concentration, and improper mindset.
"Clearly" and "directly" are fine, as long as you, the parent, know what "half-effort, poor concentration and improper mindset" are, particularly in an aikido context. "Immediately"? No. You, the parent, are not teaching the class, and you shouldn't interfere with the teaching of the class. You can say your say when class is over.
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Old 04-06-2011, 03:53 PM   #14
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
No child is going to be good at aikido. Not really. Parents who expect them to be good are either deluding themselves about what "good" is, or setting an unreasonable expectation.

"Clearly" and "directly" are fine, as long as you, the parent, know what "half-effort, poor concentration and improper mindset" are, particularly in an aikido context. "Immediately"? No. You, the parent, are not teaching the class, and you shouldn't interfere with the teaching of the class. You can say your say when class is over.
Wow! That's the spirit - no kid will be good at Aikido.

Yes, common sense went unsaid: Parent's should not interrupt class. "Immediately" meant "after class as reasonably possible."

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:38 PM   #15
David Board
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
As I said, as moderns we have a tough time moving beyond thinking that commitment, the reconciliation of boredom, and the cultivation of discipline can only be generated by matching what we do with what we love or by forcing ourselves (like some sort of abuse).

Nothing in the list says "force" the kid - but you've read it that way because that is how modernity understands self-discipline today.

At the same time, folks that are writing thus far are describing kids that have quit Aikido and/or that have dabbled in a myriad of art forms/practices. Though not "forced," they certainly remain unskilled at Aikido if they have quit it and moved on to something else.

For the record, I have three kids, and have ran a kids program for 11 years now. All of my kids practice Aikido. None of them hate me. They train in Aikido beyond the child-based whims and misunderstandings of love and hate. They just do it because that is what we do.

Yes, any skill could be replaced for the word "Aikido" on the list.
My boys have not quit Aikido. They are not skilled but they are doing better than they were before. They are gaining in skill.

By not allowing a child the option to quit how can that teach self discipline? It is one thing to not allow them to quit for the sake of boredom or that they feel it is "too hard" and another to not allow them to quit. It is one thing to tell them that they need to work through hardship and another to not allow them to quit. One teaches self-discipline and the other teaches them that they have no power to control their lives.

Without the self self-discipline becomes discipline. I would rather not have Aikido become punishment. Aikido may not always be a joy but it shouldn't become a punishment. Aikido shouldn't become a struggle of power between a parent and a child.
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:40 PM   #16
Michael Hackett
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

No kid will be good in Aikido? I disagree. We currently have five or six kids in our youth program who can hold their own with adults in a seminar and have had a few, three or four, who were superb practitioners. Did anyone see Patrick Auge Sensei's kids at the last Aiki Expo? They were outstanding as a group and most were simply excellent themselves.

Michael
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Old 04-06-2011, 04:57 PM   #17
Keith Larman
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

I've been teaching kids too long to force my kid to stay when she was clearly not happy. I've seen too many unhappy kids who there doing it solely because the parent thought it was best. Even when it was clearly not something the kid was interested in.

For my daughter it wasn't an issue of "working through something difficult" but was an issue that she really wasn't enjoying it and really wasn't all that interested. We've had those battles before in many other areas including her piano (which she incidentally still does and loves even though there have been rough patches). There was no reason to fight it with aikido simply because I would find it gratifying or convenient to have her doing what I love. The truth was she didn't like it. And the reason she joined was (I think) to make me happy. That was not a good reason for her to be in Aikido, especially when she found that she in fact *really* didn't like it. Quitting is an option in some cases.

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Old 04-06-2011, 05:17 PM   #18
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
We currently have five or six kids in our youth program who can hold their own with adults in a seminar and have had a few, three or four, who were superb practitioners. Did anyone see Patrick Auge Sensei's kids at the last Aiki Expo? They were outstanding as a group and most were simply excellent themselves.
Michael,

Out of those kids that were worthy to mention, were they in sync or out of sync with the list? How about Auge Sensei's child deshi?

d

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:19 PM   #19
Marc Abrams
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Helping your child to find the "gift within" is one of the most important tasks as a parent. Fostering that awareness and helping the child to develop the internal motivation to excel is the next level up. You can't force the "gift within" upon a child no more than you can force the child to display superior internal motivation to excel in something that the child does not feel within him/herself.

Just my 2 cents and life experiences as a parent of four children (success and failures on my part!), grandparent, psychologist who worked with children for a long time (post doc fellowship in that area).

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-06-2011, 05:28 PM   #20
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Quote:
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By not allowing a child the option to quit how can that teach self discipline? It is one thing to not allow them to quit for the sake of boredom or that they feel it is "too hard" and another to not allow them to quit. It is one thing to tell them that they need to work through hardship and another to not allow them to quit. One teaches self-discipline and the other teaches them that they have no power to control their lives.

Without the self self-discipline becomes discipline. I would rather not have Aikido become punishment. Aikido may not always be a joy but it shouldn't become a punishment. Aikido shouldn't become a struggle of power between a parent and a child.
Children have lots of places that they have no power to control their lives - it does not teach them to be powerless. That's a modern fallacy. Moreover, there are lots of areas, including areas wherein a child's desire is governed and ran through their guardian's sense of wisdom. Again, this does not ruin children.

Another way of looking at this list, is to go ask someone that you think is good at Aikido - your sensei, for example: Ask them if they have always loved Aikido training, if they never went against their whims and fancy in order to continue training, if everything they ever did and/or accomplished in their Aikiido was done so only at their full and complete volition, etc. See what they say. Or, if you know a master of another trade/art, ask them.

Or, another way, if ask yourself how good little Jonny is going to be when they only commit two hours a week to training, cancel some of those classes during soccer season, decided they like baseball better, and video games, see no reason to train in Aikido outside of techniques on the mat, and then quit.

Sure, you might be able to say he has self-discipline, he's self-empowered, etc., but you won't be saying he's skilled at Aikido. Along the same lines, no matter how many Jonnies we know, one cannot by extension say that any child that sees his/her way through the rigors of sincere training, unlike Jonny, can in no way be self-disciplined, self-empowered, etc.

David M. Valadez
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:10 PM   #21
Michael Hackett
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

David,

I can't answer your question with any authority. I don't know our parents very well and I don't know what goes on during the ride home. What gets us our results in trying to make the training fun to one degree or another and continually challenging them with something they think is out of reach, but we are confident they can do.

As for Auge Sensei's kids, I have no clue. I was merely a spectator to a very impressive demonstration that evening.

Michael
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:26 PM   #22
David Board
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
Children have lots of places that they have no power to control their lives - it does not teach them to be powerless. That's a modern fallacy. Moreover, there are lots of areas, including areas wherein a child's desire is governed and ran through their guardian's sense of wisdom. Again, this does not ruin children.

Another way of looking at this list, is to go ask someone that you think is good at Aikido - your sensei, for example: Ask them if they have always loved Aikido training, if they never went against their whims and fancy in order to continue training, if everything they ever did and/or accomplished in their Aikiido was done so only at their full and complete volition, etc. See what they say. Or, if you know a master of another trade/art, ask them.

Or, another way, if ask yourself how good little Jonny is going to be when they only commit two hours a week to training, cancel some of those classes during soccer season, decided they like baseball better, and video games, see no reason to train in Aikido outside of techniques on the mat, and then quit.

Sure, you might be able to say he has self-discipline, he's self-empowered, etc., but you won't be saying he's skilled at Aikido. Along the same lines, no matter how many Jonnies we know, one cannot by extension say that any child that sees his/her way through the rigors of sincere training, unlike Jonny, can in no way be self-disciplined, self-empowered, etc.
I can see your point in that you can't be good at Aikido if you quit. In fact this is one of the things that kept my oldest boy in Aikido when he wanted to quit. He was feeling too much pressure. I was giving heim to many critiques after class. He expressed this by saying he wanted to quti Aikido. We discussed it and he did want to become good at Aikido. What he needed was more room to fail. He understood that he couldn't do Aikido if he quit. However, quiting was an option for him. If he did not want to become good at Aikido he had the option to quit. He had to know the consequence of that descision but it was his descision. You are right that if he quit he would suck at Aikido.

As a parent, I think it is important to identify when it's right to quit. It can't be as you say on a whim. You need to understand why they want to quit. the reason can be real and reasonable. You may need to persuade, encourage and insist that that they continue if the reason for quitting is not one you find reasonable. But for ne, it is a dialog. I need to listen and understand them. I need to know why they want to quit.

As for asking Sensei those questions. We both know the answer. We both know that they made sacrifices and sweated more than they wanted. We also know that in all likelihood they always had the option to walk away. They always chose to make the sacrifices and loss of personal control. They chose to place their fates into anothers hands. They always had the option to quit. They did not but they could have.

As for time on the mat. We are at the dojo Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and Saturday when it is not Soccer season. We drop the Saturday session which is a little kids class that his brother goes to. If anything he's at the dojo to much. I will agree that two hours is not enough to get better especially if that is the only time that Aikdio is practiced. This week we are down to only two hours because his little brother blew chunks in the dojo parking lot before class but things happen. If we ever fall to a two hours being our regular session we would be discussing quitting something but that something will be his choice.

To be honest, I don't think we are that far from agreement. I just leave the option of quitting on the table. Quitting means they lose Aikido. They lose what Aikdio brings. However that is their choice. I do not view this as a detriment to their training. I have seen to many kids forced to do things their parents think they should and get almost nothing out of it. I've coached to many kids in soccer that are a deterament on the field and a problem in practice to think that forcing them into what they don't want to do is good for them or thier team/dojo mates. To be honest they suck, too.

If this is a modern view so be it. It is a view I have adopted from seeing it in practice. If the sole motivation comes from outside, they will suck and worse they impact those that are are their of their own choice.
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:32 PM   #23
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

David,

On further reflection, I think (and emphasize think) that our kids are able to choose another path, but I don't know that for sure. We have a pair of brothers who leave us every baseball season and return - they're both planning on being Big Leaguers someday. We have one set of parents who keep one or both kids off the mat if homework isn't done and that doesn't happen often.

One major thing with us is that no child can be signed up without an interview with both the child and his parents, conducted by our Dojo Cho. I have the privilege of signing up any adult coming through the door, but am required to set up a meeting with Sensei for youthful prospects. Uniquely we are notified when a student is going to be absent or is moving on. Adults just disappear from the face of the Earth, but we almost always know why a kid is no longer with us.

Finally, I think most of your list probably applies to our experience, with the exception of the choice. Hope this helps.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:37 PM   #24
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

To rif a bit on Marc's post... I could have put my foot down and told my daughter to suck it up and deal with it. And she would have. She's a good kid. And strong willed. But she likely never would have had the time to get into soccer the way she did had I done that. Now that she's in soccer I've watched my daughter grow in many ways. Her leadership skills, her confidence, her striving to get better, her determination, and the list goes on. That is the gift from within. That is her finding a "do" for realizing what she can do, what she can accomplish, what her limits are, and so forth. All the things I value in my aikido training as a matter of fact.

My point isn't that I disagree all that much with your list. I've insisted on most every one of those things at times during my daughter's life. But... I have allowed her to quit. I do listen to her. No, I don't give in to her every whim. Sometimes I'm the bad guy. Sometimes it's my wife who's the evil one. Either way we try to be consistent *and* listen to her, understand her, see her perspective. When she was 5 it wasn't that difficult. Now that she's 10, well, her feelings, thoughts, etc. are all better formed. Sometimes she needs to make her own decisions. To succeed. To fail. On her own.

I agree with Mr. Bateman's comment above. I think some of us are reacting to the feeling that it seems overbearing.

FWIW I spent a lot of years working in developmental psych. Read all the books, did all sorts of studies, figured it would be a snap having my own child. Nope. My education began the day that little meat loaf looked up at me and smiled. I realized then it was going to be a heck of a lot more complicated than I thought.

So all that said... I agree with much of what you wrote. I'm just not sure I'd be quite as strident as it feels to me when I read your list.

Not everyone is cut out for Aikido. Like all things peoples' interests will vary. You can insist on hard training (have you read the book that caused a stir recently about "Tiger Mom's"?). Sometimes that results in people who are very good at something. Sometimes it results in people who are very good at something who tell you where to stick it at some point and never come back. And sometimes it creates damaged goods IMHO. If you're lucky you have a bunch of kids where that sort of approach resonates with them and builds good people.

But I'm pretty sure it never would have worked with my daughter and Aikido. She's pretty good at the little she learned. Amazing body awareness, reflexes, judgement and athleticism too. Which is precisely why she's so bloody good at soccer. Which she loves. So I'm not all that broken up that she "quit" aikido. She also quite ballet and jazz dancing (pretty darned good at that as well). And she quit art (not so good).

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Old 04-06-2011, 09:00 PM   #25
Lyle Laizure
 
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Dojo: Hinode Dojo LLC
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
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Re: How to Make Sure Your Kids Suck at Aikido

If a child genuinely does not want to be in my class I don't want the child in my class. There is a fine line figuring out whether or not a child should or shouldn't stay in any activity. If a parent knows his/her child the parent should be able to make a the appropriate decision in the best interest of the child. Therein lies the issue. A lot of parents simply aren't aware enough of or engaged enough to appreciate what is best for their children. They only know what they think is good for them.

Lyle Laizure
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Deru kugi wa uta reru
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