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Old 12-19-2007, 01:58 PM   #76
Location: Indiana
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,311
Re: Cross-Training my kids?

Last night I went to judo. I am unable to train because of my injury. Instead I helped teach the kids so the usual kids teacher could join in the throw line. We have some very young kids, I think they are 7 at the tops, probably 5 or 6. They mostly play a lot of games for physical fitness and do very little actual judo (this is the YMCA and our coach really focuses on the kids who want to learn judo, the rest he lets play sumo and other games). I decided that we were going to do only judo if I was teaching it. So we did ogoshi, osoto gari, kouchi gari, and ippon seonage. Now the kids knew the first two, but they had never been show ippon. So we worked it for about 10 minutes, same with kouch gari. I had them do 20 uchi komi of each throw on each side. So 40 total for each throw.

During this we had 2 boys really fall in love with a throw, one boy picked up seonage and was actually teaching another boy to throw it better. Another boy did the same with kouchi gari. Both of these kids were 7 or under (I think, I'm not good at judging ages, but they are very little kids, so small I can carry 5 or 6 at a time) and neither of them had been shown these throws before. Then we worked on pinning, and did some positional sparing on the ground. With one kid trying to escape the pin, and one kid trying to hold the kid down, then switching. Then we practiced one pin escape, and did some more sparing. With about 10 minutes left in the class, I asked my teacher if we could allow the kids to do randori, which is something I have not seen the young kids do before (usually the 10 and 12 year olds do). He agreed so I paired them up and got them to it.

The kid who had taken to seonage literally walked up the other kid ran up to attack and he would grab the kid and throw him within a split second. He threw every single time, each randori being easily under 5 seconds. I actually had to tell him after the 4th or 5th round that he was not allowed to do seonage until the next class. It was only then that he started getting into a struggle and was thrown a few times. Another kid has mild success with kouchi gari, but he had problems keeping his weight in the right direction and usually fell down with his opponent on top of him. By the end of the class, then were asking the first kid for help with seonage, he was helping them and they didn't play a single 'game' the entire time I worked with them. Their martial art practice was no different that an adults and they learned valuable skills for defending themselves against schoolyard bullys.

I think children should start in judo as young as possible. As soon as they can follow basic instruction. By the time they are 12, they will be a force to recon with for kids their age trying to hurt them and even to some adults. One of my best training partners was winning adult judo events at 14.

Last edited by DonMagee : 12-19-2007 at 02:00 PM.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:15 PM   #77
Sam Turnage
Sam Turnage's Avatar
Dojo: Grass Valley Aikiki
Location: Grass Valley, CA
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 53
Re: Cross-Training my kids?

No Judo in the Grass Valley Nevada City/ Auburn area anymore that I can find.

"If we are wise, let us perpare for the worst."

George Washington
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Old 12-20-2007, 02:59 PM   #78
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: Cross-Training my kids?


Good story! I truly believe that the quality of the teacher makes more of a difference than most martial arts or sports. I have seen similar results with children being well-schooled in karate, wrestling, and Aikido.

I think that one of the important advantages of teaching children Aikido is that they easily pick up the paradigm of not-fighting in order to stop conflicts. Our society easily teaches a fighting/competitive paradigm to children at a very early age. I know, I was a product of that teaching. I am simply impressed to see how children have been able to use the principles of Aikido to have more "tools" to handle conflicts.

That being said, my youngest son still trains in karate and in Aikido. I believe that the more tools that we have to handle life, the better decisions we learn to make. I find that he has become a much better fighter as well, now that he is better at being centered. He not giving away "information" and reacting to movements.in kumite.

Marc Abrams
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:23 PM   #79
Kevin Leavitt
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
Re: Cross-Training my kids?

Yesterday morning I went to my 7 year old's Gymnastic class for the first time to watch. You know about half the class could have been a kids judo class. Not much difference at that age between the classes. Both work on developing core abilities of balance and strength. Also listening, respect, and all that good stuff too!

Again, about half the class was the same. Obviously when they start focusing on the technical stuff, well gymnastics does gymnastic stuff and judo does judo.

The point is, that there is a basic curriculum that should be taught in all these types of classes to develop the skills needed for physical activity.

If it does not do this, and they spend all the time kicking and punching or doing all that cool stuff...then I'd say that they are probably being too focused on technique.

I just went back and read Gakku Homma Sensei's book. Good book on "Children in the Martial Arts". Lots of good stuff in there, again, it supports what I just said above too.

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Old 12-21-2007, 07:54 AM   #80
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
Re: Cross-Training my kids?


My school has been open almost one year now. The number of parents who called to enroll their young children (under 6 years of age) in a martial arts was astounding. I spoke honestly to the parents as a martial arts teacher and a psychologist (post-doc in child psychology as well) and recommended STRONGLY against children under 1st grade being enrolled in a martial arts program. I STRONGLY recommended gymnastics as the best way to help a young child develop coordination, strength, agility,.... Heck, it worked for my kids.

Marc Abrams
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