Re: Teaching Aikido to Children
Yes, this is common. The language can sometimes be challenging. The language, however, doesn't have to be important unless you make it important.
Once I had a group of students that just couldn't get the names. We were practicing iriminage, kotegaeshi, and kokuynage from a variety of attacks. After the kids got the techniques down, I would lead them in a drill where I would call out the Japanese names to encourage them to attach the names to the techniques. It didn't work. It just confused them. So, for awhile, I used labels that they could relate to. Instead of iriminage, apple. Kotegaeshi became banana. Kokyunage was grape. They had no problems attaching these labels to the techniques. Eventually they were able to build on those labels and learned the actual Japanese names. This is just one method that has worked.
Other than for testing the names don't need to be emphasized. In testing if you repeat the names and if future tests build on past tests, learning can occur.
Also, we've developed a Coloring Book that shows many techniques and their names. Some kids are visual learners so this helps. The Aikido Kids Coloring Book is available on Amazon or we sell them in bulk to dojos via our webstore.
From time to time, go visit another dojo and learn from their approaches. Michael Friedl Shihan's dojo in Ashland is not that far from you, for example. Gambatte kudesai.