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Old 09-29-2006, 04:26 AM   #1
Dojo: aikido dojo nippos Crete
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 75
Children intro to Aikido

I recently became father of a very handsome baby son. I am thinking of introducing him to Aikido principles in the forthcoming years.
One of my concerns has to do with skeletal development. The human bones grow to their full length for at least 18-19 years (some say 21) and so do the respectfull joints. Trully the tenkan movement (amongst others) stresses the knee joint quite a lot as pivoting is not what this joint was designed to serve as main function. One must admit that putting the knee joints under such pressure is quite a significant stress factor, let alone the fact that we are talking about the growing joints of a child. The last thing I wish is to cause any unecessary stress to the normal skeletal development of my child.
Any feedback on that, people? Is there any alternative -less stressful- approach?
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Old 09-29-2006, 04:44 AM   #2
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 608
Re: Children intro to Aikido

In our curriculum, we do mostly omote and not ura for the kids until much later in the program. The first uras are done in year two and then just occasionally. Most of the techniques are throws where you fall backwards. The forward projections don't start until year three and there are a few more uras but just a few. We do have sankyo then and kotegaeshi but we teach the kids not to tork, just to hold.My program has koshinage in year 4 but we haven't gotten there yet because we are now in year three. I have 40 kids and 6 that are headed into year 4 soon.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 09-29-2006, 12:34 PM   #3
David Orange
Dojo: Aozora Dojo
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,511
Re: Children intro to Aikido

Stelios Papados wrote:
I recently became father of a very handsome baby son. I am thinking of introducing him to Aikido principles in the forthcoming years....The last thing I wish is to cause any unecessary stress to the normal skeletal development of my child. Any feedback on that, people? Is there any alternative -less stressful- approach?

If you haven't read this yet, please do:


My belief, based on many years of aikido training and observation of many children, is that children naturally do aikido. To teach them, it is only necessary to guide them into cultivation of certain things that they do naturally. And along with this, by carefully observing children in natural action, I think most aikido people can learn how to make their own movements more natural, spontaneous and effective.

Your concern about teaching tenkan, for instance, is understandable, but if you watch your child as he learns to stand and walk and get around freely, you will see that he naturally develops the ability to spin around very freely and that movement will be much more effective than any kind of formal "tenkan" you could try to impose on him. Look at this video of my son doing an opening aiki movement that I never taught him:


and here's one that shows outward turning (in the very beginning):


Again, this is only "root" movement, but teaching someone who has the root is a lot easier and more effective than trying to get someone to develop the root by giving them the leaves off your own tree.

This way, you begin "teaching" them from just after infancy, but it means that you are constantly observing them on subtle levels and gently guiding their awareness without making them lose their own naturalness and spontanaeity.

Hope this gives you something to consider.

Best wishes.


Last edited by David Orange : 09-29-2006 at 12:46 PM.

"That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
Lao Tzu

"Eternity forever!"

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