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Old 09-25-2002, 11:41 AM   #26
Dojo: Federación Mexicana de Aikido
Location: Mexico City
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 188
I appreciate the suggestions about teaching him a striking form so that he can learn a few defense moves quickly to use if need be and I understand the resoning behind it. My problem is that I think it sends a mixed message to him. While he is taught at school and home that hitting or kicking someone is wrong, how can I teach him that it's OK in certain circumstances?
When his well being is in danger...look a true pacifist is not naive. Turning the other cheek unfortunately will make the agressor stronger and more abusive, assured that it´s victim will not fight back. The concept i´m talking about is deterrance. If you show the confidence and capacity to defend yourself, most bullies will back down, because they´re cowards by nature. Maybe you fear he will become a bully with new acquired self defense skills?
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Old 09-25-2002, 12:42 PM   #27
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 890
M. Lynn Miller (BlackShawl) wrote:
I cannot fault the principal for suggesting he learn to fight back a bit. He recognizes the nature of the population of children he supervises. He suggests that it may only take one time for him to establish himself as one not to be messed with. My problem is that this approach clashes with my somewhat pacifist values and those that we try to instill in our children. I think I'll just have to get over it.
Please do not make the same mistake that my parents made when I was small.

None of the things that you naively (and ignorantly, dare I say) cling on to, such as

"Ignore the bully and he'll go away"

"The bully's really a coward inside"

"Just talk to him",

are of any use or value to a little kid.

They hold no truth.

You are too far away from what's really happening and how it really feels.

Being a pacifist means being able to deal serious damage, but choosing not to.

The values that "you try to instill in your children" will not make them pacifists, they will make them pushovers, laughingstock of the class, psychologically scarred for the rest of their lives.

Please keep that under consideration.

Last edited by shihonage : 09-25-2002 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 09-25-2002, 02:57 PM   #28
Brian H
Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 102
My son has always been a big kid with a soft heart.

When he was in pre-school, a little boy with a hard heart would pick on him.

One day, when I was picking him up from the playground he ran up to me in tears after being shoved to the ground.

After learning the details, I explained to him that if it happened again he should "punch him in the mouth and knock him on the ground."(sounds harsh, but I always prefer a simple plan)

My son declined my advise (I never thought he would do it anyway) and explained to me that "Ms. Kelly says no hitting is allowed."

That was fine, because my true audience was lurking behind the play scape listening to my ever word.

Well, my son is still a big kid with a soft heart and while he would not have beat the kid up, he never was picked on by him again.

The fact that my son had a "green light" to defend himself was enough to restore peace to his corner of the playground.

Bullies are cowards, they just need a little hep to realize it.

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing
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Old 09-25-2002, 07:00 PM   #29
Dojo: Still looking
Location: Westchester Co., New York
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 5

I think it's a big leap from one playground work-out session to my son being "a laughingstock'" and "phychologically scarred for life." The reason I'm pursuing Aikido training for my son is because it most closely conforms to the principles by which we, as a family and individuals, live our lives. If I let one or two 6-year-old playground bullies affect and change our value system, then I've let him win, haven't I?
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Old 09-25-2002, 10:44 PM   #30
Location: Western Australia
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 241

Hello Mr Miller

I can understand your concerns regarding the safety of your son. Though my son is older I have had similar concerns but I have relied on the School's policy on bullying and also referred it to the Principal, School Counsellor and Police Officer stationed at the school.

Can I refer you to the following sites that make some comments about the difference between self defence and martial arts training.



I am not suggesting that you send your son to these people for training, only that consider what they have to say about the nature of self defence vs martial arts training. That might help clarify the nature of the training and its effectiveness as a self defence application. Also they make comments about being assertive vs agressive vs "looking like a victim".

Best of luck with your endeavours and training.

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Old 09-25-2002, 11:42 PM   #31
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 365
Do I really need to defend Aikido on this board?

M. Lynn Miller (BlackShawl) wrote:
My problem is that I think it sends a mixed message to him. While he is taught at school and home that hitting or kicking someone is wrong, how can I teach him that it's OK in certain circumstances?
I really have to agree with you 100% here. When I was a kid in fifth grade, I finally stood up to one boy who was trying to bully me and I punched him in the face. It gained me some respect in the short term, but looking back on it it don't feel that great about having handling things that way. Knowing what I know now, I realize that it was all so unneccesary. Hitting him because I knew of no better way to stand up for myself is no better behavior than what the bullies are doing. They just don't know any better. As Aikido students, we should.
I cannot fault the principal for suggesting he learn to fight back a bit. He recognizes the nature of the population of children he supervises. He suggests that it may only take one time for him to establish himself as one not to be messed with. My problem is that this approach clashes with my somewhat pacifist values and those that we try to instill in our children.
Maybe one of the next advances in our society's treatment of children will be to no longer tolerate child-on-child physical abuse. Many people today, I think, would be surprised at how accepted adult-on-child physical abuse was up until quite recently.

In any case, one will always be "messed with" in one way or another throughout life, whether it is overt violence, threats, or more subtle manipulation. Yes, properly striking someone one time will give your son a reputation that should eliminate his being bullied, but it's not the best way of accomplishing this. I think you are right to suspect that the reputation he would gain by such actions is not the one that you would want him to have.

Here's an example. Consider that your son is in a fight that he cannot avoid and finally feels that he needs to stand up for himself and punch the other guy. But instead of punching him, he places the base of his palm underneath the boy's neck, and then raises his hand, cocking the other boy's head back. At the same time he also moves his own body forward. This offsets the other boy's balance, causing him to stumble and fall backwards.

This is a real Aikido technique that most adults practice. I did a few today, in fact. And your son will (or should, at least) learn how to this and other things like it in Aikido. However, he will also learn much, much more. The response I described above might be an appropriate reaction for a young child, but among adult Aikido students this would be considered a fairly base way of handling an actual conflict. There is a very good reason why people say that Aikido students are much less likely to get into fights than other martial artists, and it's because Aikido really does teach the skills to defuse these situations even before they arise.
PS. More than anything Jack wants to learn archery. He's ready to take a bow and arrow to school to show those toughs. Man, boys are so much different than girls!
I doubt that you will find a kyudo dojo that accepts young children. Even if you did, I doubt that the principal would allow him to carry the bow in school.
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Old 10-11-2002, 04:20 PM   #32
Dojo: West End Aikikai
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 45
Wink advise son

. What should I do? Is there another form of martial art that is more appropriate?
As many others have replied, aikido is wonderful for me and I hope to one day share it with my daughter and son. But may I suggest another alternative?

I have a fencing colleague who teaches in New York and New Jersey. We are part of a small community who still teach western fencing as a martial art, i.e. the Art and Science of defense.

Our fencing lessons are a scientific approach to understanding the nature of the attack so that you can defend based on simple principles, viz. time and distance.

And, its fun!

Look at the Martinez Academy of Arms:


for more information.

I realize it may not be around the corner, but I have students who drive 50 miles roundtrip twice a week to study with me so I don't hesitate. maybe I'm spoiled -

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Old 10-12-2002, 02:34 PM   #33
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
speak of the devel and who appears

Well, since my last post on this thread I have had all hell break loose in the worst way for my thirteen year old son in eigth grade.

Trying to resolve a bully problem where two or three bullys have cause my son to describe his feelings toward the class who are followers as being so angry he could stab them all with his fathers daggers, has hit the zero tolerance for violence, and been glossed over with "school policy overrides the state law" as a response. So now, I too am faced with a few decisions.

State law says that with the IEP for my son he can not be held responsible for acting within the limits of his classification, but school policy says he must be suspended for ten days until a manifestation meeting of where he will go to school or temporarily be sent to pursue his education. What really, realy, really ticks me off is that his case worker who was supposed to assess the situation and take the proper steps to properly handle it set it into motion by punishing the victim for telling the truth, his true feeling about what has been an escalating situation over the first three weeks of September.

I got absolutely no help until I told them I would teach him how to hurt these children without leaving any marks because they were unable to resolve the situation. All jaws dropped in dead silence.

Right now, I have started him with the adult class of Aikido, and he really loves working with the adults who are helpful, focused and no nonsense.

Maybe teaching him a few pressure points to inflict maximum pain when executing some simple Aikido techniques will suffice for now, but until he emotionally stabilizes from losing the trust of staff, counselors, and administration, I don't want him back in the public school system. The never should have taken him out of the alternative school system if they weren't able to keep all the hollow promises of supplying the same level of discipline and instruction in the alternative school.

I don't think he will break any bones, or do serious injury should this situation call for violence, but if it does ... I have plan B for alternatives to working within the rules while not breaking the law.

Oh, well. Thought you might feel better to find someone else who is bucking the discipline in the public school system.
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Old 10-13-2002, 12:01 AM   #34
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 44
Ai symbol

Something to consider...

How long does it take a typical adult - someone with fully developed fine motor skills - to become proficient enough in aikido to actually use it?

How long, then, would it take a child, who is still developing his motor skills, to become proficient enough in aikido to actually use it?

The direct punches of boxing/striking, and the clinching and throws of wrestling/grappling, although they can be greatly refined through practice, involve simple, gross motor skills, which more or less come naturally to humans. If you watch two untrained guys get in a fight, 9 times out of 10 they will either start swinging or get into a clinch. This is why the learning curve for this type of fighting is so much shorter than aikido's - the movements involved are the natural way that humans defend themselves.

It seems to me that your son needs to be able to defend himself ASAP. Most people from my dojo say they took at least a year before they could practically apply aikido, and they are adults. I understand that you do not wish to compromise your pacifistic beliefs, and wish to pass these on to your son. But the fact of the matter is, your son can not be a pacifist and fight back at the same time. And since aikido would be impractical for him at his age and in his situation, he can only defend himself by fighting back - yes, that's right, by being aggressive. You're going to have to make a decision, and I urge you to teach your son how to pop those bullies right in the kisser.
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