Confidence, self-respect, discipline, cooperation, coordination
Aikido is a non-aggressive martial art that develops kids’ self-discipline, self-confidence, and sportsmanship, in a safe, fun-filled, energetic environment. Aikido’s philosophy is one based on conflict resolution and mind-body development which helps children focus and develop respect for others. It does not encourage children to pick fights or use their techniques on others.
The children’s classes teach them to direct their energy positively and effectively , helping them gain self-confidence and self-discipline. Children learn Aikido in a cooperative environment, developing work ethic, listening and learning skills that can be applied to many other life areas including schoolwork, sports, music and arts. The cooperative environment helps the children to learn the importance of respect not just the instructor, but also the other children they are working with.
Aikido helps children develop a clear, calm mind and a positive view of the world. It teaches them that if you create trouble, you will lose, but if you keep your mind calm and positive you can do great things. The classes are very energetic, and including rolling and tumbling that create a fun combination of exercise and play. However, the classes are for any level of physical ability since the art does not require speed, strength to be able to perform the techniques.
Children ages 6 – 14 train with the children’s program, and can join the adults program when they reach the appropriate age. Teens are encouraged to join the regular Aikido classes.
The role of the parent in the child’s success is to give support and reinforce the lessons of Aikido in the child’s daily life. Having a knowledge of the principles of Aikido can help parents greatly increase the impact of training in everyday life of their child. Speak with your child’s sensei (instructor) about his or her progress and difficulties on and off the mat. This can provide valuable insight to the instructor and can use to help your child grow.
Training etiquette is an important part of the Aikido program and impresses the importance of respect and discipline for the children, as well as insuring that we have a safe training area for the children. There are basic rules to follow:
• Remove shoes upon entering the dojo
• Bow upon entering and leaving the dojo, and when stepping on and off the mat. Bow to each other during training. This demonstrates respect for each other and a willingness to learn with an open mind.
• Please accompany your child when dropping them off for class or picking them up. Safety is our biggest concern, and this allows us to relay important information to the parents.
• Remove ALL jewelry and make sure your hands and feet are clean and your nails trimmed.
• No drinks, food or chewing gum permitted on the mat.
• Students need to listen carefully to both the Sensei and the assistants to avoid injury to themselves or others.
• We encourage parents to watch class. We ask if you are talking to please keep your voices quiet so as not to distract the children.
• Parents are not permitted to step on the mat at any time. This is for the safety of those training as well as to avoid distracting the children.
• Parents who are Dojo members and their children are encouraged to attend the Open Practice class on Saturday from 9:00 to 11:00am where they can train together on the mat along with other families and students.
• Be on time. If you are late to class, wait formally seated beside the mat until the instructor signals permission for you to join the class. Quietly perform a simple seated bow and then get on the mat.
• Do not goof around on the mat. Horseplay on the mat while the class is going on can cause injuries to you and others training.
• Do not leave the training area during class. Do not leave the training area without telling Sensei first. Try not to leave the training area unless you are injured or ill.
• Be Polite. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Be respectful of everyone on and off the mat, including relatives.
• Do not wander around people while they are training. At the end of training, while thanking other students say their name with the thank you.
Aikido is an art based completely on controlling the opponent. Due to its nature, there are no organized competitions in Aikido. Students are evaluated on their progress and capabilities independent of other students, and the ranking system is based on the progress of each student. Testing for a rank is not required, but is encouraged as it provides a meaningful way to acknowledge the student’s accomplishments as well as give constructive feedback and encouragement to the students. Testing will be done on specific days of the month and will involve the students demonstrating key techniques that they will be working on in their normal classes. The AWA Aikido Kids rank testing requirements are posted here.