Aikido for Children and Teens
Aikido, as in many of the traditional martial arts, promotes training to unify the mind, body and spirit. The biggest difference between Aikido and other martial arts is that it is non-competitive by its very nature, where harmony is strived during practice. With all the associated benefits of having your child in Aikido, learning effective self-defense techniques becomes less of the focus, and more of a bonus as they go about their daily lives. Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect:
Aikido classes start with a period of stretches, moving into developing agility by practicing rolls and how to properly break-fall (ukemi). Activity gradually picks up from slow, steady movements, which culminate into vigorous technical applications of the art.
Aikido help instill mental focus in children, giving them the ability to concentrate on a task and see it through to its conclusion. Aikido students are taught to respectfully address the instructor and senior students, tend to the proper care of their uniforms, and partake in cleaning the dojo (samu), an essential and traditional element of Aikido training.
As with other traditional martial arts, proper etiquette is deep-rooted in Aikido’s training culture. Respect in simple forms such as a bow, is a part of training. Bowing as a show of respect to the art, its founder, the dojo, the teachers, and fellow students are very customary actions in a Japanese martial art setting.
As your child continues to train and learn Aikido, he or she will naturally develop self-confidence. Southland Aikido utilizes a belt ranking system that provides a child measurable goals they can latch on. A mastery of a technique or attaining a new belt ranking provides a sense of accomplishment with immeasurable benefits of the mat.
The last resort in any confrontation is to fight. Generally speaking, a disciplined, respectful and confident child will likely find another solution besides having to fight. With that said, Aikido techniques are defensive in nature, with very practical applications when properly executed.
Southland Aikido is currently taking applications for its children’s program. Interested parents who are looking to enroll their child is encouraged to contact the chief instructor for more details about the program.