Although adults might practice Aikido to develop inner peace, relaxation, or self-defense, most children don’t even think about these concepts. So why is Aikido a good idea for children? Aikido teaches children calmness. Of course, children shouldn’t be calm all the time. Aikido gives them the choice. If they need to sit still at school, or concentrate on homework, or focus during sport, Aikido shows them exactly how to do that. The techniques and ki testing we do teach them correct calmness. This is entirely different from keeping their emotions bottled up. Aikido calmness feels good.
Aikido helps children at school. By training, children develop calm, clear minds. As a result, they absorb knowledge easier, and think with greater clarity. Aikido is about developing the full human potential, and school is one of the most important places for this potential to be realized. Aikido teaches children practical self-defense. Aikido does not require athletic talent. In fact, athletic prowess can sometimes get in the way. Aikido works for little people, since it does not rely on size, or speed, or weight.
The key to making progress in Aikido is simply persevering and having a positive attitude. What better lesson can we teach our children? Some martial art instructors feel that “fun” does not belong in the dojo, because to study martial arts one must be dedicated and serious. However, for a child, any environment that promotes learning through laughter, imagery and games becomes a safe environment. This safe environment can enhance a child’s ability to learn and thus begin studying the more serious side of martial arts. Having fun, playing games, and using one’s imagination are part of growing up. Opportunities and permission to do all of these things allow children to take risks in a safe way. By exploring their limits, children can open new realms of understanding about themselves and the world in which they live.
Children have the ability to learn basic Aikido principles through exercises, games and techniques. children can become absorbed in an activity because it is fun and then receive additional benefits, such as an increased awareness of their surroundings and a better perception of the strengths and limitations of themselves and others. They have the opportunity to push themselves further, to explore their abilities, to assert themselves, to kokyu.giffocus their attention, to push themselves physically, emotionally and mentally beyond what they think they are capable of. Aikido teaches children “how to be strong” and how learning to stay calm and relaxed can be much stronger than things like anger, force and aggression. They learn about responsibility, doing the right thing, even without reward, about treating each other with respect and kindness. They also learn about things like bullying, or how to respond to verbal insults.
Aikido is training for the mind and body. Aikido is training for life. Aikido teaches children a lighter approach to life. A plodding serious approach to life doesn’t feel good. And it usually doesn’t yield the best possible results. Aikido works best when you relax and feel light. By learning this in practice, our children can’t help but apply this to their lives.
Aikido gives children a positive worldview. It teaches that in order to create something worthwhile, you must work in harmony with your environment and others. If your mind is correct, calm, and positive, you can make something good out of whatever the universe hands you.
Warriors of Peace
When you step across the threshold of a Aikido Goshinkai Dojo you enter the world of Aikido, the Art of Peace. Having its origins in the martial arts, Aikido was created by Master Morihei Ueshiba, for the purpose of joining the power of a martial artist with the intent of a peace-maker. ‘Ai’ which means Love or Harmony, manifests between human beings as Kindness, and upon this foundation the skills of Aikido are built. Its mission is to create people with the strength of character and the skill to manifest Kindness even in the face of overwhelming odds. To never be defeated. Thus, to have enroled your child in Aiki children is to have done their self-esteem a great service.
Aikido is a very deep art that has many facets and although Aiki children only serves as an introduction, it is still a high quality introduction. Behind the techniques of Aikido lie skills that come from Nature, yet are usually undeveloped in human beings. The Seven Mysteries, a collection of seven of these natural skills for aikichildren, are so called because as they develop they arise naturally and unforced, and seem to have no limit to their depth.
Aikido does not require athletic talent and does not rely on size or speed. It is more dependent upon the coordinated relationship between the mind and the body, and to achieve this, Calm and Focused Awareness become the main tools. As these develop they allow the aikidoka (aikido practitioner) to ‘blend’ with their opponent’s ki (energy) and then ‘lead’ their movement through an aikido technique.
Aikichildren will learn about: Calm in Action, Ki, and Blending.
Aikido in Study – Tweed Heads Martial Arts
Aikido is a Budo art – the way of the warrior
The 7 folds in the Hakama (5 in the front, 2 in the back) have the following symbolic meaning:
- Jin (仁): benevolence
- Gi (義): honor or justice
- Rei (礼): courtesy and etiquette
- Chi (智): wisdom, intelligence
- Shin (信): sincerity
- Chu (忠): loyalty
- Koh (孝): piety
Aiki Kids Etiquette
TRAINING BEGINS WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT THE DOJO.
HOW YOU LOOK SHOWS SELF-RESPECT
BOWING SHOWS GRATITUDE AND RESPECT
DOJO ETIQUETTE SHOWS RESPECT FOR OTHERS
QUIET IN THE TRAINING HALL
UKE and NAGE – Partners cooperating together in training
AIKI DISCIPLINE IS SELF-DISCIPLINE
ALWAYS TRAIN IN A JOYOUS MANNER
A dojo, or training hall, is neither a sports venue (having no spectators) nor a school. It is a unique environment where Calm and Focused Awareness are developed through training in martial technique. It is a refuge from the outside world, that should be mentally ‘left behind’ as you enter.
Training requires both calm and focus, and a quiet, focused environment is the desired ambience of the dojo. As Aikido has neither competition nor aggression an Aikido dojo is more peaceful than most.
Although initially some rules need to be learnt, dojo culture does not come from a set of rules but rather from the understanding of, and respect for, the goal of Aikido and the dedication of its practitioners.
Students must arrive early, allowing the class to start on time.
Children must wear shoes to the dojo door.
No lollies or sugary drinks should be consumed before class by those children who have a tendency to become sugar-hyperactive.
Children’s sores should be covered with an effective bandage or plaster.
Aikikids – training uniform
* The Aikikids badge should be sewn on the left chest of the gi.
* Your child’s first name may be written or embroidered in black one-centimetre lettering onto a white sew-on patch, and sewn-on high up on the left sleeve of the gi. Make sure it’s colour-fast!!
* Tying the gi belt should be practised at home as homework until successfully acquired.
* Please remove your shoes before entering the dojo, and place neatly outside.
* No hats are to be worn inside the dojo.
* Parents and guests (including children) cannot interact with the child during training. In some dojos parents are forbidden to attend…
…but not here.
* If you choose to stay and watch, please be quiet.
* Ensure your mobile phones are switched off in the dojo.
* No eating or drinking is permitted in the dojo.
This is part of your training
* Always arrive with plenty of time to change into your gi and sign in.
* Wear your shoes from the carpark to the dojo.
* Take off your shoes at the dojo door and leave neatly outside.
* Bow towards kamiza when you enter through the dojo door.
* Go to the changeroom and change quickly.
* Go to the desk and check in.
* Bow towards kamiza before stepping onto the mat.
* Sit quietly and wait for class to start.
* If you are late :
Wait off the mat for a sensei to signal that you may join the class.
Then bow and step onto the mat.
* Your gi should be clean.
* Boys cannot wear T shirts under gis. Girls can wear a white t-shirt or singlet under their gi.
* No rings, watches or jewellery can be worn on the mat in training.
* Your body,especially your feet, must be clean before stepping onto the mat.
* Your fingers and toenails must be trimmed to avoid scratching your partners.
* If you have a sore, make sure it is covered with a bandage or plaster.
* Always bow towards kamiza when you enter and leave the dojo.
* Always bow towards kamiza before you step on and off the mat.
* Always bow towards kamiza when you take a weapon on and off the mat.
* Always bow to a training partner when you start and finish practising a technique with them.
* Always bow to a sensei to thank him or her for giving you personal instruction.
SEIZA ( kneeling position )
* Always sit in seiza and wait calmly if you are not doing techniques.
* Kneel down…on left knee first.
* Stand up…with right leg first.
* Do not run in the dojo, either on or off the mat.
* During class always ask a sensei if you want to leave the mat.
* All instructors are called sensei during class.
* Treat all senseis with respect at all times.
* Do not be lazy in training. Be calm and focused.
* Learn by focusing your attention and by practising intelligently. Never interrupt the class by calling out. If you have to ask a question, wait until the sensei’s attention is available.
* No eating or drinking is allowed in the dojo. Drinking is allowed only in
* Always keep the dojo clean. Pick up any rubbish. There are rubbish bins in the change-rooms.
The dojo is a special place. It isn’t like school, or home, or a playground or a sports field. It is a place to practice and enjoy CALM IN ACTION, which is Aikido. This requires Focused Awareness which is difficult to learn if its too noisy. Keeping quiet doesn’t mean tiptoeing around like a mouse. It means respecting the calm feeling in the dojo, and playing your part in keeping that feeling of calm. Relax and enjoy it !
The class should never be disturbed by arguing, gossiping, asking unnecessary questions or pushing and shoving.
Uke is the one who falls, and Nage is the one who throws. We all take turns as uke and nage. When it is our turn to be uke we must try to flow wherever nage is leading us. This is very important, because it helps nage to learn the feeling of correct technique. Ukes must flow with the techniques, get up quickly, and turn to face nage, fully alert, and ready to attack again.
Aiki Discipline is NOT punishment. It is not meant to hurt you, embarass you, insult or reject you in any way. It is done with love and kindness, to help you learn how to calm and focus yourself, so that you can grow into a Warrior of Peace. It is part of your training.
Anytime that a sensei feels your calm or focus has been lost, then he or she will simply send you to a Quiet Corner. They won’t give you a warning.
It’s then up to you to calm and focus yourself. It is not a sensei’s job to be a schoolteacher or a parent. Your behaviour is not their ‘problem’…it’s yours!!
Remember the dojo is not like school or home.
In the Quiet Corner you will sit quietly in seiza, facing away from the class, and focus on what the sensei has given you to do. After about five minutes, if you are ready, you will turn around and face the class again sending ki towards the sensei who sent you to the Quiet Corner.
You are young and you have great potential to do and be whatever you want.
So…be good and do good.
Even though there seem to be many rules when you first start, and even though learning the techniques may sometimes seem way too easy, and sometimes way too hard…don’t worry. Enjoy the calm of the dojo. Enjoy learning Aikido. Remember…
Every drop of Kindness added to the world
is part of the Upliftment of all living things.
So be happy to train and grow into a warrior…