Where should Children be Guided To?

K L

Photos from a field trip.

Aikido Nippon Kan had visited almost all the elementary and middle schools in the Greater Denver area about 40 years ago to do Aikido demonstrations and to offer school children an educational opportunity about Japanese cultures and a Budo of Aikido from Japan, when even the word Aikidowas not commonly recognized.  On a busy day, we sometimes visited 3 or more schools back to back in one day.  In the last 20 years, its always been a pleasure to welcome children who visit Aikido Nippon Kan on school buses.  Its estimated that over 2,000 children annually have witnessed Aikido demonstrations and a few glimpses of Japanese cultures at Aikido Nippon Kan, and perhaps some of them were touched by our demonstrations and may have decided to join our Dojo to be an Aikidoist themselves!

Photos from Children’s Classes

Children behave like children whether its today or 10, 20, 30, or 40 years ago.  However, Ive noticed a stark difference in childrens behavior in the recent years that I had not witnessed before, which is how kids react when my demo partner takes ukemiby throwing himself/herself away from me after I apply an Aikido technique on him/her…  I recall children had exhibited a sense of awe and fear by bringing their small bodies closer together as if collectively protecting themselves after every ukemiwith a loud sound of slap on the Dojo floor to mitigate the impact of taking a fall.  Nowadays, its been differentThese days, children clap their hands and cheer as one executes Aikido techniques and the other takes ukemi, as if they are watching just another video clip of some violent scenes or a fight on Facebook or in a video game with fascinatingly elaborate graphics.

While Im not an expert in the field of developmental psychology by any means, I cannot help wondering whether such a behavioral change in children over the years has anything to do with how they mature to express sympathy and to demonstrate empathy to others as well as how they learn to think of possible consequences of their own actions on others, both verbally and physically.

By the way, in the olden days in Japan, over 150 years ago in an era of Samurai (), what is presently commonly as Budoin a general sense in which kicking and punching may be practiced, had been non-existent, even for Samurai ().  And hence, naturally no kid practiced how to punch or kick, either.

Over 20,000 children have seen our Aikido demonstrations over the years, and Aikido Nippon Kans Childrens Classes (aka Youth Program) have instructed over 6,000 children to date.  While the fundamentals of Aikido remain unchanged, we are always keenly observing a group of children in each class and adapting as necessary how we ought to teach children the age-appropriate Aikido while leveraging our experience we have accumulated over the past decades.  And Nippon Kan is proud to have continued offering Childrens Classes (aka Yourth Program) while leveraging our experiences and undeniable successesthat our Youth Program has accumulated over the past 40+ years.  We hope parents and guardians would perceive this credential as a reason to choose Nippon Kan over other dojo for your children.  Its also our wish for parents and guardians to evaluate any dojo by how they contribute back to the society that they are a part of.  We strongly believe that any dojo should not only be a place where children can develop self-confidence and learn the value of self-discipline through the practice of a martial art such as Aikido, but also a community where children can learn the importance of contributing back to the society we are a part of through volunteer activities to nurture their self-esteem and gain life satisfaction.  Please visit Aikido Nippon Kans Facebook page to learn about various community activities Nippon Kan and its members have completed.  For these reasons, we hope you as a parent or as a guardian will choose Aikido Nippon Kan as the ideal dojo to send your child/children!

The video clip is a short documentary from a field trip held in a summer for the members of Childrens Classes.  (A field trip like this is held regularly but on an irregular basis, depending upon staff availability as well as the interest level of possible participants, among other factors.)  The main purpose of Nippon Kans Childrens Classes is for class members to learn Japanese cultures, Japanese values and Japanese ways of thinking through the practice of Aikido and through other activities.  Nippon Kan does not place too much emphasis on only teaching a martial art.  If parents or guardians bring their child/children to Nippon Kan with a desire for their child/children to learn self-defense skillsor if they found their child/children to seem interested in a martial art like Aikido after watching a movie, we explain our mottos in running our Childrens classes, and we sometimes dont hesitate to recommend some people to check out other dojo for their needs & wants.  We are aiming to re-employ the teaching methods captured in the video clips in 2018.

https://www.facebook.com/nkdojo22/videos/

Childrens Classes Overnight Keiko (practice)

A photo of the cover of Children and the Martial Arts: An Aikido Point of View

Published in 1993, its regarded a guiding principle for running Aikido classes for children.

ISBN-10: 1556431392

ISBN-13: 978-1556431395

http://www.nippon-kan.org/senseis-c…

Review posted on Amazon:

“Avoidance of violence is the heart of Aikido. Children learn not how to fight, but how to cooperate; how to resolve conflict in a positive way; how to make friends and avoid making enemies. They learn self-defense, but more importantly, they learn self-confidence, self-respect and the path to self-discovery. In a world increasingly filled with stress and conflict, these lessons are survival tools for children of all ages.”

– Roberta K. Beach, M.D., M.P.H.

Aikido Nippon Kan firmly believes that instructors for childrens classes must possess a right combination of a proper attitude as a role model for children, a certain experience to lead and guide children during each practice consistently and a sufficient level of understanding in Aikidos philosophy and techniques.  

Its not seldom for people with inadequate knowledge, experience or skills to start a dojo or classes at a public athletic facility as a self-proclaimed Sensei.  For this reason, the background of instructors should be thoroughly checked, including but not limited to, where and under whom they have learned Aikido (or any other Budo) and how they have become instructors (i.e. sensei), etc., before deciding to enroll your child/children in an Aikido (or for any other Budo for that matter) class.

Aikido Nippon Kans Childrens Classes (aka Youth Program; for kids aged 7 to 15) is held every Saturday from 10:00AM to 11:00AM.

​​Youth Program membership fees are $25.00 per month per child.

​​Uniforms are not required for Nippon Kans Youth Program classes.  

​​Nippon Kan does not strongly or even gently or directly or indirectly urge any parent or guardian to buy anything for a child before attending the first Youth Program class.

​​Like the adult classes at Aikido Nippon Kan, there are no contracts or initiation fees.

​​Please learn more by visiting  http://www.nippon-kan.org/classes/c…