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#159700 - 06/23/05 09:43 PM Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido
KiDoHae Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
A few years ago I had my first experience with aikido and often brought my son to the aikido classes. At the time he was about 8 1/2 and already taking karate for 3 years. The karate dojo I trained at would take children between the age of 5 & 6 (this is a non-profit dojo) and many seemd to seemed do just fine with the physical aspects of the art.

At any rate, although my son had no interest in aikido the subject of what was the appropriate age for kids to start came up. My Sensei's son, I believe, was almost 14 at the time. He told me that he had only just begun to teach him some basics. When I asked him why, he told me that he felt that the movements and techniques of aikido were too complicated for young children any younger than that (14ish) to learn.

What does anyone think about that and/or have any of you had experience with dojo's that train students younger than around 13? Even younger still?

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#159701 - 06/23/05 11:13 PM Re: Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: KiDoHae]
LastGURU Offline
The one who knows
Member

Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 148
Loc: Riga, Latvia
I tent to think it is best to make children start at the age of about 4 so that movements come natural and the martial art become part of them, not a skill attained later.
_________________________
Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without

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#159702 - 06/23/05 11:31 PM Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: KiDoHae]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Aiki, whatever flavor is subtle and will likely NOT appeal unless it is tangible and easy to see. Subtle is easily lost on young ones... Just as young (and old?) will see and understand the PUNCH and kick aspect of Karate, will they truly understand below that level? Perception is a funny thing, it will only permit us to see what doors we choose and are able to open.

Aiki <shrug> late teens maybe? It will depend on the child, but most do not get even the surface of so called "simpler" technical arts. Aiki is better suited to technically more experienced folks. The ~second art~ so to speak..

There are several books written specifically addressing this very topic ie Aikido and Children. (Gaku <sp.?> Homma's on Aikdio I believe still the best out there...)
There are many articles on ~what art~ to choose specific to children. Consider seeking them out as well.

To answer your question specifically, I assume he's clearly not completed his karate study, correct? If he still loves ther ~Steven Seagal~ version of Aiki in several years maybe he can find a spot for it...

For now, try and ~stay in the boat~! Don't know if this will help or not, hope so,

Regardless its merely my opinion, clearly I could be mistaken

J

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#159703 - 06/24/05 12:05 AM Re: Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: KiDoHae]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Hmmmm... a very interesting question since I constantly ponder why and what is it I am teaching young children (my 2 boys included, 6 and 8 respectively).

I don't necessarily agree that the moves are too complicated or technical. Perhaps it is because we tend to rationalize/analyze aikido, and in the process, make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Aikido is in actuality quite simple (yet profoundly deep at the same time). I remember one of my sempai once remarked that it [aikido] was so simple that it eludes most people.

Kids in my class range from 6-17 (6 being my 2nd son, who is the youngest in the class).

Despite the vast age difference, I am constantly amazed at the ability of the ones below 10 to execute simple gross movement techniques, in comparison with the older ones, who supposedly have finer motor control skills between 9-12. For some perculiar reason, the 12-17 age group in my class seems to be "coordination challenged".

Perhaps my boys have had the luxury of me as their father, who prefers to "play" rather than teach as such, or perhaps I have been "playing" and "throwing" them around (and being "thrown around" by them) since they were able to walk. Not sure which has been a greater contributing factor...

I remember, my teacher certainly had a wonderful way of keeping it simple, although, I think our brains keep interfering with that simplicity.

In some small way, it undoubtedly reflects on the ability of the teacher, not that I'm suggesting I'm any good as a teacher, but perhaps I am better at "playing at kid's level" than others. (One of my sempai for example has no kids, never had kids, and finds kid's classes quite "boring").

As my teacher used to say "forget technique, just play".... which I suspect he meant quite literally...

Thanks for reminding me! Now I know what I'm going to teach...er... I mean "play with" tonite.

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#159704 - 06/24/05 08:16 AM Re: Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: KiDoHae]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Did you ever try and buy a "Hakama" for a small child?Sometimes I wear a hakama when practicing Iaido, my son has a small unsharpend katana that he likes to use/emulate his dAd. The other day he asked me if he could wear a hakama too and of course I said that we would buy him one. About four different people/stores told me that they don't make hakama's for children??????????? My son is 7. Hey maybe thats why you can't start Aikido until your older
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The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#159705 - 06/24/05 09:11 AM Re: Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: schanne]
LastGURU Offline
The one who knows
Member

Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 148
Loc: Riga, Latvia
Maybe a Hakama designed for old people that have shrunk to about his size will be good for him?
_________________________
Choice is an illusion created between those with power and those without

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#159706 - 06/24/05 12:30 PM Re: Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: LastGURU]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Old people do shrink, I expect to loose about 4-5 inches by the time I'm 80. I suppose he could wear his older sister brownie skirt, hhmmmm..... never mind.
_________________________
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#159707 - 06/24/05 04:07 PM Re: Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: LastGURU]
KiDoHae Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
As always, interesting points of view...

"aiki" does tend to involve fine motor skills and there is a sublety to the physical movements that could be lost on younger folks.

eyrie seems to have done OK with his little guys which is the flip side my old sensei's.

In my hapkido dojang there were only a few 16 or 17 year olds and their participation was spotty. I think this was due more to the dojangs reputation for being quite hard in it's training, not necessarliy because of the techniques themselves.

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#159708 - 06/24/05 04:18 PM Re: Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: KiDoHae]
schanne Offline
breaks things

Registered: 02/18/04
Posts: 4370
Loc: Woodbury NJ
Oh geeze, you mean it's OK for a dojo to have a reputation for being a little tough these days. I thought you could get sued for that just kidding, glad to hear your in Hapkido!
_________________________
The way of the warrior does not include other ways... Miyamoto Musashi Schanne

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#159709 - 06/24/05 09:43 PM Re: Youngest appropriate starting age for Aikido [Re: schanne]
KiDoHae Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 06/29/04
Posts: 999
That I would be, Schanne.

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