Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Kids aikido classes starting

I'm going to start aikido classes for children on Sunday, 27th January (4:30pm). Kids between 7-12 will be in my group and I'm looking forward to seeing and teaching them. I haven't really posted about this intention of mine in this blog yet because I've just been preparing almost silently and we tried to finalise the date we could start these classes.

One of the reasons I started this blog in September was that I wanted to organise my thoughts and also, gather some basic information (folding your gi, tying your belt, bowing, etc.) that I can later use and, possibly, refer to in my kids classes. The blog has turned into a bit more personal direction since, I think, but I hope it's going to be helpful for young people who want to understand aikido more, too.

The class will definitely be very different from the 18-20 year old students' I teach at the university (for computer science :D).

We have discussed with Karesz and Steve a lot which age groups I should teach. Finally, the decision to have a single class for 7-12 olds has been reached for various reasons: 1. as aikido can be practiced by people of very different strength levels, size and age, there wasn't any point in dividing the group into two age groups like in kickboxing; 2. children below 7, though, might have too different attention levels from, say, 11-12 year olds so that's how the lower age limit has been decided; 3. 12-13 year olds should be able to join the adult classes depending on how strong and mature they are (just like the age until they have to use a booster seat in cars, as the Dragons learned last Friday).

I have been reading various articles about kids aikido classes for a relatively long time, that is why I have the Aikido kids link in my links section from the starting day of this blog. I've also become a member of the related group at Google to learn from others' experiences. Obviously, knowledge about teaching acquired by reading articles and forums is rarely the best thing to do (though you can still learn a lot by it), so I visited the Lil' Dragons' classes (children aged 4-8) and the Kids Zone (9-13) classes run at Holistic, where I also happen to train in the adults' aikido class. Those kids do kickboxing but I still learned a lot by watching, participating and showing them some aikido techniques because Steve has kindly asked me to do so (after I arrived to just observe these classes :)). Needless to say, personal experience has completely changed the syllabus and approach I initially planned. I'm sure I will change these things many times as I gain more and more experience but that's how development is made.

If you remember the post with a lot of pictures where I was in charge of the adult class, it wasn't because I was the best in the team but because I wanted to practice teaching the most. I've asked Karesz Sensei to give me a class every month so I can prepare for my own classes (and he can train as well :)). He was generous in December giving me more than what I had asked for. He obviously wants me to run a good class because he will be the one examining the kids when it comes to their grading and he wants to see some quality aikidoka.

I will have an assistant to demonstrate techniques as well. Armand who brings us nice food sometimes...khm...:) training with us in the adult class and young enough to remember how kids think will join me, for which I'm grateful.

Everything points to my new class and now I'm having problems sleeping because I'm so excited about teaching these kids and planning their first aikido trainings.

I'll definitely write another post after the first class to tell my experiences.

Finally, my favourite kids aikido video with its even better background music :):


Mark Walsh said...

good luck man.

I recommend Paul Linden Senseis e-book on teaching kids.


Zolley said...

Thanks Mark!

I'm using his aikido handbook for children already but I didn't know about this book.

Armand said...

hehehe, the music is from an anime called azumanga daioh XD

Zolley said...

Armand, that's some knowledge :D.

Please let me know if you have any similar music, we might use it in future videos or as background music for slow motion demonstrations :)