How does Aikido differ from other martial arts?
Unlike Karate or Taekwondo, which are primarily striking arts (ie punches and kicks); Aikido is a defensive art. A student in Aikido is taught how to neutralise an attack in way that, uniquely, maintains the safety of both the attacker and defender. Further, there is no sparring or competition element to our training. Our students are not taught to fight each other and as such we don’t instil any negative winner/loser mentality in them. Instead our students learn to work together to develop their techniques and, through this co-operation, all of them can build positively reinforced self-confidence.
Aikido techniques incorporate precise body movements to redirect the energy of attacks and neutralise an attacker through joint locks, pins and controlled throws. Some of these are not appropriate for little ones and their growing bodies, so our children’s martial arts classes mainly focus on a number of simple self-protection exercises and movement forms.
My daughter has been learning Aikido for nearly 3 years and enjoys it as much today as when she started. It’s great for her physical confidence and she really enjoys the discipline plus the fun games.
So how do we teach Aikido to children?
The curriculum we teach in our children’s martial arts classes are roughly along the same lines as the adult curriculum but without certain joint locking techniques that could be potentially harmful to young growing bones. Games are also played as a reward for good work and to help build social skills. As such it is very important that our juniors understand the meaning of consideration for others, and the importance of trust. Fun, as always is a key element.
Life skills are an important part of what we teach in our children’s martial arts classes. A successful martial arts student is punctual, respectful, considerate of others, and has self-discipline. Martial arts students also have an increased sense of responsibility as well as a higher sense of self-esteem and sociability, which means students are less likely to succumb to destructive peer pressure.
What age groups do you teach?
Our classes are split into three different age groups: Little Dragons age 4 to 7, Juniors age 8 to 11, and Cadets age 10 to 16 with more emphasis on learning Aikido techniques from the adult syllabus introduced at the Junior and Cadet level.
Regardless of age, each class our students are working together towards the techniques required for their next belt grading and skills achievement badges; are engaging in pro-social behaviours of respect and honesty; keeping active and healthy and most importantly, having fun with their friends!
What qualifications do the instructors have?
Our children’s classes are taught by principal club instructors Sensei Richard Watts and Sensei Kevin Whitney; they are both qualified BAB Level 1 Coaches.
Further, they are supported by the club welfare officer Laurence Smith in ensuring the classes are run safely. All children’s instructors hold accreditation in Safeguarding and Protecting Children and have current enhanced-CRB checks.
How much do our lessons cost?
At the present we run our Little Dragons and Junior classes during term times with a break over the summer holidays. We charge a set fee per term which is payable on the first lesson of each term. This fee includes insurance, grading fees, and for new students, a free dogi (karate suit). We offer a discount to parents who have more than one child training with us. Please contact Sensei Richard for the latest costs.
We at the Koushinkan Aikido Oxford believe in developing your child into a happy and successful individual. Whilst our training will help your child develop physical strength, balance, coordination, agility and self-discipline, it will also impact positively on all other areas of your child’s life.
To find out more about our children’s Aikido class please contact Sensei Richard Watts on 07773 982719.
My son simply loves attending each session. He has learned to manage his emotions – for a 6 year old is really a big achievement. When I watch him train he is in his own world of friends – I like the way he grows independent, respectful and knows how to stand up for himself, yet always consider others too.