Aikido for young people

Aikido is a Japanese martial art that can provide valuable guidance for young people in many aspects of life including discipline. The training emphasises coordination, physical balance, timing and a controlled and calm mental and physical attitude.

Aikido is a strictly defensive martial art, in this it differs from many other arts. It is for this reason that it can be effective in antagonistic situations without resorting to an aggressive response.

Young people copy the actions of others, it in this way we all learn, if they learn to punch or kick first then their initial reaction to an attack will be to punch or kick. However if they are taught to be relaxed and confident in difficult situations then fear and its resultant animosity , may become less important and less automatic in the heat of the moment. It is also easier to avoid an attack if you are relaxed.

In aikido training our bodies are taught to relax, our breathing controlled, this leads to clear thinking and precise response rather than violent reaction. This form of training is an ideal way of learning to deal with problems every one faces as the travel through life. Whilst their bodies are developing nerve techniques and pressure on joints are left out of training to avoid injury and future problems.

Classes include warm up exercises, breakfalls (very useful in everyday life, as falls are one of the major causes of injury), basic movements upon which Aikido can develop and more advanced techniques.

Training takes place under qualified instructors who are also CRB checked regularly {association regulations), a lively relaxed atmosphere is always encouraged but the real purpose and skill are always taken seriously. Instructors and students work closely as do student and student it is in this way that trust is built and a genuine willingness to help each other.

Aikido can be helpful in the development of young people in many ways. It is an excellent form of self defence and helps to develop a physical grace, coordination, a peaceful mind and a healthy vibrant spirit. Since Aikido is based on unbalancing one's opponent whilst staying firmly balanced oneself, physical size and strength and muscular ability are not important. Young people of all sizes and physical types can enjoy training and become excellent in Aikido .

Sensei John Jenkin, Rokudan, Koshinkan Aikido Society

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