Students need time to arrive and change into uniforms; instructors will also observe and ensure that all kids are picked up by their parents or other trusted person.
In the kids class, all formalities are the same as the adults class, and students will be taught the dojo’s rules of conduct & etiquette, which are intended to promote a safe and respectful environment for practice.
Depending on the make-up of the class (ranks, experience, and ability), instructors will determine if more practice is needed with rolling and falling, and basic coordinated movements, or if students are ready to practice basic techniques that involve grabs and simulated attacks.
Special care will be taken to ensure that kids are not introduced to techniques that are hard on the joints, if it is determined that they are not conditioned enough or ready. In the kids class, fun is very important --have fun!
Like most dojos, we use the Japanese Kyu ranking system for advancement. In the Kids program, kyu rank is indicated with colored belts. The colored belts are good for helping students quickly identify the ranks of others, for lining up at the start and end of class, etc. They also provide visual encouragement for advancing to the next rank.
The kyu system works backwards, and in our dojo kids start as 9th kyus, working up (8, 7, 6) towards 1st kyu. The dojo's goal is to have them attain 3rd kyu by the time they are ready to join the adults class at age 14-15. (It is rare for a student in the kids program to reach beyond 3rd kyu, due to time and experience required for that level.)
While regular training will certainly fluctuate throughout the year, the dojo's recommendation for best progress towards retaining the material and reaching the next rank is for children to attend at least two classes per week on a regular basis.
The Aikido Institute is a non-profit organization and its instructors all teach on a volunteer basis, including the instructors of the Kids program. Our Kids classes would not be possible without instructors who are able to arrive at the dojo at 5:00pm and dedicate their time and energy to the students who sign up. We are therefore very grateful to have Martha Evans-Holm as the current Kids class instructor, with husband and long-time Kids Class co-instructor, Lars Eric Holm, providing support. Others from the Adults program may also drop in and lend support to the Kids classes whenever possible.
How to Begin