The benefits of Aikido for children

Would you like your little boy or girl to be more active, disciplined and more aware, develop his/her coordination and the ability to stay focused? All these benefits can be gained from practicing martial arts. Aikido is a martial art which focuses on self-defense, not attack, and which involves high coordination between physical movement and mental exercise. At a physical level, Aikido is an art that includes techniques derived from Jujitsu and Kenjutsu. The purpose of Aikido isn’t to hit the opponent, but rather to use the opponent’s energy to regain control by immobilizing. Aikido training puts a lot of emphasis on movement and posture dynamics, being quite different from what we understand by martial arts.
The benefits that Aikido has on trainees vary depending on their personality and lifestyle:

 

–          Physical and mental stimulation in complex situations

–          The ability to blend physical effort with breathing exercises

–          Learning an important life lesson that is strongly connected to the Aikido basics: every time we stand up, we have to get back up on our feet

–          Integration in a diverse environment with children of various ages that share the interest for oriental culture.

 
Aikido includes a wide variety of training styles and allows children to train depending on their individual level. In Aikido, just like in any martial art, training is both physical and mental. Due to the fact that a substantial part of Aikido training consists of projections, the first thing that trainees have to learn is how to fall and roll safely. In Aikido training, two partners practice pre-established moves rather than free moves. The basic pattern is the following: the one who receives the technique (uke) has to initiate an attack against the one who executes the technique (nage), who neutralizes this attack, and control it, using his body posture and synchronization to maintain the uke unbalanced. The one who attacked (uke) learns to be calm and flexible when he doesn’t hold the advantage.  Also, he learns techniques that help him regain balance and cover his weak points. Aikido is a physical exercise that requires equal effort from more muscle groups on both sides of the body. It requires fast response time, good speed and in the long run it enhances respiratory health and body posture.

Most sports centers who provide Aikido training allow you to choose between several age groups, from 5 years old to 14 years old. Encouraging your children to take up martial arts from an early age isn’t only beneficial from a physical perspective. Apart from the fact that they learn to lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle, they also become calmer and more disciplined; they understand their body and learn how to defend themselves without being encouraged to become violent.

Martial arts are known for their underlying psychological component and Aikido is no exception. This partial art teaches children important life lessons without even them realizing it; they learn how to lose, how to avoid conflicts and respond to them. Aikido helps your child fall and stand (literally and metaphorically) and use his energy in appositive manner.

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