When you step across the threshold of the Dojo you enter the world of Aikido, the Art of Peace. Having its origins in the martial arts, Aikido was created by Master Morihei Ueshiba, for the purpose of joining the power of a martial artist with the intent of a peace-maker. ‘Ai’ which means Love or Harmony, manifests between human beings as Kindness, and upon this foundation the skills of Aikido are built. Its mission is to create people with the strength of character and the skill to manifest Kindness even in the face of overwhelming odds. To never be defeated. Thus, to have enroled your child in Aiki Kids is to have done their self-esteem a great service.
Aikido is a very deep art that has many facets and although Aiki Kids only serves as an introduction, it is still a high quality introduction. Behind the techniques of Aikido lie skills that come from Nature, yet are usually undeveloped in human beings. The Seven Mysteries, a collection of seven of these natural skills for aikikids, are so called because as they develop they arise naturally and unforced, and seem to have no limit to their depth.
Aikido does not require athletic talent and does not rely on size or speed. It is
more dependent upon the coordinated relationship between the mind and the body, and to achieve this, Calm and Focused Awareness become the main tools. As these develop they allow the aikidoka (aikido practitioner) to ‘blend’ with their opponent’s ki (energy) and then ‘lead’ their movement through an aikido technique.
Aikikids will learn about: Calm in Action, Ki, and Blending.
Aikido is based upon movement that originates from the Tanden or Centre
( a dynamic point of focus in the lower belly ), and this understanding of movement can benefit all types of physical activity.
Aikikids will learn about: moving from Centre.
In the practice of Aikido it is necessary to know the subtle art of keeping safe distance between oneself and an aggressor. This is known as Ma’ai. It is also necessary to know the life-saving skills of Ki’ai and Ukemi. Ki’ai is a shout that originates in the Centre, filled with Ki, and can be employed either to call for help or to distract an attacker. Ukemi is the art of safe falling. We fall many times in our lives – from horses, bikes, skateboards, motorbikes, etc. Like swimming, ukemi is a lifeskill that can, and has on many occasions, saved people from very bad injuries and even death. Aikikids will learn about: Ma’ai, Ki’ai and Ukemi.
The secret to progress in Aikido is simply to persevere and to maintain a positive attitude. This, that is so simple, is profound in its effect upon personal development. And in Aikido the rewards, subtle as they are, are real and deep.
Aiki Kids discipline is self-disipline. It is not punishment, but is part of the training in Calm and Focus. A child’s misbehaviour in the dojo is neither the instructor’s problem nor the parent’s. It is the child’s problem, and a very simple and gentle process is employed to assist Self-Calming and Self-Focusing.
Aiki Kids instructors consist of men and women of all ages who voluntarily give of their time, their patience and their kindness to facilitate this training. Their greatest satisfaction is in seeing a child realize their own potential.
The dojo itself is not a public space but a private venue. Neither playground, classroom, nor loungeroom, it is a unique environment dedicated to specialised training in Calm and Focus.
You can grow into a Warrior of Peace. It is part of your training.
Anytime that a sensei feels your calm or focus has been lost, then he or she will simply send you to a Quiet Corner. They won’t give you a warning.
It’s then up to you to calm and focus yourself. It is not a sensei’s job to be a schoolteacher or a parent. Your behaviour is not their ‘problem’…it’s yours!!
Remember the dojo is not like school or home.
In the Quiet Corner you will sit quietly in seiza, facing away from the class, and focus on what the sensei has given you to do. After about five minutes, if you are ready, you will turn around and face the class again sending ki towards the sensei who sent you to the Quiet Corner.
You are young and you have great potential to do and be whatever you want.
So…be good and do good.
Even though there seem to be many rules when you first start, and even though learning the techniques may sometimes seem way too easy, and sometimes way too hard…don’t worry. Enjoy the calm of the dojo. Enjoy learning Aikido. Remember…
Every drop of Kindness added to the world
is part of the Upliftment of all living things.
So be happy to train and grow into a warrior…
‘Be calm when you’re moving , and super-aware when you’re still !!’
‘Always be aware of Ki when training!!’
‘Move from your Centre, extending Ki.’
‘IRIMI ( Enter! ) and TENKAN ( Turn! ) !!’
‘Keep Safe Distance between uke and nage !!’
‘Shout from your Centre, full of Ki !!’
‘Practice the Art of Safe Falling!!’