Aikido for Kids: What are the Exceptional Benefits?
Adults practice aikido for a variety of reasons—relaxation, self-defense, stress reduction and a host of other benefits.
However, those are concepts children don’t care about or are not even aware of to begin with.
So, the question remains: why aikido for kids?
What do kids stand to gain?
How can the discipline help enrich their lives?
Aikido is a form of “non-aggressive” martial art.
What does this mean exactly?
Essentially, the primary principles of aikido do not encourage self-defense.
In other words, aikido is not taught with the mindset of punching or kicking your way out of conflict.
Rather, instead of starting a fight with aikido, it can be used to end one.
Basically, aikido teaches kids that when it comes to dealing with conflict, fighting should always be the last resort.
Aikido emphasizes and teaches kids to remain balanced, relaxed, and calm.
Understandably, it is very challenging (if not impossible) for kids to stay calm at all times.
Fortunately, aikido teaches them that they have that choice.
Aikido teaches the fundamentals of “going within” and this provides kids with the necessary tools to help them stay calm especially when needed.
The ability to stay calm can prove highly beneficial especially if they need to concentrate on school work, focus while engaged in sports, or sit still while in class.
Make no mistake about it though, remaining calm, relaxed, and balanced is not synonymous to keeping the emotions all bottled up inside.
On the contrary, aikido teaches kids how to communicate better so conflict is effectively avoided.
It also shows kids that calmness is not only the better option, it also feels good.
Aikido promotes “practical” self-defense.
While striking arts like Taekwondo and karate are undoubtedly good for both the health and the well-being, it gives children one basic tool when dealing with conflict—aggression.
If a child thinks kicking and punching is the only way they can settle conflicts, then they’ll likely experience great difficulty when dealing with life’s more prevalent “attacks” like bullying, stress, disappointment, and verbal abuse, among other things.
Aikido gives kids a positive view of the world.
Aikido teaches kids that for them to be able to create something they would be proud of and something that is truly worthwhile, they need to have a goal and a clear picture of the outcome they have in mind.
More importantly, however, aikido teaches them that they have to pair their vision with action so what they have in mind will come to fruition.
As if not enough, aikido also teaches that it is possible to create something good out of whatever life hands to them.
Aikido training will teach kids that each person has a responsibility to actively look for ways to make something good out of every situation they find themselves in.
Aikido teaches kids to appreciate and enjoy every life experience.
While it may seem like children always have it good, in reality, they also have challenges they need to face—peer pressure, mounting school work, demanding standards, among many others.
Taking life too seriously does not always guarantee the best possible results.
Fortunately, aikido teaches children to relax, “let go,” and be a kid while they learn valuable life skills that can help shape and mold their character and personality.
Aikido helps kids perform better in school.
Since aikido can help kids develop a mind that is clear, calm, and balanced, they can focus with better clarity and can absorb knowledge way easier.
Aikido also encourages the development of the full human potential.
And since they spend much of their formative years in school, aikido helps them become equipped to fully absorb the needed knowledge and skills so they can become better and more balanced individuals.
Aikido can help kids excel in sports.
Aikido classes helps develop elements most sport requires—strength, skills, focus, stamina, centering, proper breathing, and the ability to visualize the desired outcome to name a few.
Unfortunately, while most youth athletic programs encourage working as a team and having fun, many amateur coaches (read: moms and dads) often lack the proper educational training to effectively teach the more important fundamentals mentioned above.
Aikido can be done by everyone.
Your kid does not have to possess exceptional athletic talent or skill to join an aikido class.
Understanding, executing, and excelling in aikido is actually pretty straightforward.
Among other things, it just takes relaxation, effortless movement, helping others, and cultivating a calm, open, and positive mind.
Aikido works for all, regardless of shape or size.
Since aikido does not rely on strength, speed, reach, weight, size, or speed, anybody can do it.
Aikido thrives on the understanding of basic universal principles and encourages non-contention of force.
Aikido teaches that there will always be someone faster, stronger, and bigger and not every “attack” will be in the form of a bad individual.
Aikido widens the mind and understanding and provides kids with valuable skills and insights they can use in different life scenarios.