The book AiKids®
AiKids® Method: aikido from 4 to 15 years
The educational value of the Japanese Art of Aikido is no news: a growing number of professionals and not, from teachers to parents, are convinced of the importance of teaching this noble discipline to children, but in the face of the growing numbers of Aikido classes for children, it is more and more necessary to have a methodological reference to serve as a guide for teachers who embark upon such a project. AiKids®. Aikido from 4 to 15 years is a method with exactly this goal: combining psychological, pedagogical and social considerations to case studies borrowed from the direct experience of the author, this book wants to trace the methodological lines that are essential to sustain Aikido for children. Between theoretical and concrete examples, the reader is accompanied in the discovery of this universe and all its aspects. However, a discussion would be incomplete without a much more practical approach, that meets the needs of teachers: the book proposes the most appropriate techniques for the different classes, and a selection of games devided by student age, all accompanied by photos and images, indispensable aid for the creation of targeted and structured lessons.
This book comes from the collection of notes of years of past experience on the mat with children.
During this time I have often had to face their disarming spontaneity and the thing that pulled me out of the most difficult and unexpected situations was keeping true and natural, speaking to them frankly without losing the educational line: this has always given excellent results.
The primary rule that I tried to give myself and that I suggest to you as well is consistency, on short-, medium- and long-term, steady consistency. When no is no and yes is yes, then there is no room for misunderstandings, and the didactic system becomes educational.
Children, from toddlers to teenagers, will constantly and tirelessly be ready to test you, to verify that your steadfastness and your consistency are unshakable and that, therefore, you can be for them a true and reliable guide. They do not do it consciously, but they do it, it is their purpose, their inner mantra, they must do so because they are ancestrally programmed to seek out and emulate examples and to make new hands-on, concrete experiences: this is why they will continually be testing you, your position, and if this will be fake, not firm nor very deeply rooted, it will first waver and then collapse. Thus we have to be good examples through time and constant in our value, with the typical stubbornness of youth.
Society teaches the youngest to compete with each other and to use every means - licit or illicit - to win, from mocking to isolating, from taunting to ignoring. Our task will be instead to instill in them the seeds of sharing and cooperation, equality and constructive dialogue, but above all that of competition with themselves and the need and desire to improve themselves through physical training and refinement of the mind.
Often we hear of Aikido as an instrument to harmonize mind and body: with children it is, more than ever, necessary and possible to achieve this goal.
With this book I want to give you all the necessary tools and report my experiences so that your classes are well attended and your lessons are always engaging and fascinating, that they may capture the attention of students but also of their parents, but above all so that you may fulfill your mission as educators and not just as technicians responsible for explanation of mere techniques.
To make the reading more pleasant and smooth I will try, where possible, to alternate the explanation of a concept to practical and concrete examples from the reality I know, that of my dojo. It goes without saying that, for privacy reasons, the names of the people involved will be disguised and altered, and recognizable only by the parties concerned, if they had the intention to read these pages of mine. They shouldn’t hold it against me. Each of them is in my heart and it is thanks to them and for them that I embarked upon this new adventure.