We offer classes for all ages and abilities, including classes for children, teens, and adults. Most classes are held at night and on weekends and are organized by age of practitioner.
Aikido is a perfect martial art for children. Like all martial arts, it teaches self-discipline and etiquette as well as a method of self-defense, and fosters confidence and self-esteem in children as they begin to master the art. But, unlike other arts that teach aggressive blows, Aikido is a purely defensive art. Aikido is unique in that it emphasizes using only the minimum force necessary for self-defense.
This is perfect for parents who want to balance the desire to teach their children to be non-violent with the desire to equip their children to deal with a violent world. Aikido training teaches these skills to children while avoiding the aggressive, "power ranger/mutant ninja turtle" syndrome.
Aikido Recommended as a Martial Art for Your Child in the September 10-12-2004 Parade magazine, Aikido was recommended as the appropriate art for a child who is being bullied. The article stated:
"In Aikido you don’t hit and punch, so you won’t get in trouble for fighting in school. But you’ll be able to defend yourself by using your attacker’s energy and momentum against him. Also, Aikido teaches you to have a calm and impassive mind, so teasing bothers you less, and you don’t react out of anger and fear."
Your child does not have to be physically strong to become proficient in Aikido: our non-competitive defensive strategies are practiced at your child’s own pace. Some of the issues addressed in training include:
- Resolving conflicts
- Instilling discipline
- Avoiding fights
The primary skills and qualities developed through Aikido training are:
- Positive attitude
- Greater concentration
- Improved focus
- Enhanced perception
Give your child the opportunity to develop self-mastery, patience, confidence, and relaxation through a highly effective, nonviolent self-defense system that is fun to practice and safe to learn.
In Aikido class, we begin with a series of stretches and warm-up exercises, and then progress to practicing technique. There is no such thing as an advanced or a beginning technique in Aikido. The art instead consists of a large number of techniques that we first learn, then refine through constant practice. Thus, classes contain students of all levels of expertise.
Typically, the instructor will demonstrate a technique, and then the class will pair up and practice the technique. Each member of a pair of students alternates at playing “attacker” and “defender”; in essence, they become learning partners, helping each other to learn by exploring a technique from both points of view. With each new technique, students practice with different members of the class, without regard to rank. It is thus a profoundly cooperative and egalitarian learning system. It is also highly effective.
We also do exercises to develop “ki”. This is an Eastern concept that can be loosely translated as “life force” (think of The Force in Star Wars). Various people and schools interpret ki in a variety of ways, and endless arguments ensue about its nature. At Aikido Kokikai Wilmington, we think these arguments are fun (sort of like arguing which was the best baseball team of all time), but leave the nature of ki to the individual student. What we train ourselves to do, however, is try and develop the right “feeling” of relaxation and centeredness that allows us to do techniques effortlessly.
Santo Ichen Ryu is a style of Kenjutsu (Japanese sword fighting) and draws techniques from three styles of traditional Japanese sword arts. Practice occurs with both iaito (non-sharp) blades and with bokken (traditional wooden swords). Through sword training the practitioner gains an understanding of the Riai – an encapsulation of the underlying principles of all types of combat. We practice Tandoku (kata) to learn technique, and Kumitachi (two person fencing drills) to understand application. We study the art of iai (fast drawing attack) to learn discipline, focus, and precision of movement. We learn close techniques for stopping an opponent’s draw, as well as disarms. We learn to use the katana and wakisashi (short sword), individually and together. Students learn sword handling, cutting, attack/defense, and movement with an emphasis on traditional sword fighting theory. The study of the sword makes a strong complement for anyone involved in the Martial Arts by helping to broaden and deepen their understanding of the underlying principles of fighting. Anyone with an interest in sword fighting can learn this fascinating and traditionally based martial art.