We put the kid in Aikido
What is Aikido?
Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969). He was a powerful man who mastered many martial arts, yet had a firm devotion to peace. He said, “[Aikido] is not a technique to fight with, or to defeat the enemy. It is a way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family.” Aikido is a powerful system of self-defense, but is deeply infused with a set of values and attitudes that seek to deal with conflict in a calm way.
Our children’s program is designed for kids ages 7 to 12. Aikido can help children develop physically, mentally and interpersonally. Instruction is initially centered on physical exercises designed to improve motor skills and physical coordination, and to teach how to fall safely. In conjunction with these skills, we introduce the basic martial arts principles of movement and the self-defense techniques of Aikido.
How can my child benefit from Aikido?
Conditioning exercises inspired by animal movements improve strength, coordination and balance.
Falling and rolling practice promotes self-confidence and safety.
Practicing Aikido techniques promotes concentration and cooperation.
Challenging themselves, learning new movements and passing tests gives children a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.
How is Aikido for Kids different from other children’s martial arts programs?
Non-competitive. We don’t have tournaments or trophies. We stress cooperation, teamwork and respect among students, and between teachers and students. Aikido techniques are based on blending with your partner’s movements and redirecting them, not confronting force with force. The only competition is with oneself, striving for improvement.
Non-profit. We don’t require long-term contracts and we don’t pressure kids into expensive testing or competitions. Our instructor and his assistants are dedicated volunteers from the adult program and are not paid.
Can we observe classes?
Visitors are always welcome. Check the schedule and come in and watch a class. The instructor or assistant instructor will be happy to answer any questions you have after the class.
What’s up with the white pajamas?
The gi, a uniform consisting of pants, a jacket and a belt, is the traditional Japanese martial arts practice uniform. The thick, white cotton protects from falls, and some techniques involve grabbing the jacket. A gi is not initially required for beginning students, but should be purchased after a month or so of study. Gis and belts are available for purchase through the school.
Lead Instructor and Program Administrator
Nathan Young: Nathan loves the gentle art of Aikido and finds special satisfaction in conveying it to kids. Nathan has been a member of Multnomah Aikikai since 2015 and has assisted our previous children’s instructor, Rudy Puente, for over two years. He’s closely involved in the Birankai community of children’s instructors. Nathan has raised three children; a daughter and two sons. He cites his children, their friends, and their teachers and parents, as his biggest source of learning and his best source of friendships.
Martin Yonn: Martin is a former educator, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. He started training at the Alameda Dojo in 1998 as a child. Following a hiatus from the practice as a teenager, Martin returned to the dojo when he entered college, and has continued practicing since then. He is passionate about Aikido’s ability to allow people from all walks of life to experience and learn martial arts, and to cultivate empathy and courage within themselves. As a long time student, he is excited to have the opportunity to work with young people who are just beginning their journey at the dojo.