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.
Director of the Children’s Program
Rudy Puente, first degree black belt, has over twenty years in the field of education. He holds a Masters degree in education, is a former middle school principal and high school assistant principal. Puente has worked with community leaders and community agencies in promoting safe schools and safe community environments. Puente has worked with the department of education in Washington State to develop Harassment Intimidation Bully (HIB) programs that have been proven effective in practice. He has worked as an educational consultant in Central Washington at Education Service District 105 in Yakima, Washington. In addition to his responsibilities as Children's Program Director, Rudy developed our Bully Prevention Program and he leads the Girls Self-Defense Program taught quarterly at Multnomah Aikikai.
Rudy’s ability to engage and empower students to stand up for themselves allows him to be able to teach basic skills to diffuse a situation and basic self defense techniques.
Sean Sheedy, third degree black belt, assists with the Children's Program. Sheedy has been studying Aikido at Multnomah Aikikai since 2001, and has been helping to teach children and teenagers since 2002. Sean is the father of two grown children, both of whom trained in the children’s program at Multnomah Aikikai. In 2011.
Nathan Young has been a member of Multnomah Aikikai since 2015. Nathan has 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. He often tells the story of his earliest Aikido experiences where he worked with two exuberant teenagers well ahead of him in the practice, who took great joy in throwing him on the ground over and over and over. Two quotes in particular inspire him to pursue his own growth in aikido through working with children:
"The hardest ukemi I've ever taken was from a six year old girl. She used very little force and her movements were so unpredictable and I set the bar so high for myself in trying to follow her lead."
"The bigger the power difference the gentler you can be. This should be our motivation to become powerful."