When a child exhibits interest in a martial art, parents must consider all the options, and there are so many that it can be overwhelming. If your local gym or dojo only offers a limited number of classes, you may have to choose from those, but if you have a choice, take a look at Aikido.
Aikido is different from other martial arts in that it’s non-aggressive. If you have a little ninja-wanna-be, this is not the martial art you’re looking for. It’s been said that you can’t start a fight with Aikido, but you can use it to finish one. The reason for this is primarily because the mind is the more powerful tool in situations of aggression, and Aikido teaches children how to control their thoughts and emotions and to use them to their benefit.
Bullies are a constant problem, and when a child is picked on he or she may lash out with kicking and punching and end up in a whole lot of trouble. A child trained in Aikido will know how to either avoid the confrontation or end it non-aggressively. It requires a lot of practice, but children learn quickly how to use their minds and emotions as tools and not just things that happen to them.
Because Aikido is grounded in the path of harmony, children develop a more compassionate and positive world view. When a child views her environment and those around her as part of her own existence, she is more likely to respond positively to them. Positive attitudes and control of one’s mind and emotions translates into better performance in school, sports, and even enhanced behavior at home.
Sure, Aikido teaches kids self-defense, but in a very unique way. Not only will they learn to defend themselves, but they will cultivate a calmer, more disciplined mind and greater respect for others and their environment.