Kids Martial Arts
Unique Benefits of Aikido
More so for partner practices such as Aikido, there are social benefits. Children become less shy and more assertive. They also develop friendships with other children who are learning the same lessons. The community aspects of martial arts training are important, so you should pay attention during the selection process.
Aikido's Unique Quality
When my son was in 6th grade, he defended himself well from another child. When he was brought to the principal's office, it slipped that he trained in martial arts. The principal was very angry. "When did your teacher tell you it was okay to strike another student?!" he demanded. You could tell he had run into this problem before.
But he was wholly unprepared for my son's response: "He never taught us HOW to hit anyone?" The principal very confused.
Aikido is a different martial art. The purpose of Aikido, as developed by the founder, was as a form of practice to bring peace to mankind. The founder's realization was that true Budo (the path of the warrior) is love. Techniques are not designed to injure or disable the attacker, but to control them so neither you nor the attacker are harmed. Children who train in damaging strikes may have trouble knowing when to use them, which is why the principal was concerned. In Aikido they are less likely to cause injury to other children and face consequences in school.
We do tend to recommend Judo for children as well - even though the throws are harsh, children are less often injured from them than adults. In the case of martial arts that teach striking, we suggest parents evaluate the instructor to feel comfortable that instruction is handled well.