My son Sam, is almost 7 now and has regularly been attending classes as Shoshinkan since he turned 5. He has really enjoyed the past two years and is always enthusiastic at the prospect of getting on the mat to throw himself around.
I was keen to get Sam involved in aikido as soon as possible having done so my self and I am pleased that I did as I am sure that it has played a significant part in his development. The sessions seek to instil a gentle sense of discipline and the notion of respect in oneself and the other member of the class, as well as being a great opportunity to partake in physical activity.
Sam used to be quite timid when it came to physically challenging things (some of the activities at play centres, like the big slides that other children would take in their stride, would stop him in his tracks) but he is now much more confident and takes the opportunity to do flip falls (a spectacular forward roll) at any chance he gets.
The attitude that aikido develops in young children filters through into other areas of their lives and Sam regularly draws on this whether it be in applying himself to his school work or being encouraged to make his bed and eat his vegetables – in my opinion, aikido at this level sets the strong social foundations which children need if they are to develop into well rounded adults.
Classes at Shoshinkan are always friendly and relaxed and children take things at their own pace which ensures progression. Sam and I have made new friends through aikido at Shoshinkan and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to get themselves or their children involved in a martial art.