2008 Aiki Kodomo Kenshukai – Teaching Aikido to Children / Educators Seminar


In 2006, the first "How to Teach Aikido to Children" seminar for teachers was held in Virginia.  The event included presentations from ten senseis and was enthusiastically received by 40 attendees. Many positive reports were written on many aikido websites (see our Press Room for links to some of these reviews).   It was suggested that the next seminar be held on the west coast to allow other people to participate.  So this year, we will hold the Teaching Aikido to Children seminar in the San Francisco, California Area over the weekend of October 3, 2008. 


The seminar is being organized as a resource for improving the quality and diversity of Aikido education to youths.  The seminar will be taught by international Aikido instructors and educators from a variety of affiliations and is open to all Aikidoists.  Space is limited so please register soon.



“Aiki Kodomo Kenshukai”

Teaching Aikido to Children




October 4 & 5, 2008

Saturday 10:00 AM - Sunday 3:00 PM

at Aikido of Berkeley

Berkeley, California


Learn new and mat-tested methods for enhancing children’s classes in the dojo.  The workshop faculty is an experienced group of eleven Senseis, Aikidoists, and Educators from around the world who are gathering to provide "how-to" resources and share best practices. 


* please join us *


How do I sign up?

Complete the registration form and pay the non-refundable $225 workshop fee at the door.  The workshop fee includes a workshop binder and lunches on Saturday and Sunday. 


Want more information?

Contact Aviv Sensei at 540.455.3378 or aviv@aikidoinn.com

We have reserved a block of hotel rooms, too.  Please contact Aviv Sensei..


"Aiki Kodomo Kenshukai”

Teaching Aikido to Children

We’ve assembled an experienced group of Senseis, Aikidoists, and Educators to provide "how-to" resources and share best practices.  Learn and network!  Here’s the current line-up:


Topics to be covered include:


Make your classes more dynamic and effective! Join us as we exchange ideas and learn from collective experience.  Formal presentations will be supplemented by moderated discussions, brainstorming, a resource notebook, and networking opportunities with skilled instructors. The workshop includes lunches on both days.



Presenters include:







6:30-8:15P         Adult Aikido at Aikido of Berkeley

Seminar participants are invited to join the regular adult class at Aikido of Berkeley, taught by Dojo Cho Kayla Feder Sensei, 6th dan.




9:30A Registration Opens

Please enter quietly because Kayla Sensei is teaching her Aiki-Mites class for ages 3 - 6.


10:00-10:40A   Amazing Things Can Happen in Kids Class with Michael Friedl

Michael Sensei was a Karate instructor when he first encountered Aikido in 1972.  He was surprised by the power behind the self defensive art and redirected his studies.  In 1994 Michael Sensei moved to Oregon and started Aikido in Ashland.  Aikido in Ashland offers classes for all ages and has an enrollment of about 60 in its children, youth and teen classes.  Michael Sensei is sensitive to the different interpretations of The Art of Peace in his fellow teachers and students.   Michael Sensei will teach part 1 of a class with children ages 5 – 12.  Seminar participants can either participate or observe the class, at your own election.


10:50-11:30A   How to Teach Focus and Make it Fun! For Kids with Bill Gray

Bill Gray has been teaching Aikido to kids for more than 10 years. His Redmond, WA dojo features a separate program for children where enrollment typically exceeds 100 students. The Children’s Academy is based on the belief that a fun, stress free, positive, non-competitive environment encourages learning and confidence. In this seminar, Bill Sensei shares his insights on teaching 4-12 year olds.  He shows how kid’s natural tendencies for questioning and imagination can be used in the study of Aikido.  He shares games that foster focus and respect both in and out of Aikido class.  Bill Sensei will teach part 2 of a class with children ages 5 – 12.  Seminar participants can either participate or observe the class, at your own election.


11:45-12:25P    Kids Class Redux moderated by Aviv Goldsmith

This is your chance to share thoughts, questions, and personal experiences relevant to the morning’s classes.  What worked in the classes?  Did any light bulbs go on for you? What techniques can you adopt in your own program?  What would you have done differently? Seminar host, Aviv Goldsmith moderates.  


12:25-1:10P      Working Lunch

Seminar host Aviv Goldsmith will moderate discussion on subjects that you care about.  Please answer the questions on the registration form and submit them with your registration.  Aviv Sensei will use this information to guide the discussion agenda.  A simple lunch will be provided.  Your assistance in set-up and clean-up is appreciated.


Saturday, Continued


1:10-1:55P        Helping Kids Reach Their Potential with Melissa Fisher & Pete Wilkins

Melissa Sensei and Pete Sensei teach a variety of classes at Tenzan Aikido in Seattle, WA, including pre-school, ages 6 & up, and Parent/Child Aikido.  Before focusing on Aikido, they studied a variety of martial arts and dance.  In their program, yoga and Brazilian jiu-jitsu are integrated into Aikido training in a way that helps children reach their unique potential.  The goal is to recognize the interconnected physical, emotional, and social dimensions unique to each child and use Aikido to help develop individual potential.


2:00-3:00P        Randori for Everyone with Lisa Smith-Rice

Even free-style training needs ground rules.  In this seminar, Lisa Smith-Rice shares some secrets to structure jiyuwaza that work well with her 5 year olds and up class.  She will present the three rules of surviving randori, the ten principals of successful randori, three most successful aikido techniques applied to randori, and drill and games modified for randori all with the goal of creating the most effective learning experience.  Wow, all that in one hour!


3:10-3:40P        Verbal Aikido with Aviv Goldsmith

Children frequently ask when is the right time to apply Aikido techniques outside of the dojo.  Aviv Sensei will demonstrate practices that teachers can use to educate students about avoiding physical confrontations.  Aviv Sensei has a variety of experience with Aikido for the young, beginning with his own introduction to training as a teen.  He has been teaching Aikido since 1989 and became Dojo Cho of the non-profit Aikido in Fredericksburg in 2001, where he teaches students of all ages.  Since the first Aiki Kodomo Kenshukai, the children’s program at Aikido in Fredericksburg has been frequently sold out!


3:45-4:45P        Kaeshiwaza of Teaching and Learning with Ross Robertson

Ross Robertson founded Still Point Aikido in 1991 with the philosophy that students are participants in a mutual learning process.  In this session Ross Sensei applies this belief to the teaching of 6-12 year olds.  He offers support to teachers who want to let children self direct more of the class process.  He shares his experiences of the rewards of taking this approach to teaching.


4:50                     Daily Wrap-up with Aviv Goldsmith



Sunday, October 5


9:00-9:40A       How to Teach Focus and Make it Fun! For Teens With Bill Gray

In this class, Bill Sensei’s imaging and questioning is applied to kids 10 and up.  Many of Bill Sensei’s teen students have developed the focus and technique to graduate to the dan ranks.  Bill Sensei will also discuss the value of an instructor’s program for children’s class.  Bill Sensei will teach the first half of a class with kids ages 12 and up.


9:50-10:30A     Teaching Tribal Teens with Robert Kent

Rob Sensei began his Aikido training in Kyoto in 1984.  He joined Aikido West in 1991 and inherited leadership of the children’s program in 2001.  The teen’s classes at Aikido West are technique centered incorporating Aikido skills, physical skills, discipline, and games.  Senior students are invited to learn by helping the younger class and parents are encouraged to train with their kids. Rob Sensei will teach the second half of a class with kids ages 12 and up.

10:45-11:25A   Teens Class Redux moderated by Robert Kent

Robert Kent is the founder of Aikidokids.com, an online community for Aikido teachers and the kids they teach.  He runs the youth program at Aikido West in Redwood City, CA.  He has been working with young teenagers for over 25 years.  Rob Sensei will guide our discussion as we digest this mornings classes and the lessons learned.


11:25-12:10P    Developmental Learning with Donna Pienkowski

While we are spending time learning how to teach Aikido to children, we will also spend some time exploring how children learn and grow.  We will focus on several developmental stages and theories using dojo examples to better understand our growing audience, their capabilities, their challenges, and the opportunities we have as teachers and role models. Donna Pienkowski, a licensed middle school teacher, has thirteen years of experience in the classroom including several years as a Special Education teacher and several years teaching adults.  She received her 5th kyu while in Iwama, Japan (ask her for details) and was awarded the rank of nidan in April 2007.  She assists with the children and youth programs at Aikido in Fredericksburg.


12:10-1:00P      Working Lunch

Seminar host Aviv Goldsmith will moderate discussion on subjects that you care about.  Please answer the questions on the registration form and submit them with your registration.  Aviv Sensei will use this information to guide the discussion agenda.  A simple lunch will be provided.  Your assistance in set-up and clean-up is appreciated.


1:05-1:40P        Martial Play with Alex Vanderburgh

Alex is a 3rd dan instructor who has worked with kids for nine years.  He currently teaches the childrens summer program at Aikido West.  His game-centric approach to Aikido is flexible enough to apply to kids in grades k-8.  The goal of Martial Play is to help develop students’ emotional intelligence.  Aikido, Karate, Kempo, Jiu-jitsu, Kobundo and Kung Fu are combined into a physical program, but the lessons are in self respect and non-violent conflict resolution.  Martial Play breaks with the tradition of linear and hierarchical martial arts training and focuses instead on creating a physically and emotionally safe environment for practice.


1:45-2:30P        Aikido as a Tool for Social Transformation with Jose Bueno

José Bueno Sensei, 4th dan (Aikikai), has practiced Aikido for 24 years. In 1994 he left his job as a successful architect to become a full-time Aikido instructor in his own dojo and in several projects off-mat. In 2003, he founded Acão Harmonia Brasil (Harmony in Action Brazil) which teaches Aikido to disadvantaged children in the favelas of São Paulo, offering them an alternative to the endemic violent conflicts of their world. Some of these children have become regular students in his dojo and now assist Bueno Sensei at leadership training seminars, where he teaches the principles of Aikido to top executives from throughout South America. He will share his philosophy and techniques and will screen Harmony in Action, a recently completed 10-minute documentary about his latest project.


2:30-3:00P        Weekend Wrap-up with Aviv Goldsmith

Aviv Sensei will guide our last discussion of the weekend focusing on what we’ve learned and how we can implement in our own dojos.        




The seminar is organized by Aikido in Fredericksburg with support by Aiki Extensions, Inc. and AikidoKids.com, all of which are non-profit organizations.

If you cannot participate, are there resources (such as publications, videos, teaching materials) that you can make available to the seminar at low/no cost?  Are there other instructors that you suggest we contact for future programs? Please contact me with any questions or ideas. Thank you for your support.




Aviv Goldsmith, Chief Instructor

Aikido in Fredericksburg, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation

Spotsylvania, VA 22551 USA