“Aiki Kodomo Kenshukai”

Teaching Aikido to Children



 April 1 & 2, 2006

Saturday 10:30AM - Sunday Noon

At Aikido in Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg, Virginia

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


please join us







“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:

  • Structuring Classes Effectively
  • Developmental Learning
  • Games, games, games
  • Ukemi without the “ouch”
  • Aiki Taiso for solo and group drills
  • Teaching Advanced Techniques
  • Aiki Sprouts – programs for 4-7 year olds
  • Integrating Bukiwaza (Weapons Practice)
  • Taming Tribal Teens
  • Tips for Success
  • Belts, Tests, and Ranking

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 lunch and a dinner reception on Saturday.



Presenters include:


  • Jack Richford Sensei, M.Ed., shodan, Aikido in the Fan,  Virginia
  • Donna Pienkowski, B.S., shodan, Aikido in Fredericksburg



  • Bill Gray, BSEE, 4th dan, has been teaching Aikido to children for over ten years and has been practicing Aikido for more than twenty.  Children enrollment in his Redmond, Washington dojo typically numbers near 150!  The children’s program at Aikido Academy for Children and Adults incorporates positive reinforcement and fun focusing games with Aikido techniques to help many children achieve a better level of focus at home and in the classroom.  Bill Sensei has written in Aikido Journal about the readiness of teens to become black belts and six of his students have graduated to the dan ranks, with ten more almost there. Bill Sensei will be presenting ““How to teach Aikido in a safe and positive way” (focusing on methods of conveying advanced techniques) and “Games, Games, Games”.
  • Robert Kent, M.A., 3rd dan, is the founder of Aikidokids.com, an online community for everyone who teaches Aikido to kids and for the kids they teach. Kent Sensei has an MA in Philosophy from the Claremont Graduate School and is a Certified Massage Practitioner.  In addition to running the youth program at Aikido West in Redwood City, CA, he is Program Director at Camp Susquehannock in Pennsylvania, where he has been working with young teenagers for 25 years, and teaches a course in "Aikido and Ethics" at Williams College. He trains under Frank Doran Shihan.  Kent Sensei’s presentation is titled “Tribal Teens” - how to generate and nurture a healthy group identity for 13-15 year olds.
  • Craig O’Connor, 3rd dan, brings the precision of his computer science background to Aikido instruction.  His students at Two Rock Aikido in Petaluma, California include his own children and his Sensei’s grandchildren.  Craig Sensei’s Aikido instruction has included time as uchideshi at the Iwama Dojo in Japan, world-renowned for aikiweapons training.  His presentation “Integrating Weapons Practice with Kids” will show that proper etiquette and clearly defined the rules for practicing with weapons can be a viable and beneficial practice for children. 
  • Aviv Goldsmith, MS, 5th dan, was introduced to Aikido as a teen at the New York Aikikai.  Some years later, he began practicing seriously and has been teaching Aikido since 1989.  In 2001, he became Dojo Cho at the non-profit Aikido in Fredericksburg where he instructs a growing children’s and adults program.  Aviv Sensei currently serves as the Youth Outreach Coordinator for Aiki Extensions and is a director of the Takemusu Aikido Association. He will moderate the discussion and brainstorming sessions of the workshop and has arranged for children students from the dojo to participate in the mini-classes.
  • Scott Tomlin, 2nd dan, teaches at Aikido of Virginia Beach where the children aged five – fourteen outnumber the adults!  A child at heart, Scott Sensei brings enthusiasm and caring to the mat.
  • Jack Richford, M.Ed., shodan, is an Elementary and Middle School Counselor for Chesterfield County Public Schools, responsible for providing guidance and counseling for early childhood and pre-adolescents at both school levels.  He has a Masters in Education from the College of Education at William and Mary.  He is an active social science researcher and instructs the children classes at Aikido in the Fan, in Richmond, Virginia. Jack Sensei will open our workshop with a lively mini class with children from Aikido in Fredericksburg and then lead a discussion on Structuring Classes Effectively.
  • Michelle Keip, RN, PhN is a nidan who trains at Aikido of Tamalpais in Mill Valley, California.  Wellspring Aikido Arts offers classes for recreation departments in Santa Rosa, California. Michelle Sensei is a senior instructor with Kidpower International and the author/illustrator of Shape, an activity book for young children inspired by Aikido. Her presentation “Beginning Again with the Very Young” will challenge us to let go of our technical accomplishments and focus on the essentials. In this workshop we'll explore principles of teaching and learning and ways to create a safe and fertile space. The young at heart are invited to attend a mini-session of "Samurai Sprouts".
  • Sharon Seymour, MLS 3rd dan, has been teaching children since 1984.  After teaching youths at Nippon Kan in Denver, she went on to found the AikidoKids! program at Katsu Jin Ken Dojo in Prescott, Arizona in 1997. Sharon Sensei also oversees the AikidoKids! program at Aikido at the Center in Tucson. Over the years, she has learned not to underestimate children’s ability to understand Aikido principles, the power of basic movement to convey these principles, and the importance of teaching in the spirit of Aikido. Participate in “Aiki Taiso: A Great Source for Solo, Partner & Group Drills” to experience these ideas. In her spare moments, she is a librarian involved in teaching and developing training materials for staff and public at Prescott Public Library.
  • Mark Uttech, 4th dan, began his study of Aikido in 1984 at Aikido of Madison under instructors John Stone and Robin Cooper. Shortly after achieving Shodan in 1989, he began the children's program there and in 1992 he opened Aikido of Marshall, Wisconsin and began a children's program there.  He continues to teach the children's class at the Marshall dojo, and it is one of the great joys of his life. "Simplicity Works Wonders" is the title of his presentation. Mark Sensei says, "In 17 years of teaching children I have found that if you simply pay attention, children will teach you the Aikido that is naturally there in them".
  • Donna Pienkowski, BS, is one of the new shodans at Aikido in Fredericksburg.  In 2001, Donna semi-retired from a career as a middle school teacher and post-secondary educator including several years working with special education students.  She is an inspirational sempai and has contributed to the growth of the dojo and the children's program.  Donna will present on "Developmental Learning".


Seminar Location:

Aikido in Fredericksburg

4006 Leonard Drive, B5

Fredericksburg, VA  22408


Suggested Accommodations:

5400 Southpoint Blvd.
$65 for double rooms

Incl. continental breakfast

Ask for Group # 121500

4615 Southpoint Pkwy

$79 for double suites

Incl. hot breakfast buffet

Ask for Group # 033106

Some limited homestays are also available upon request.

We are located halfway between Washington, DC and Richmond.

Local driving directions to the dojo are posted at the dojo website www.aikidoinn.com.  

We are close to I-95, exit 126.


How do I sign up?

Complete the waiver form and pay the non-refundable $175 Workshop fee (as of March 20th there are still a few slots open).  The workshop fee includes a workshop binder, Saturday lunch, and dinner reception on Saturday.  You can register online at our events webpage www.gashuku.net and pay via Paypal, or mail your registration to:

Aikido in Fredericksburg

6147 Hickory Ridge Road

Spotsylvania, VA  22553


Want more information?

Contact Aviv Sensei at 540.582.9600 or aviv@aikidoinn.com




please complete, sign, and mail to Aikido in Fredericskburg, 6147 Hickory Ridge Road, Spotsylvania, VA  22553


Name                 ________________________________________________________________


Address              ________________________________________________________________


City, State           ________________________________________    Zip _______________


Home Phone       __________________________                   Work Phone        ____________________________


Email Address     ________________________________


Aikido Home Dojo _____________________ Aikido Rank __________________________________________


Where will you be staying during the workshop? ____________________________________________________


How did you learn about the workshop?     __________________________________________________________


Do you have any health limitations that would affect your ability to practice Aikido?  _________________________




Contact Person and Phone In Case of Emergency___________________________________________________






              I, the undersigned applicant to AIKIDO IN FREDERICKSBURG (hereafter called "School"), acknowledge that I am applying for instruction in a martial art involving strenuous exercise and personal body contact. I acknowledge that any insurance that the School may carry may not cover injury to its students. As a condition to being admitted to the School as a student, I assume the risk of all injury and do hereby hold the School, its instructors, employees, and agents harmless from any and all liability (including attorney's fees and costs) for all claims, actions, or damages due to injuries suffered by me or caused to third parties by me, arising out of activities involving Aikido, any variation thereof, or associated therewith, whether occurring on the premises of the School or elsewhere, including the use or misuse of information presented at or by the School, excepting only those actions or damages caused by the gross negligence of any of them.  


              I agree that the health, welfare, and safety of all students, members, and instructors of the School are of paramount importance. I certify that there is no medical reason to preclude me from training.  I certify that, other than as stated above, I do not have a communicable, contagious, or other health condition that poses a medically-recognized or dangerous risk of harm to other students, members, or instructors of the School.  If such a condition arises in the future, I shall inform the School and shall cease practicing unless mutually agreeable proper precautions are taken.


              I agree to abide by the rules of the School and to follow explicitly all instructions given by instructors.  I understand that (a) training is a privilege, (b) that the School may refuse to provide instruction to any person at any time, and (c) fees paid are not refundable.  I agree that the School may use any photos of me taken at the seminar and ideas generated therein in its educational materials.


Date _________________                           Signature ______________________________________


              If student is under eighteen (18) years of age, parent or guardian must sign here.

              I, the undersigned, as parent or guardian of the above applicant, certify that I have read the above application and I consent to the applicant's receiving the instruction applied for and I agree to the provisions of the contract for myself and said applicant.


Date _________________                           Signature _____________________________________

If you can spend some extra time in the area, you might want to check out the following:

Aikido in Fredericksburg is located within a day's drive of 65% of the U. S. population! 

It is convenient to I-95 and US-1 which run along the east coast.