Aikido combines learning through movement, awareness of our own bodies in space, and mindful moving meditation.
In Aikido, students learn experientially, with the guidance of an instructor. We are shown the basic shapes of the techniques, but the real learning comes through doing. We feel our way through, taking our bodily sensations and the movements of our partners as feedback. Kids benefit tremendously from this kind of activity (and so do adults).
Lara N. Dotson-Renta, sheds a whole lot of light on the subject of learning through movement, calling upon a variety of excellent sources in her article Why Young Kids Learn Through Movement — Children acquire knowledge by acting and then reflecting on their experiences, but such opportunities are increasingly rare in school, in The Atlantic.
“Children learn by experiencing their world using all of their senses. The restriction of movement, especially at a young age, impedes the experiential learning process.”Vanessa Durand, a pediatrician at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia
Quoted in the above article.
The article tells us that children need lots of movement-based free play in life. Experimentation, pretending, problem-solving. But there’s also room for more directed activity involving movement.
“… Enrichment programs engaging children in movement with intention (yoga, meditation, martial arts) are also gaining traction.”Lara N. Dotson-Renta, The Atlantic
Why Young Kids Learn Through Movement
Aikido can be a great way — for children and adults alike — to get in touch with their bodies, learn to feel and respond, and get out of their heads for a while. What a great activity to balance sitting at a desk all day in school or at the office.