Movement Helps Children Learn

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.

Aikido – A Safer Activity for Kids (and Grownups, Too)

In Aikido, our goal is to keep ourselves and our partners safe. Injury is not supposed to be part of the practice.

When thinking about activities for your children (and for yourself), please consider choosing Aikido. In training we don’t punch or kick our partners, and we learn to roll and fall safely, protecting our bodies from hard impacts. This is especially important in avoiding traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can cause a lifetime of troubles and disability.

The risks associated with repeated head trauma are better understood, and have been widely publicized in recent years. Here you can watch Frontline’s League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis on PBS.org

Aikido is an especially good option for kids and teens, whose bodies are not developed enough to withstand the pounding of high-impact activities.

And the training goes much deeper than just a sport. Aikido teaches us to work together, with each other and with our circumstances, not to oppose, fight, and conquer. Aikido training serves us in our lives off the mat, too.

Some active fun in the childrens Aikido program

PHOTO – Aikido is Active Fun for Kids

This month’s posts are part of a series of 26 posts, Aikido from A to Z, one for each letter of the alphabet, that I am writing during the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, April 2016. You can find all the posts, as they are published throughout the month, by following the A-to-Z April 2016 tag


Since the A-to-Z Challenge takes Sundays off, here’s something fun to keep you going until Monday.

Kids need to move, run, and play. In children’s Aikido classes they learn to work together, in and active, positive, fun and challenging environment. Here’s a spirited scene from one of our recent children’s Aikido classes.

Some active fun in the childrens Aikido program