child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist growing
- Pablo Picasso.
At the Feather River Kodenkan Dojo we emphasize
teaching children responsible means of self-defense. Junior JuJitsu
classes are for kids age 12 and younger. Preferably children should
be at least eight years old, or otherwise have the maturity to make
this enjoyable. Admittedly, most kids are into it for the sake of playing
and romping around. Others may pursue some vague images fostered by
seeing martial arts movies or reading books. In our experience most
younger kids have trouble developing the serious dedication we usually
see in teenage and adult students. For that reason, in the beginning
we first and foremost encourage enthusiasm for all sorts of unusual
physical activity - activity that teaches certain skills useful for
their later selfdefense training. We emphasize developing discipline,
preferably the kind of self-discipline that comes from their desire
to improve themselves.
In the beginning we emphasize learning general
fitness, stretches, balance, foot and hand coordination; all elements
that increase confidence in their physical abilities. We also spend
a lot of time (lots!) on teaching safe rolling and falling techniques,
which usually have a great deal of appeal for juniors, and greatly
boost their self-confidence. The beginning kids are also taught immediate
self-defense applications which very well capture their imagination.
These include very practical and easy to learn escaping techniques
- techniques that in our experience work - without turning out unnecessarily
aggressive kids. These techniques are well proven and are also taught
in our assault prevention classes. Our goal is to show kids how to
avoid confrontations, if not defuse them, before having to resort to
more drastic measures.
Most formal “kata” techniques, including
strikes, kicks, escapes, locks and throws (the way they are taught
in our regular classes for adults) are taught only to the advanced
junior students. These techniques are in our experience too demanding
for a beginning junior student’s patience and attention span
- and are therefore taught only at the advanced junior level.
students are involved in helping teach the beginners - after all, teaching
and helping one another is an important part of learning.
Kids age 12 and older may begin to attend adult classes, where they
mature by interfacing with adults. At this stage they may begin to
learn how to size up and handle any adult. But have no illusion: all
this takes time, and regular attendance at classes is a prerequisite
for progress. Most importantly, their parents’ continuous interest,
encouragement and insistence on regular class attendance is a necessity.
If a child lives with criticism, He learns to
If a child lives with hostility, He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, He learns to shy.
If a child lives with shame, He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, He learns justice.
If a child lives with security, He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, He learns to find love in this
(Posted in the Portola Medical Clinic waiting room.)