Self defense skills • Technical Proficiency • Etiquette • Self Discipline • Mindfulness • Respect • Honorable Behavior
These principles are the context in which the youth program provides a fun and safe learning environment for all to enjoy
The youth program here at Two Rivers Aikido starts at age 7 and continues to age 13-14.
Youth age 13-14 are considered for the adult program based on size and maturity.
While self defense skills and technical proficiency are one focus; etiquette, self discipline, mindfulness, and a culture of respect and honorable behavior are essential to study. These principles are the context in which the youth program provides a fun and safe learning environment for all to enjoy. Classes are organized around the learning needs of youth with games and activities designed to teach the Aiki Way. We value close communication with parents to help AikiKids cultivate Peace both on and off the mat.
Some of the technical benefits of training in the youth program are: Physical strengthening and flexibility, balance, coordination, and spacial awareness. As well, techniques to avert attacks and not get hurt are the basics of Aikido self defense practices. There is a large focus on anti-bullying and guidance on how to deal with the seemingly ever-present potentials for conflicts and scuffles at school. We do not teach striking (kicks and punches) in Aikido. We offer methods for the peaceful resolution of "playground" conflicts without violence.
We do not utilize colored belts to indicate rank. There is a rank structure and AikiKids are acknowledged for their advancement both in technical proficiency and character development. These recognitions are demonstrated by colored belt tips to respect age and seniority of practice and experience.
Although any adult (parent or member) who enjoys working with youth is welcome to join in the fun on the mat with kids, The first monday of each month is Parents Day. The parents of each student are encouraged to step on the mat and train with their kids. Sweats and a t-shirt are appropriate clothing for this activity.
ANDY KIRK - Youth Program Coordinator
After graduating from Flathead High School in 2000, Andy joined the United States Marine Corps and became an Aircraft Rescue Firefighter.
Andy spent most of his last two years of service as a “Combat Firefighter” in Iraq. While serving in the Marines, Andy began practicing the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program where he earned his green belt and was working toward his brown belt before an injury required him to postpone his training.
Andy began training Aikido again here at Two Rivers inspired by the work of Richard Strozzi-Heckler Sensei whose work on embodiment in “off the mat” principles of Aikido have greatly influenced the work of Two Rivers Aikido.
Today, Andy has been blessed with an amazing son named, Asher and works as a Financial Advisor for Edward Jones.