Registered as a sport in 1925, Aikido is relatively new to martial arts but one that continues to grow in popularity. Aikido is a unique martial art, with the student learning how to assess their opponents intent and predict - and prevent - their likely actions. Many techniques taught in aikido training involve circular trajectories, which allow hard collisions to be avoided. Additionally, circular or turning movements can leverage the strength of an opponent's attack, causing the opponent to rapidly lose energy.
During their study of Aikido, children learn to use their opponent's strength to their own advantage. This has important relevance to schoolchildren, who may encounter bullies and aggression at school but may feel prohibited from fighting back with force. An important tenet of aikido is the ability to deal with an opponent's attack without necessarily causing harm.
As such, self-defense in aikido includes three stages:
Weapons skills are not specifically taught in aikido. When weapons are used in aikido training, youth students are typically taught how to access danger, distance and timing needed to stay safe or if it occurs to engage against a knife (tanto), wooden sword (bokken), and short staff (jo).
As students get older they will be taught some basic disarming techniques. It is important to note that students are are made painfully aware that the techniques they are taught should in no way inspire a misguided confidence in respect to defending themselves against weapons in a real life situation and that safe retreat is always the prudent choice where possible
Aikido develops physical abilities in the student, as well as concentration and cooperation with fellow students and instructors. Parents of children studying aikido report that their children often become more balanced, calm and reasonable as a result of their training.