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TEENS’ PERSPECTIVE: My Year on Leadership Team

aikido leadership martial arts teens Apr 03, 2017
martial arts for tweens and teens

“During this time I learned how to be a bigger part of the dojo, but more importantly, how to teach. I was very scared, because I didn’t think I was ready. But I tried, and succeeded.”

The following is from one of our youth members. As a member of the Teens’ Leadership Team, he was held to a higher standard for attendance, manners, and dedication during his 1-year term. As part of the program, he learned teaching technique and leadership skills and was required to train with adults, as well. He read this report at the end of his last class of his last day of his Leadership Team term.


“I have been on leadership team now for a year. This means that as I am saying this, leadership team is over for me. It has been a great experience for me, and I am very sad that it is over.  It is really special to get more training, and to spend so much more time at the dojo with Sensei and the other kids. During this time I learned how to be a bigger part of the dojo, but more importantly, how to teach. Sensei taught me how to teach by first having me sit behind the students and correct their mistakes. Eventually Sensei let me teach a class. I was very scared, because I didn’t think I was ready, but I tried, and succeeded. I was a little shaky at first, but then I just did what I always see Sensei do. I lead warm-ups, then went on to races, to sword work, to techniques, and finally to aikido freeze-tag. That class was probably my favorite class in all of my time doing aikido.

Another great part of leadership team was doing the seminars. Last August, there was a five day seminar. I went on Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday. It was very interesting, because there were five teachers, and each teacher taught something different, and there was more than one teacher teaching each class. The teachers were: our own Lia Suzuki Sensei, Jean-Rene Sensei, and Numata Sensei, Satoshi Sensei, and Takeda Shihan. One of the best parts was when Takeda Shihan was teaching, he taught us to use the ki to make people move. One of the things he did was have everyone stand still, holding on to each other, and he moved all of us as one. Left and right, forward and backward we went, until we all fell over. He then had us practice in small groups, and let one person control the group… This was definitely my favorite part. The seminars made me feel so much stronger and gave me so much energy to get through the day. But let’s just say, those four nights, I had the best sleep of my life.

There are so many people who have made this experience so special, and possible for me. I would first like to thank my mom and dad, who have worked tirelessly, getting me to aikido, arranging people to pick me up. I would also like to thank Maiz and Joe Connolly for introducing me to aikido, and this wonderful experience, and of course all the delicious Thursday meals. I would also like to thank all the kids here, for making this so much fun. Some of these people you may not know, but I will tell you all their names here (these are only the kids here while I was on leadership team): Cirrus, Harriet, and Auden (who have sadly left us), Nico, Jamie, Daniel, Peter, Zolin, Savana (who only Diego will remember), Arman and Charlie (who have been great friends), Julio, and last but not least (of the kids), Diego and Ruben who (besides me) are the only ones who have been doing aikido from the very beginning, they have stuck by me through good times and bad, I would not have been able to do this without their help. I may have forgotten one or two people, so if I have, sorry about that. Finally, I would love to thank Sensei for always being there for me through this long process, I owe her so much. She was the one who asked me if I wanted to be on leadership team, who taught me how to teach, and so much more. Leadership team would not be this special without her.”

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