Welcome To Our Children’s Program

Children’s Program

Kuma Kai Aikido specializes in teaching children. Denise Barry Sensei has been teaching children in varying capacities since 1970. She has been teaching children Aikido since 1978 and has been teaching Aikido in Sonoma County since 1988.

She has taught gifted children, severely emotionally disturbed children, autistic children and youth offenders. She has taught in public schools, Waldorf schools, Montessori schools, private schools, community centers, Probation programs, Day Treatment programs and group homes.

Sensei Denise Barry leading children's seminar

Learning Objectives

  • We believe that children value excellence.
  • We believe they enjoy being challenged and take great pleasure in a feeling of mastery.
  • We teach children how to connect to themselves.
  • We see that children thrive when they are in this state of centeredness and connection.
  • We see that they feel better when they are present in mind, body and spirit.
  • We see that they value belonging.

These are the principles of Aikido and this is what we teach in our classes.

In order to meet these objectives we focus on the following:

  • Creating a physically and emotionally safe environment.
  • Requiring Respect of Self, Others and the Environment.
  • Emphasizing the Aikido Principles of Centering, Grounding, Connection, Relaxation, Awareness, Harmony, Balance, Ki development, Discipline, Concentration and Service.
  • Aikido Techniques that are age appropriate.
  • Emotional/Social Intelligence and Communication.
  • The Peaceful Resolution of Conflict
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Aikido related games and exercises.
  • Healthy Fun and Enjoyment.

We offer periodic ranking exams (which include an Aikido related essay) as well as Special Events/Programs through out the year.


Dojo Etiquette for Children

  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Keep finger and toe nails clipped as short as possible.
  • Uniforms should only be worn in the dojo and should be kept clean and neat at all times.
  • Bodies, especially hands and feet should be clean and free from any contagions.
  • We provide a bucket of warm soapy water for them to clean their hands/feet prior to our afternoon classes.
  • Do not practice when sick.
  • Observe bowing etiquette and all rules of the dojo.

“Kuma Kai Aikido has been a critical component of our son’s confidence and self awareness. Through his training, he has developed an amazing sense of personal power.”      – L.C.

Dojo Etiquette for Parents

  • Remove shoes and place under the bench.
  • Do not sit with feet resting on the mat.
  • Shoes should never be on the mat or mat frame.
  • Do not enter or exit the dojo when the teacher is instructing or when a formal bow is taking place.
  • Do not talk to your child while they are training.
  • Silence Cell Phones prior to entering the dojo.
  • Inform the Instructors if your child will be missing class for an extended period of time.
  • Pay your dues on time.
  • Keep conversations quiet during class time. Do not converse during bows or instruction.

All of these rules are in place to create an environment that provides optimal learning opportunities for your children. Learning how to focus and concentrate while interacting with others is not easy. A quiet and respectful environment facilitates concentration.


Personal Skills

  • Centering
  • Grounding
  • Respect
  • Discipline
  • Focus
  • Confidence
  • Intuition

Social Skills

  • Patience
  • Cooperation
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Manners
  • Community
  • Awareness
  • Empowerment

Physical Skills

  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Discipline
  • Stamina
  • Relaxation
  • Strength


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