Youth Aikido

Covid mitigation

We are committed to minimizing the risk of Covid transmission in the dojo. At this time, we continue to ask that a students 18 years and older be fully vaccinated for indoors practice. To meet the needs of all our community, classes on Monday, Thursday, and Friday are mask optional; we request that masks be worn on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday classes. Please contact us for more information or questions.

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Youth Aikido at Tacoma Aikikai

Registration is Open!


Contact us to sign up or learn more. Visitors are welcome.

Tacoma Aikikai offers classes to youth age 7 and up. Classes provide a healthy dose of physical activity, with movement that cultivates physical fitness and cooperation. Physical contact with the mat, the teacher, and other youth helps students feel comfortable in their bodies and their environment, increasing confidence and spatial awareness. Stripe and belt testing give benchmarks for achievement and foster a focus and self-discipline for youth. Junior and teen mentorship programs develop leadership skills.

More about Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art developed in the 20th century by Morihei Ueshiba, commonly known by his students as O-Sensei. Literally translated as the art of peace, aikido focuses on harmonizing with the energy of an opponent. We use large circular movements to blend with an attack. On the mat, we use effective, but defensive, joint locks and throws to neutralize and control without hurting our partner. Training includes lots of rolling and falling so that we can safely receive techniques.

Aikido is peaceful

Aikido is unique in being a “non-violent” martial art. There is no competition – we train to improve ourselves. We learn to take care of our partners with controlled techniques. By diffusing conflict on the mat, we learn how to diffuse conflict off the mat.

Benefits of Aikido

The benefits of aikido training are profound are far-reaching. Youth can observe changes in focus, confidence, and self-control almost immediately. Here are few things you may notice after beginning to train

Concentration – aikido, like other martial arts, is proven to boost focus and concentration.

Fitness and coordination – aikido offers vigorous physical exercise to improve health and well-being. Aikido movements also promote coordination and skills that translate into other sports and activities.

Cooperation – aikido is non-competitive. Techniques do not rely on strength or speed. Students learn to train with everyone in a cooperative manner.

Community and Leadership – Tacoma Aikikai fosters a mutually supportive community of lasting friendships. As students progress, they are expected to help others.

Self-control – aikido training relies on remaining calm and in the moment. Techniques are executed with care for ourselves and our partner. Safe and focused training teaches self-control.

Expectations for Practice

Practice responsibly

Training is a personal choice based on respect and responsibility. Students are expected to take care of each other, themselves, the dojo, and the instructors to create a safe and respectful training environment.

Practice sincerely

Your potential is limitless. In aikido, you’ll learn how to fall safely, move with confidence, increase awareness, and develop martial arts skills. Train with a 100% effort to reach your potential and help your classmates reach theirs.

Be yourself

Every person is unique, and every person develops a unique way of doing aikido. Be who you are without judging others. Most importantly, enjoy your practice.

Program Structure

Our youth program is structured to give every student age-specific opportunities to learn and progress. A tiered approach by age also provides a continuity of training as youth grow into teen and adult practitioners.

Youth program classes are split by age, with one weekly Saturday class for all ages. Students progress with age from classes focused on games and basic movements, to drills and advanced falling, to execution and development of techniques. Youth between age brackets can pick the program that best fits their schedule and needs. Youth may attend any class offered for the age group program in which they are enrolled.

New members can take advantage of the New Student Special special, which includes one month of training and a uniform.


Youth Program Monthly Fees Sliding Scale 
Teen Aikido Monthly Membership (14+ years old) $80 $60
Teen New Student Special (one month + uniform)                   $100 $80
Youth Aikido Monthly Membership (7-14 years old) $80 $60
Youth New Student Special (one month + uniform) $100 $80

Family 2 members – 10%
Family 3 members – 20%
Family 4+ members – 30%

Automatic EFT (electronic check) payment discount – 5%

*Membership fees are prorated for students joining in the middle of the month

*Payments can be made in person or online via the Zen Planner student portal. After registration, you will receive an email with access the online system. Family and automatic payment discounts are applied by the school after initial registration.

Learning Objectives and Age GroupsYouth Aikido at Tacoma Aikikai

Kids (ages 7-11)

Kids programs focus on getting comfortable with physical contact and hitting the mat. A heavy emphasis is placed on exercise, movement, and losing/taking balance. Fun games and drills are used to introduce and train basic aikido footwork, ukemi (falling/rolling), and techniques. Partner practice builds concentration and coordination as youth execute techniques from start to finish.

Class Schedule

·         Tuesdays 430-520 pm
·         Thursdays 430-520 pm
·         Saturdays 1030 am

Learning objectives:

·         Consideration for others
·         Cooperation (training with everyone)
·         Good effort and attention
·         Developing self-control and confidence
·         Activity and exercise
·         Focus and concentration
·         Basic tumbling and safe falling
·         Start to finish execution of techniques
·         Hand and foot coordination
·         Japanese culture and phrases


·         Yellow (30 hours)
·         Orange (+40 hours)
·         Green (+50 hours)
·         Green Stripe (+50 hours)
·         Blue (+50 hours)
·         Blue Stripe (+60 hours)
·         Purple (+60 hours)

Juniors and Teens (age 11+)

The junior and teen Teen aikido with Did Hatton Sensei programs bridge the youth and adults programs, having elements of both. Drills, partner practices, and conditioning elevate technical competence and precision of executing and receiving techniques. Self-defense is emphasized through techniques, as well as through concepts of self-development and self-improvement. Randori (multiple attackers) and jiu-waza (free-form techniques) provide students with the opportunity respond naturally and freely in higher pressure situations. Weapons work and weapons disarming techniques are gradually introduced to more advanced students.

Juniors are encouraged to focus on age-specific classes, but may attend some adults classes with instructor permission. Teens are welcomed in any adult or youth class.

At the level of green belt, juniors and teens can also apply to become junior instructors in the kids and youth programs, earning hours to work towards their rank promotion. Dedication, integrity, and leadership are some of the expectations of junior instructors.

Juniors (age 11-13)

Teens (age 13+)

Eligible classes*

·         Adult Classes with permission
·         Mondays 430-520 pm
·         Wednesdays 430-520 pm
·         Fridays 430-520 pm
·         Saturdays 1030 am

Eligible classes*

·         All Adult Classes
·         All Kids Classes
·         Mondays 430-520 pm
·         Wednesdays 430-520 pm
·         Fridays 430-520 pm
·         Saturdays 1030 am

Learning objectives:

·         Integrity and character
·         Exhibiting leadership
·         Dynamic throwing and falling
·         Responsiveness to multiple attacks
·         Spatial awareness
·         Technical development
·         Pushing physical endurance
·         Taking care of dojo

Learning objectives:

·         Maturity and independence
·         Exhibiting leadership
·         Developing teaching skills
·         Advanced falling and rolling
·         Technical development
·         Jui-waza and free practice
·         Pushing physical endurance
·         Taking care of students and sensei

·         Red (40 hours)
·         Green (+50 hours)
·         Green Stripe (+60 hours)
·         Blue (+60 hours)
·         Blue Stripe (+60 hours)
·         Purple (+70 hours) – 5th kyu
·         Purple Stripe (+70 hours) – 4th kyu
·         Brown (+100 hrs) – 3rd kyu
·         Brown stripe (+100 hours) – 2nd kyu
·         Junior Black Belt (+150 hours) – 1st kyu