My son is in an Aikido class here in Japan.  He started taking it when he was an energetic, can`t-sit-still-for-two-minutes four year old.  I think it is a great class, and the teachers are wonderful.

I admit to being to curious how these sorts of classes are run in the U.S.  I know Karate and so forth is huge there.  Would a martial art class be the same sort of experience in the U.S?

I got my chance to find out.  My son sat in on a Tae Kwan Do class.  (Aikido is a Japanese martial art, but Tae Kwan Do hails from Korea.) So here are my impressions:

Twae Kwon Do is VERY different than Aikido!  Aikido is self-defense, so you don’t harm your opponent.  However, Tae Kwon Do (despite also being self-defense) was all about hurting the other guy, and in the worst way possible!  Fingers in the eyes?  Yes!

The teachers of the class in America seemed great.  One was female, and Chinese American.  The other was a young male, and Hispanic.  They were just both really nice.

It was similar in style to Aikido, but as I expected a little more casual.  The Aikido class is all about seiza  (sitting properly) and bowing properly and on and on.  The American class was just…more American.  That is not bad, just a little different.  It was not a big difference, though.

They have striped belts, kind of like “half” belts.  My son’s aikido class does not have these striped belts.  (One thing I did not realize is that these colored belts are a kid thing.  Here in Japan, if an adult takes a martial arts class, they are either white or black.  No in between.)


That is my son on the left, the only one not in a uniform.

I’d like to thank my cousin’s wife and her two sons for allowing me the opportunity to sit in on their class.