Children's Program


In the children's program, we teach the art of self-defense with smiles and safety. Our commitment is to create an environment in which your child can grow physically, intellectually, and emotionally. The atmosphere is disciplined and fun. The excitement of discovery is part of everyday practice.


Aikido develops:

  • Discipline and concentration

  • Coordination

  • Self-defense

  • A calm, stress reducing effect through breathing and meditation techniques

  • Increased confidence and a positive "can do" attitude

  • Heightened sense of spatial awareness

  • Sense of community

  • Leadership qualities

And, it's a great workout!


Minimum Age: 5 years old











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Tom Worsnopp

2nd Dan, Director of Children's Program


Tom has been practicing aikido since 2004, and teaching to children since 2010. He believes practicing aikido is fun and hard work and a great way to learn what our bodies are capable of. Tom tries to bring these aspects into his teaching, and wants young students to enjoy themselves while working hard and learning something new.


Tom was born and raised in NYC, lived in Chicago for a decade, and now resides on Long Island where he works as an engineer for an automation company. He has been training with Lehrman Shihan at Aikido of Park Slope since 2010.

Brian Curtis

4th Dan


After graduating with a degree in English from the City College of NY, Brian worked as a teacher, actor, and handyman before settling in a career with the NYS Department of Labor. He is married with two grown children and currently lives in Sunset Park.

Brian began practicing Aikido in 1987 at NY Aikikai under the instruction of Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan. After a year or so he learned that Aikido of Park Slope was just down the block from his home. He then began practicing in Brooklyn and has been a pupil of Hal Lehrman Shihan ever since.

He has been practicing Aikido for 25 years and teaching for about 15. Children can benefit from all aspects of Aikido practice. It helps to develop a student’s balance, flexibility, strength and coordination, but it also promotes awareness, the ability to calmly focus, and respect for others.

Paul Alexander

3rd Dan


Paul has led children's aikido classes for over two years. His teaching approach is best summarized in a poem by Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Waldorf Schools: 


Receive the children with reverence. 

Educate them in love. 

Send them forth in freedom.

Keith Miller

2nd Dan


Keith is a Middle School English Language Arts Teacher and undercover attorney. When he’s not being abused by his students; giving away free legal advice; and/or helping sweet old ladies crossing the street, he can be found taking story notes or... reading. He’s been known to read a comic or two. He’s an independent comic book writer and burgeoning writer. He’s currently writing his first novel to be published by Rosarium Publishing.

Natalia Safronenkova

2nd Dan


Natalia began practicing aikido in Russia in 1998 and traveled throughout Europe studying under many aikido masters. In 2009, she moved to the US and started her practice at New York Aikikai under the instruction of Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan. She has been a substitute teacher for the children’s program in NYA for the past 2 years. And she believes that children are naturally more centered and relaxed, making it easier for them to perceive the aikido concept at an early age


Natalia worked as an assistant psychologist and as a director of a children entertainment center for
7 years. Now, she studies marketing
at the Zicklin business school and teaches Russian language to children aged 2-14.