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Aikido classes for kids Park Slope, Brooklyn Children's martial arts
Children's Martial Arts 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: 6 years old

Download the Children's Program Brochure 




Brian Curtis 4th Dan Children's Program Martial Arts Classes Aikdio of Park Slope Brooklyn, NY

Brian Curtis

4th Dan


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 35+years and teaching for about 20 years. 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.

Keith Miller 2nd Dan Children's Program Martial Arts Classes Aikdio of Park Slope Brooklyn, NY

Keith Miller

3rd Dan


Keith is a high school teacher. When he’s not being abused by his students; he has been training aikido for the last eighteen years and teaching the children’s program for the last ten years.


While he has trained in other forms of martial arts, he believes Aikido provides the best possible training dynamics for children: challenging physical exercise, mindful meditation and a respect for self and others in a practice of nonviolence.

Natalia Safronenkova 2nd Dan Children's Program Martial Arts Classes Aikdio of Park Slope Brooklyn, NY
Instructor for Children's Program Martial Arts Classes Aikdio of Park Slope Brooklyn, NY

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 teacher for the Children’s program in PSA since 2015.


Natalia believes that children are naturally more centered and relaxed, making it easier for them to perceive the aikido concept at an early age.


Sergii Sarychev

2nd Dan


Sergii has been engaged in martial arts since childhood and has studied kickboxing, Xingyi-quan, and Karate. He settled on harmonious art of Aikido. 

Since 2008, he has been a coach of children's groups, head of the "Aikido Planet' children's club, and organizer children's aikido festivals and camps in Ukraine. 

In 2018 Sergii moved to USA and started training with Yamada Sensei and Hal Lehman Sensei. 

He has Ph.D. in Electrochemistry, his other interests are guitar and theater. 



  • 1. How many classes can my child attend during the week?
    Your child can attend any number of classes within the listed schedule. As we recover from the pandemic we will be offering more classes in the future.
  • 2. What should my child wear for Trial Class?
    Children can wear a white martial art uniform if they have one (aikido, judo, or karate for example). If not, they can wear loose-fitting clothes such as a t-shirt and sweatpants.
  • 3. How long is the children’s class?
    Each class is 1 hour long, with a few short water breaks depending on the weather.
  • 4. Where can I buy an aikido uniform?
    You can purchase any aikido or white karate gi of appropriate size (which means wrists and ankles shouldn't be covered by the uniform for safety reasons, nor it should be too short or tight that it restricts movement). Please choose pants with elastic band (no drawstring) since it is much easier for younger kids to manage. For reference, we suggest Namazu Uniforms (we are not affiliated with this seller).
  • 5. Why are kids of different ages mixed in one class?
    We do not divide children by age for several reasons. First, in aikido the realistic experience of working with different size and abilities partners is very important. Second, older kids get leadership and teaching experience while helping younger or more beginner students. Third, kids have richer opportunities for socializing and making friends outside of their own age group. We practice empathy and respect for all students and teachers and bow to each other as a sign of being grateful for the opportunity to learn and practice together. Sometimes, during the class we divide class by ranks and very often require older students to work with younger students that benefits both. We are very serious about class discipline and safe practice protocols.
  • 6. How do I know if aikido is a suitable martial art for my child?
    Aikido is a non-aggressive, non-competitive traditional Japanese martial art. We support non-violent conflict resolution on all levels, from emotional to physical, and a natural development of a young martial artist without the unnecessary stress of competing.
  • 7. What are the benefits of practicing aikido for younger kids and teens?
    Aikido class is a full-body workout, develops flexibility, balance, coordination, and strength. Children and teens can also develop confidence, discipline, learn to control first impulses and flight-fight response, develop awareness, timing and distance. Aikido is a complex advanced martial art. Your child may expect to learn a great variety of aikido moves from standing, sitting, and standing-sitting positions. In addition, since aikido movements are derived from weapons techniques, we introduce exercises with bokken and jo (wooden sword and staff) . On a more advanced level kids practice defense from multiple attackers. Calming breathing techniques and regular meditation help to self-regulate emotions and mind, and teach to handle stress. An additional benefit of aikido - ukemi practice (the art of falling). This teaches safe, non-traumatic falling and rolling and can prevent accidental traumas and injuries in everyday life.
  • 8. How quickly can my child progress through the ranks and how long will he/she have the opportunity to practice in Aikido of Park Slope dojo?
    It usually takes 5-6 years to progress through all children's level ranks - Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple and Brown. Testing requirements are tied with attendance, you may find all the testing requirements here (button and link). After that students are on their path to test for adult levels 5th Kyu through 1Kyu and, ultimately, Black Belt. When your child will progress to adult level tests but no younger than 12 he/she may choose to join adult classes or stay within the ChIldren’s program until 17. Aikido is an art your child may start practicing at 6 years old and continue practicing through life, staying healthy and fit. There are members of the dojo who still actively practice in their seventies and eighties.
  • 9. What will happen to my child's practice if we move?
    If your family moves to another city/country you can fully expect to find USAF affiliated dojo anywhere to continue practicing the art. While traveling you and your family can come to any dojo for practice, which is a great way to find new friends. Worldwide and in the USA there are a lot of seminars, camps and workshops held for adult practitioners and even kids. In the past, (pre-pandemic), APS has participated in combined children’s seminars with Aikido Schools of New Jersey.
  • 10. How does aikido work in training for self-defense?
    Aikido as a martial art is unique in that it is not about winning and losing. While this seems paradoxical, it is an import point in Aikido. It is specifically about dealing with and resolving conflict. Winning and losing is the root of conflict. Aikido addresses the reality of violence in life because it is not competitive. Thus, by nurturing awareness and compassion and a feeling of centeredness, one learns to handle conflict. This makes it the ideal form of true self defense! Aikido will give your child the tools to deal with the threat or reality of violence in the safest, most appropriate way. The rigorousness of training will gradually teach the Aikido Student to be confident and capable at ever increasing levels. Aikido is truly Martial in the traditional Japanese meaning of Budo...designed for real use, not sport. The ultimate goal of aikido is to defend yourself and those who need defending, while avoiding injuring the attacker whenever that is possible. “To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.” - Morihei Ueshiba, the Founder of Aikido
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