Maturity & Independence
Rock Water Aikikai’s senior teen class is a bridge between the programs for young people and the adult program, having elements of both. There are still activities taken directly from the young people’s programs, like drills and games. The noticeable difference however, between the senior teen class and the younger classes is the presence of adult-level training methods and adult-level technical expectations. Students are self-directed when it comes to grading preparation, taking full responsibility for their own review. Instructors are more than willing to answer questions and direct when needed but the obligation to review all the required techniques is the student’s. Some students in this class will have earned the level of junior black belt, having shown the necessary maturity and commitment. At this point, many students have trained more than one thousand hours, maybe even two thousand hours, and are approaching, if they have not exceeded, a decade of dedication to their dojo. Rock Water Aikikai does not award junior black belts lightly. Forging a character is a life-long process. As young adults, we place adult-like expectations on our senior teen class students. Respectful behavior is expected outside the dojo as well as inside.
All students in the senior teen class are welcome to join any or all adult classes. This has proven to be a very fruitful model as teens will take successful adult-level kyu tests (registered with the Canadian Aikido Federation, affiliated with World Aikido Headquarters in Japan, Hombu Dojo). Students set regular goals by the use of a colored belt ranking system along with a national adult-level kyu ranking system. The Rock Water Aikikai colored belt system uses yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, brown, advanced brown, junior black, intermediate black and advanced black while the national kyu system uses ranks of 6th kyu through 1st kyu. Each rank comes with an increasingly challenging set of requirements and an increased number of required classes.