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Kimberly Richardson, chief instructor of Two Cranes Aikido, and professional photographer Adam Crowley created Gus Learns to Fly for kids to see what they practice on the Aikido mat in words and images. Richardson also wanted kids' parents to understand the motivation behind both the peace studies and technical methods of this martial art. What began as a training manual morphed into a tale about a seven-year-old boy who uses his Aikido to overcome a bully who is taunting him at school and on the walk home.

What is Aikido? Aikido offers fun and dynamic training for children and teens. At Two Cranes Aikido, black belt instructors are passionate about working with kids from four to eighteen years old. We share ways for kids to feel strong and safe, embody self-defense methods, and develop grace, agility, and coordination. Children learn to safely roll when they lose their balance, spin to avoid a threatening punch, and embody the skills to resolve conflict non-violently. Dojos are places of inspirational learning that encourage the development of calm minds, alert bodies and enlivened spirits.
Purchase the book from the authors $18 
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As children and teens' physical and intuitive skills deepen, we encourage them to study the more serious side of marital arts. At this stage they start to realize that self-defense is the art of sensing the state of things energetically before they materialize. Learning to diffuse aggression and conflict not just physically, but also verbally and emotionally, is an invaluable skill that becomes like a second skin. Students of the "Art of Peace" embrace challenges and assert themselves in ways they may have previously thought impossible: kicking the winning goal in a soccer match, managing internal discomfort and frustration, or handling a bully's attack in a calm and centered manner.
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Other benefits that Aikido offers children and teens:
  • The art of cooperation.
  • The value of integrity and self-respect.
  • How to live in their bodies - children learn how to pay attention to their emotional and intuitive worlds and listen to their hunches.
  • The power of daily practice - children learn how to persevere when they feel like quitting, and understand that if they choose to stick with it, they will advance to a whole new level.
  • How to work with anxiety and aggression in self and others.
  • The joy of play.