Living Aikido has several programs to serve the youth of the Ojai Valley.

These programs are overseen by Sensei Pol Stafford, and managed by Youth Instructor, Chris Lyon.

Our youth program is focused on developing youth students into excellent human beings.

We teach self-organization, connection with group and interpersonal dynamics, physical fitness, coordination, and the importance of staying connected to joy.


Movement through the belt system of Aikido is based on hours of training and sincere participation.

Every 3 months, we gather all together to witness the students’ growth and the results of all their hard work and change. If students feel ready, have the requisite hours, and sensei has invited them, they will receive the next belt and begin working on their next quality.

Promotions are not a test. Since the focus of Aikido is self-development and self-care, students are invited to demonstrate how they have developed provided they have put in the time and effort. This helps children develop self-reliance and focus on internal goals and progress rather than arbitrary external goals. Children who study under these methodologies are highly sought-after by colleges and jobs as they tend to perform best and be the easiest to work with!

Program Details

Our Youth Program is for ages 7-14, and features a progression through 8 colored belts, each featuring a positive quality to cultivate, as well as martial techniques to keep the child safe.

Belt Promotion Guides

8th Kyu White [Beginning]

7th Kyu Yellow [Joyful]

6th Kyu Orange [Skillful]

5th Kyu Green [Extending]

4th Kyu Purple [Sensitive]

3rd Kyu Red [Strong]

2nd Kyu Blue [Receiving]

1st Kyu Brown [Fierce]

Shodan Junior [Beginning/Mastery]


Any sincere persons under 14 are welcome to try a youth class for free, with their parent’s presence.

Visiting Aikidoka are asked to pay a $20 mat fee to support the dojo.


There is no way to pay for instruction in a deep art. There is no amount of money worth the opening of the heart, the being held in the process of self-purification.

In order to support the beautiful space we have created and support all of our training, Living Aikido asks a standard membership fee of $100 per month. The dojo is open to trades and service in lieu of tuition.

Members of the dojo may attend any class offered by the dojo for which they are qualified. Visiting teachers’ seminars and certain special classes will require a special fee.