Discover how Karate enriches the lives of students
Physical & Behavioral Benefits of Karate
Physical Therapist & 5th Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Karate
Speaking as a Physical Therapist, our goals for individuals with intellectual and developmental differences often focus on: improving postural control, improving balance, improving motor control, improving attention, decreasing impulsivity, & increasing processing & organizational skills.
Often individuals with intellectual and developmental differences are seen only once a week by a Physical Therapist, and I strongly believe that the addition of a karate class can greatly assist with reaching goals in the above areas. A karate class is often a place where individuals with intellectual and developmental differences can excel due to its consistency.
The general practice and especially practice of kata creates familiarity due to its repetition. If done correctly, the students also have fun.
This creates an atmosphere where they can feel comfortable with reduced anxiety and do well.
Another issue for individuals with intellectual and
developmental differences is hypotonia. Simply put, it is muscle weakness affecting how they use their muscles for joint stability, posture, coordination, and balance.
Balance and coordination is a large topic that karate works well on with its many stances and movements, and its work on trunk or core strength is a huge benefit we may not initially think of.
Strengthening these muscles is of key importance and is done directly through punching, kicking, stances, standing on one leg, and katas but also through exercises done in class. Exercises to work these important muscles are abdominal exercises, planks, and if you have an exercise ball you can do Superman stretches.
Karate will also help with improving the ability for multi-step tasks. Often a child may have difficulty with keeping focus and attention and being able to do more than two or three steps in an activity.
Karate provides a good environment and wonderful tool with kata training to improve this. As mentioned earlier it is a good environment and with the series of movements found in kata they can progress to 20+ steps.
Kata and general practice in Karate is also helpful in improving gross motor control
(big general movements) leading to fine motor control (more sophisticated coordination).
This is how we all generally learn in Karate. Initially our movements and our katas have the basic movements but with time and repetition we continue to fine tune and work on the smaller movements.
The big picture I would like to emphasize is all the issues mentioned above sets these kids up for improved function as they grow and as adults. Improving these deficits will help them perform and engage in school and the community at large.
Always remember it is not just punching and kicking but having an environment that allows achievement and improving self confidence.
Awesome things are happening at Beyond Karate
Let's hear from parents about their child's experience
Learn how Nate's focus improved since he joined Beyond Karate
Hear about Ruth's experience
at the Inclusive Martial Arts Tournament
"Our child, who lives on the autism spectrum, had asked for a few years to go to karate. We resisted, because we didn't know if we could find a center suitable for his unique needs.
Well, we found everything and more through Beyond Karate. Witek is an architect when it comes to teaching and encouraging. His patience amazes us, and our child is thriving through hard work, at his own pace. Our child has benefited socially, emotionally, and physically.
Thank you, Witek, and Beyond Karate!"
Additional parent testimonies
"It was never in my mind or plan to sign my special needs son in any karate class.
By God's grace, I happened to know of this karate class when I was checking out the gym. This class has been my son's favorite activity and it is because the karate instructor, Mr. Witek is awesome with all children even those with special needs.
I'm so glad that we found this Beyond Karate and would highly recommend it to all."
Kathi Jaime Dover
"Beyond Karate is a Karate class designed for all children, both special needs and neurotypical. Witek is the knowledgeable black-belt instructor who leads the classes.
His incredible patience and compassion allow him to work effectively with children of
all skills the classes less structured than a typical Karate studio, which offers flexibility for students with learning differences while still building the skills and confidence to learn the different Katas and move up through the different levels/belt colors.
There is also an opportunity to compete twice a year, but this is not required. Both of my sons have enjoyed the Beyond Karate classes and I highly recommend trying a class!