Karate and Special Needs
Karate for children with special needs is different in some aspects. With consideration of students with various conditions, sensei need to understand each student as each student faces different challenges when practicing karate. In many cases, these students may have poor motor skills and therefore are not coordinated. Cognitively, it may take these students longer to grasp concepts. Sensei need to be understanding of this and be patient. However, these students by no means come to the dojo to play around. Most are genuinely interested in learning karate. They are capable of learning karate; it may simply take them longer to learn than others. Just like their peers, they can learn kata, too. And, with encouragement from their peers and sensei, they will do even better.
In fact, some moves, such as rolling on the tatami or jumping are performed better by special needs children than others. We teach karate for special needs children as a martial art, a competitive sport, and as a tool for self-defense. More importantly, karate can give them confidence—an invaluable trait students need for life. Like all students,
Karate may also be practiced by some people in wheelchairs. In fact, these students acquire very strong arms because they have to move in the wheelchair in different directions. Techniques of self-defense may also be developed using fists and elbows. They can move their bodies and use their hands to defend an attack on their faces. They can even immobilize an opponent, defending themselves from being gripped.
“My son is a reflection of what is practiced and taught in karate, respect for others goes together with the teachings of karate. My son is aware of his own strength and has self control when he is around his peers. The confidence that my son has is not wasted in his everyday living, the same confidence he wakes up with, is always with him through out the day. My son’s quality of life has improved by the connection he has made with his peers in the dojo.
If given the opportunity again, I would have enrolled my son at an earlier age into karate.The opportunities that we are given as parents to give our children a better life sometimes means to look and try things that you did not grow up with. God has given us all unique children. God has provided us with the wisdom to direct and challenge our children.”
Why Martial Arts Are Best for Special Needs ?
The traditional martial arts program is one of the best extracurricular activities a child can participate in. For children with special needs the benefits are many because of the inherit structure and discipline the arts bring to a child’s daily life. All children need structure, some more than others. Some might need to be reminded more often or a different approach might be necessary, but in the end it’s all the same.