Saturday, June 6, 2009

Our Karate Kid

This is our new "Karate Kid" and the reason I am writing this post is that I just realized my decision to enroll my son in karate was right!!!

Here was the situation - my son was invited by a preschool classmate to a birthday party at a local karate school a couple of months ago. I have to admit that I was panic stricken and had many reasons why he should not be able to attend, the biggest one being that my son can get very aggressive especially if he is having fun. He has some sensory issues that make him crave physical input so I had visions of him running around the party, karate chopping everyone including the parents just like the bad guy in a Bruce Lee movie.

Despite my fears, he went to the party and I spent the whole time with my mouth open in total shock. Upon entering the school he was met by the "Sensei" who introduced himself (they had the same name) and then told him to put his shoes in the cubby and go in and sit against the wall and wait for his friends ---- he did it!!!! He listened, sat and PAID ATTENTION!!!!!

I confessed to the mother of the birthday girl my fears and she said - oh you shouldn't have, both Sensei's are teacher and one being a special education teacher, well, needless to say we signed him up three days later.

Deep down in the back of my mind I thought that his school teachers and therapists would think that I was crazy since he is so hyper-active - why would I put him into an aggressive sport...

But here were the advantages that I came up with:

1. Improved Social Skills
2. Better coordination
3. Discipline
4. Something to look forward to twice a week
5. Self control
6. Self confidence
7. Better focus and attention
8. To learn to "slow himself down"
9. Better awareness of his body and how to regulate it
10. Ability to follow sequences

My first form of justification is that he pays attention there for 45 minutes and about 5 in school!

The second was this article that I found while surfing the net:
Many parents discover the potential of therapy using martial arts by accident - for example, taking their child to a sibling's class or seeing a free demonstration at a mall. The methods of teaching in many martial arts like karate include very set and clear moves, learned by imitation, and a clear hierarchy and unambiguous mode of behavior in the class. Experts such as Dr. Anne Milanese of the Connecticut Children's Medical Center cautions that even these apparent advantages don't work for everyone with autism. "...we need to make sure the activity is desirable and fun for the child," she told a Connecticut news station in an interview. She noted that some children will not thrive in "imitative" environments, and will resort to behaviors designed to avoid the activity if they are forced or even encouraged into something they don't like.

And last but not least the organization Autism Speaks, lists martial arts as a form of alternative therapy!!!!!


Felicia said...

Those are definitely some great benefits of karate!!

To answer your question about the extra bucks.. head over to and check out Melissa's link to the explanation of the ECBs.

Have a great weekend!

Michie said...

That's awesome that you found something that he loves to do, can succeed at, and that has additional benefits for him. And what a cute little karate boy he is. :)