Karate can be a positive sport for any child. However, martial arts programs designed for individuals with special needs can be successful for many reasons, such as:
- Karate helps create a strong core of muscles and is a challenging workout. Students learn better balance and coordination and have a better understanding of their body in space, which can help individuals who have difficulty with spatial boundaries and sensory inputs.
- A child entering a karate program begins class in the same manner each session. The student works on a particular form or pattern of moves within their belt ranking. The day-to-day classes are not identical, but the student knows the expectations each day for the class and what to work on to be successful. This can help reduce the anxiety in a child and provide enough predictability for the child to learn and grow.
- Children who have difficulty remembering steps and sequencing can succeed in martial arts because there is significant repetition in the classes. Not only does this repetitive pattern help children improve their memory and in sequencing, but Dr. Bruce Perry at ChildTrauma.org states that Pattern Repetitive Stimulation is the most beneficial activity to help the brain recover from trauma.
- Martial Arts training offers a distinctive experience. Students perform to the best of their ability without being compared to other students in the class. As a student progresses in belt ranking, they slowly progress from the role of a student to the role of a leader.
- Instructors work to help students develop and maintain self-control. For students with ADHD and other disabilities whose control is an issue, instructors help them learn better focus.
- One of the beliefs of martial arts training is the importance of respect. Instructors require abundant “Yes, sir’s” and “Yes, Ma’am’s”.
- It can be an outstanding tool for stress management and can encourage effective coping skills for children and adults.