About a year ago, we started going to a special needs karate class.
It was rough going in the beginning, no doubt about it. Okay, it still is at times. BUT – we have stuck with it. With the exception of two months off for summer, a break during December, and a couple other sick days – we have diligently made it to the 10:00 AM Saturday class. There are still a few students like B still around and we have had some new ones. There are others float in and out, but luckily the class size has remained relatively small.
Sensei K and Sanpei V have been phenomenal with the kids. They have taken the challenge of working with special needs kids and ran with it. Over the past year, we have worked together on stringing together basic movements. They have been patient yet firm with the “sillies”.
Week by week, they work on skills, agility, and basic moves. As time passes, they have the kids build on prior knowledge to learn new skills. It’s been slow but the progress is noticeable. Sensei and Sanpei also create obstacle courses to make it fun.
We still are not at the point where we can drop off the kids or even sit back with a book while they work the movements. However, at most classes I can observe more than participate. I still have to step in from time to time to have B refocus. There are times when he needs to take a break. He also likes to ask Sensei and Sanpei lots of questions and try to suggest what to do next.
Now, the kids have learned basic strikes, punches and kicks. They have even learned a kata. I didn’t know what a kata was until I googled it.
I still don’t see any belts in our future but we’ll keep at it. He seems to still enjoy it, and the activity does help his sensory needs. And, of course, the teachers adore him. What a shocker.