Beyond Karate Inclusive Martial Arts School Dallas Texas
Therapeutic Benefits of Karate
Prepared by Jerry Young, Physical Therapist
and 5th. Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Karate-do.
  Speaking as a Physical
Therapist, our goals for
individuals with
intellectual and
differences often focus
on improving postural
control, improving
balance, improving
motor control, improving
attention, decreasing
impulsivity, and
increasing processing
and organizational skills.  
Often individuals with
intellectual and
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
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
  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
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

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
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

Karate will also help
with improving the
ability for multi-step

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.
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