Inclusive Martial Arts
Inclusive Martial Arts increases student achievement across all academic areas, as well as social and adaptive skills. Part of this is due to the multi-sensory nature of the movement arts: memory and cognition improve when academic content is combined with color-coding, movement, rhythm, sound phrases, textures and other sensory input all of this present in traditional Martial Arts.
While martial arts practice requires discipline and focus, the exercises are very fun to learn. There is personal gratification and a big sense of achievement in succeeding and graduating to the next belt level. Regular practice improves self control, promotes teamwork, improves balance, focus, memory and physical fitness.
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Inclusive Martial Arts Benefits:
Martial arts are great for the children with special needs because they are more than just an “art.” It includes self-expression and a competition against themselves rather than others.
Other benefits include:
- Consistency – Classes are typically scheduled once or twice a week at the same time and moves within the practices include a lot of repetition.
- Discipline – Martial arts promote respect to others in the practices and self respect (keeping uniforms crisp and clean is one of them). Being consistent in Practice and show self discipline.
- Concentration – Remembering each move requires complete focus.
- Coordination – Like many sports, martial arts help children excel physically and improve motor skills.
- Balance – This includes internal and external mind balance.
- Fun exercises – While martial arts are serious practices, the exercises are also fun to learn.
- Confidence – There is personal gratification in succeeding in certain levels of martial arts and graduating to the next level and getting a new belt color is given.
How has studying martial arts helped children with special needs?
In one study of 30 children with autism, children involved in either martial arts and/or Kinesiotherapy experienced significant improvements in language, social communication and cognition, as well as less hyperactivity, temper tantrums, longer attention spans, better sleeping patterns and more independence.