Full Circle Martial Arts Academy
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Martial Arts as a Therapy Tool
Karate classes represent only one piece of a growing effort to use athletic activities as therapy for people with cerebral palsy, arthritis, crippling injuries, amputations, autism, learning disabilities and a plethora of other physical and mental challenges and disabilities. After decades of treating their patients as doomed to live in wheelchairs or be unproductive members of society, physicians and therapists are starting to realize that athletic pursuits might represent a way to reconnect patients to their bodies.

Athletic programs such as Martial Arts can not only increase strength, balance, coordination and cognitive skills, but also provide a means to improve and even control problems with attention, focus and discipline. Regardless of the challenge, or degree thereof, a good adaptive Martial Arts program combined with and Instructor experienced in working with these disabilities can always provide a positive benefit to the student and make notable improvement in a variety of way

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FCMA is experience in helping students with a variety of special needs:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Amputees
  • Crippling Arthritis
  • Sever Injuries
  • ADD & ADHD
  • Aspergers
  • Autism
  • Anger/Discipline Issues
  • Many more

For example, in the case of cerebral palsy, we have experience several student that have not only made dramatic improvement in strength, range of motion and balance, but have also seen them change in terms of confidence and self-esteem. “For their entire lives, these students have been challenged with things that we take for granted every day” says Full Circle head instructor, Master Tom Pierce. “Things like tying your shoes, opening doors while carrying your school books or climbing out of the swimming pool with one strong arm are all challenges that they overcome on a daily basis. So the last thing you want to do to these kids is tell them they can’t do this Martial Arts thing… they will prove you wrong!”

The cerebral palsy patient often has some of the strongest drive you will ever find in your life. They are motivated, persistent and want to do things for themselves. “My experience is that these students are cut from a different cloth. All they want is a chance to participate like everyone else. They don’t want any special treatment and never complain” says Master Pierce. “They just need someone to take the time to work with them, challenge them and yes, sometimes even discipline them.”

That all being said, the staff at FCMA has recognized that while a patient with special needs may not “want” any special treatment and need to be held to many of the same standards as the rest of the class (rules, dojo etiquette, class curriculum, etc), they definitely will benefit much more quickly when the instructor tailors, or adapts the curriculum to focus on their specific strengths and weaknesses.

For example, with an amputee, a kata (choreographed Martial Arts form) might be modified to allow for the absence of a limb by changing an attack combination to fit the student. However, a student with ADHD, ADD or Aspergers Syndrome may require more attention to defining details, maintaining repetitive & consistent structure, or require additional help in handling social interactivity with the other class members.

Regardless of you or your child’s challenge or disability, the staff at FCMA is prepared to welcome you into our family and help you to obtain the therapy and training you need to help you come “Full Circle” to a better quality of life.


 

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