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Why Martial Arts are Good for the Special Needs Children?

by , 14th Jan 2015

Martial arts are great for the children with special needs because they are just an “art.” It includes self-expression and a competition against themselves rather than others

A parent’s first instinct about activities that include kicking, punching, breaking things and yelling is probably that they aren’t really the best things for their child.

Martial arts are different systems and practices, many of which originated in Asia, including boxing, karate, taekwondo, muay thai and capoeira. And while kicking, punching, breaking things and yelling are a part of many of the practices, the skills learned are a great therapy for children with attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism.


Martial arts are great for the children with special needs because they are just an “art.” It includes self-expression and a competition against themselves rather than others. Other benefits include:

  • Consistency – Classes are typically scheduled once a week at the same time and moves within the practices include a lot of repetition.
  • Discipline – Martial arts promote respect in the practices and self respect (keeping uniforms crisp and clean is one of them).
  • Concentration – Remembering each move requires complete focus.
  • Coordination – Like many sports, martial arts help children excel physically.
  • 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 may not be trophies like in some sports, but there is personal gratification in succeeding in certain levels of martial arts and graduating to the next level. In some of them, 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.


The experts are seeing the benefits from the first hand. David Rosenberg, the owner of Kicking the Spectrum, a martial arts program for kids with special needs, told NY1:

These days, individuals are turning towards martial arts for the benefits of the mind and the body. So for the mind, it’s working on focus and attention, and the body, it’s working on motor skills, fine and gross, as well as core muscles.

Rosenberg’s classes help children stimulate focus and physical activity while generating a social connection and sense of belonging. They also gain a huge sense of achievement.

When they can figure out how to punch or kick, or even something simple, like ducking and jumping, the level of achievement and happiness that they get is just amazing, Rosenberg said.


As a child, I did one of the martial arts (taekwondo) and comparing it to other activities I did while growing up, gymnastics and volleyball, it allowed me to improve my focus, memory and internal strength. Looking back, I can definitely see how this would greatly benefit children of special needs.

Parents of  children with special needs often have to explore different ways to help their children. At first glance, parents may not think the martial arts are a good option, but it’s important to be open-minded. Some of the most unique activities can help the most!


Leave a Reply
  •' Manuel Cardona says:

    I like the blog on the martial arts a lot. Both my sons practice karate and it has been great for their personal growth. My oldest son has taken what he has learned (discipline, courage, perseverancia, etc) on his daily activities. The younger is learning that he needs to focus on every aspect of his life to keep improving.

  •' ricardokroc says:

    Martial art is required for all age’s people but I think it is mostly required for child because it teaches them self-defense as well as bring changes like logical, social, emotional and behavioral.

  • […] of doing it. A study surveyed thirty autistic kids found that kids that did martial arts showed “significant improvements” of areas they typically struggle with ranging from “social communication” to decrease […]

  •' Shobukan Martialarts says:

    If you want to make your child stronger mentally and physically then martial art is the best option for this. It also helps in building up confidence and immunity in children. Both of my kids are in shobukan martial arts academy learning karate for better future opportunities.

  •' Krav Maga Maleh Canada says:

    Martial Arts program will help children to increase their strength in both physically and mentally. They can learn self-defense. And also it helps to set the bone.

  •' Krav Maga Maleh Canada says:

    It helps the children to make strong in physically & mentally. It also helps to set the bone.

  •' Robert, Taekwondo says:

    There are many reasons why people consider practicing taekwondo. It is an art that is never static as we will adapt to update and improve our teaching methods and techniques. It puts a heavier emphasis on kicks and uses hands as backup. Taekwondo is really a great sport to learn.

  •' Aaditya soni says:

    Martial arts are great for the children with special needs because they are just an “art.” It includes self-expression and a competition against themselves rather than others. Other benefits include:
    Confidence, Balance,Discipline Concentration, Fun exercises, Coordination, Consistency and much more..

  •' Joe Monzon says:

    Fantastic Post! You shared a great piece of content. A very informative post. Thank you for sharing with us. It would really be helpful for everyone. I have also read a fabulous post related to this blog and would like to share-

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