Never did I think that I would be taking karate in my 60s! As many of you know, my grandson has mild autism (used to be called Asbergers). His mother thought that taking karate would be good for him, not only to protect himself but also following directions, participating and standing in a line. So far he can participate for half an hour.
My grandson goes to the Kitchener Kicks Dragon Heart program. Recommended by Kidsability
, it is a karate program for those with disabilities. All of the participants have autism or are mentally disabled.
Our Sigung (Sensei) is a blind black belt, right out of a Japanese historical action film. He is firm but dedicated to the students who are only asked to do to their ability. This week was very exciting because we practiced with staves. I never thought I had aggression in me, though I still can’t fight my way out of a paper bag.
At the leveling up ceremony many had taken a year to move up to a yellow belt (the one above the basic white), but the pride filled the room. One little boy who started last September could not walk. He does his moves with the help of his mother. At the levelling up ceremony, he walked up to receive his new black and white belt (a half level above white). We all clapped, only a few dry eyes.
I started out as an assistant for Robbie. I also signed up to pay each week. When my grandson finishes his half hour (He is going longer over time), I continue to work on my moves. At the levelling up ceremony, I was shocked. I got a certificate and a black and white belt. Sigung said I was working hard. I fist bumped several times with one of the other students.
Recently, one of the HopeSpring fundraisers was telling me about his 17 year old grandson who has autism. He just won national gold for karate and is attending the PanAm games. I don’t think this is Paralympics. The woman who looks after the registration desk at Kitchener Kicks told Robbie and me that her son has been a twice World Karate champion and has gone to Ireland and Austria. He has autism. She told us that 4 months after he started, the boy’s school teacher asked why her son was suddenly listening and following directions. The only thing they could think of was karate. We hope that will happen to my grandson. He was also excited about the staves on Saturday. Maybe at the next test in December, I will go up another level and Robbie will too!