When I think of karate, I think of “sweep the leg,” the infamous line spoken by the Cobra Kai sensei from The Karate Kid. Others think of Bruce Lee movies. Most of us can see ourselves roundhouse kicking a mugger in the chin and saving the day. For most, learning karate or any other martial art is achievable. But to others, it seems like a pipe dream.
One World Karate Transforms Lives
Imagine being in a wheelchair with your muscles permanently in knots, or the frustration of being incapable of understanding the world around you.
Imagine being beset with these challenges and wanting to learn karate. How disheartening to not only you, but to those who love you.
People with special needs and their families are an overlooked and marginalized minority in our society. Sure, they are afforded handicapped parking spots and wheelchair ramps, but what are we doing to help them feel like members of our society? Dan Carroll teaches them karate.
Dan, a 33 year martial arts veteran, holds a 4th Degree black belt in Bando, and is certified to teach Taekwondo, Jujitsu and Tai Chi. Inspired by two special needs siblings, he opened One World Karate in May 2012. It’s a school designed to teach martial arts to those with special needs.
I asked him why he chose to dedicate his life to this purpose. He put it like this: “Karate by its very nature works on the neurological shortcomings that many special needs people face. It takes very small tweaks of any martial arts to be essentially what children need for their development.”
He believes that since it helped him as a child with ADHD, marital arts can help others with developmental disabilities. Behavioral, occupational and physical therapists have discovered that martial arts can be used as a multifaceted approach to therapy and development. The discipline also gives the kids something to look forward to – a goal to reach each week. It helps them continue moving forward in life, despite their daily challenges and frustrations.
One World Karate’s curriculum is designed to improve on students’ strengths and downplay their weaknesses. “For some of my students, learning a short form is akin to you and I lining up and sprinting for 200 yards,” says Dan. That put things into perspective for me. Sprinting is a chore for me, a distance runner with bad knees. A 200 yard sprint would be a feat.
Dan’s belief in the therapeutic properties of martial arts is so strong, he founded One World Martial Arts Federation. Currently, course curriculum and instructional videos are being developed for any school that wishes to teach karate to special needs students.
One World Karate is located at 9101 Burnet Rd., just north of 183 inside Little Tesoros Therapy Services. Classes take place on Monday, Friday and Saturday. Information regarding classes, private lessons and scheduling can be found on One World Karate’s website.
It’s good to know that someone in Austin has special needs people in mind. I’m grateful that someone like Dan is willing to take time to share his knowledge and continue teaching martial arts traditions, while helping others. Thank you for believing in the members of Austin’s special needs community, helping them grow, learn and achieve.
What do you think of One World Karate’s mission in the Austin community?