April 15, 2016

    Can martial arts classes be beneficial to those with special needs? From what I’ve seen, yes, very much so in fact.

    A lot of people don’t know this but I work with a group of special needs students every Friday afternoon at 1pm. It’s a simple 40 minute class witch focuses on fitness, kickboxing, teamwork and of course dodgeball 🙂

    This was setup through a placed call The Arc. This class came to be when a young lady named Nikki contacted us here at Ivey League MMA about possibly starting a martial arts class for her students.

    To be specific, this class would be for students with special needs. Those needs varied from person to person.

    When she asked me about It I said absolutely we’d love to try something like this. I wanted to give it a shot but at the same time I’ll be totally honest, I didn’t know if it would work.

    I’d never worked with a large group of special needs students so this was going to be a first for me. However, I was up for the challenge.

    I also told her we’d do this class 100% for charity. No money was to be involved, we’d take care of the costs and whatnot.

    This was sort of our way of giving back to the community. And Nikki was delighted to hear about this because I’m pretty sure she only had limited funding to begin with.

    We planned everything out and moved forward with the class and that’s how it all started.

    I’m the kind of person who’s willing to give it the old college try and I’m sure glad I did . As of this writing we’re at the end of our second full season of classes with the Arc.

    From day one to present day, my time spent with the Arc

    Since the very first class, It’s been a huge success. The Arc students took to martial arts like a ducks to water. This made everyone happy because again, I really had no idea how this would all play out.

    And the truth is that although the students really enjoy the classes, I’m pretty sure they don’t know how much I really enjoy teaching them.

    Teaching these classes quickly became the highlight of my teaching week.

    I mean It’s not hard to see why I like It so much. I get to watch first hand just how powerful martial arts lessons can be for a student.

    How it helps them to be better in so many different ares of life. It’s really cool and something I wouldn’t trade in a million years.

    This is what makes martial arts so wonderful. You get to work with so many different types of students from all walks of life and you get to see the benefits students gain almost right before your eyes.

    Let me highlight one success story we had with a girl named Robin.

    When we first started with this program I met a young girl named Robin (see pic below). When Robin first came into Ivy League she wouldn’t step one foot on our mats.

    When you first walk into any MMA Gym it can be very intimidating, I totally understand how Robin was feeling. But each class I’d talk to her and encourage her to participate in the class.

    It took about 3 weeks but sure enough, I got her on the mats and she took class. I guess one class was all it took because since that time I can count on one hand the number of classes she’s missed.

    Fast forward to today and she’s now one of the best students in the whole program! She walks onto the mats with a new-found sense of confidence that I truly believe only martial arts can give you.

    She’s a completely different person now. It’s so awesome and for me to witness this change right before my eyes, well it’s easy to see why I love my job and changing peoples lives for the better through my martial arts classes.

    Here I am with champion student and awesome person Robin. She's come a long way that's for sure!
    Here I am with champion student and awesome person Robin. She’s come a long way that’s for sure!

    Why you should do your part to help those who could use an extra hand

    Part of the reason I wanted to write this blog is to encourage you and everyone else to do some volunteer work in the community. Learn about ways you can help those with special needs.

    I believe it’s everyones responsibly to help make the world a better place. This is one of the main things I learned since I started working with the Arc.

    The feeling you get from helping those in need is something I can’t put into words. It’s hard to explain but trust me It’s a sense of joy and happiness you won’t get elsewhere.

    Set aside time and get out there and do some volunteer work. Find out how you can lend a helping hand to someone with special needs. Join a worthy cause and does good things.

    It’s not about money either. No you don’t and shouldn’t get paid for this, your payment comes in a different form. This goes back to that feeling of joy I talked about.

    Do your part to help make the world a better place while at the same time becoming a better person. It’s a win-win situation.

    That’s my message for this happy Friday. Oh and If you’re in need of some ideas for ways you can help out feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to give you some suggestions. info@iveyleaguemma.com

    Below I’ve included some pics from our end of season belt test for the Arc students.

    Before I go I’d like to say congrats to all newly promoted students and thank you to the Arc and all the amazing people who come to Ivey League MMA every Friday.

    You guys are awesome! Keep up the good work and we’ll see everyone back in action come this November for season 3.

    maryland martial arts for special needs
    Group picture of all new belt promotions for students of the Arc. CONGRATS!

    mma program for special needs
    Nothing makes for a bigger smile than a new belt rank in mixed martial arts!

    Pretty good selfie pic of Joel, Huggybear and myself.
    Pretty good selfie pic of Joel, Huggybear and myself.

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