WHAT IS MARTIAL ARTS THERAPY?
By Master Khaldun Redza

Many have asked me, what is Martial Arts Therapy?

Firstly and most importantly, it is NOT conventional or traditional martial arts!

It is in actuality a supplementary learning, therapeutic and rehabilitative approach and strategy using martial arts (in our respect, Taekwon-Do) movement, techniques, exercises, drills, values and principles to help those with special needs, unique challenges and various developmental difficulties to better cope and manage their incapacitating circumstances, thereby enriching their lives.

Simplistically put, it is as vastly different as Hippotherapy is with Horseback Riding, or Hydrotherapy is with Swimming.

Although students’ progress through the standard national-approved martial arts (Taekwon-Do) syllabus and the normal certification and color belting systems, their training however is adapted to a personalized and alternative curriculum to accommodate their respective needs, strengths and weaknesses. Coaching is focused on areas of concerns as outlined within each student’s Individual Training Plan (ITP).

Martial Arts Therapy is non-aggressive, non-hostile, violent or destructive. The aim is not to teach the person how to fight or break boards and stuff.

It is in fact fun, enjoyable, calming and peaceful. Instruction is assertive, persistent, and goal-driven to closely guide the student away from their comfort zones and state of “conditioned dependency”, hence helping them to develop independence, confidence and self-esteem.

The emphasis of martial arts therapy under the SEN Master Academy program is to help the individual improve and acquire, first and foremost, general fitness, health & well-being, balance, coordination, gross and fine motor-movement, focus, stamina, sensorial integration, proprioceptive awareness, cognitive & abstract thinking, self-control, communication, social interaction, and many more direct and indirect benefits which will ultimately help improve and enrich every aspect of the student’s life, behavior, self-esteem and independence.

Here are some pictures to give you a basic idea of the different tools, techniques and approaches we use at SEN Master Academy. 

For further inquiries and assistance, please do call or contact us.

Thank you.

 

Focus Mitts - Aimed to help the student develop and improve focus, concentration, hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor movement, spatial awareness and cognitive thinking.

Gloves are used to protect the students hands and to teach them how to grip a proper fist.

Different colored gloves and mitts are used to help the student understand and differentiate between their left and right hands, and to learn different combination movements.

The Instructor / Coach constantly prompts and motivates the individual by increasing and diversifying levels of difficulty.

We have heard of Punching on Sitting Stance. This is Punching on BOSU Ball - Objective is to help improve balance, stability, coordination, posture, hand-eye coordination, concentration, focus, self-control, left/right brain activity and cognitive thinking.

The exercise is initially guided, but eventually the student is encouraged to perform it on his own.

Colored Hoops - Taekwon-Do movements and patterns are usually done in numbers, or in your own time. At SEN Master we sometimes even do it by hoops.

The objective is to help the student understand the importance of balance, stability, and to improve their stances. In addition it promotes spatial and directional awareness, courage, leg shifting, coordination, cognitive thinking, and independence.

 

The Gym or Balance Ball is a useful apparatus for muscle/joint strengthening and conditioning exercises. In this instance we also use it to get the student accustomed and comfortable with the jamming, extending and stretching actions which are vital concepts for learning and executing Taekwon-Do kicks correctly, naturally and gracefully later on.

Some individuals with neurological and physical challenges have movement disorders characterized by jerky, irregular, weak, uncontrolled or diminished range of movement due to many conditions such as spasticity, apraxia, hyper or hypotonia, trauma etc. It is therefore imperative that their muscles and joints are continually and consistently strengthened and conditioned to help improve motor-movement, stability, mobility, agility, dexterity and power when performing martial arts techniques.

The wobble pad or cushion is another helpful and fun tool for improving balance, stability, muscular development, tactile and sensory stimulation, and to increase brain activity.

Combine the Wobble Pad/Cushion with the Gym Ball and you get a fun, enjoyable and engaging exercise that will help work on balance, stability, motor-movement, muscle development, control, focus, concentration, hand-eye coordination, tactile and sensorial reinforcement, and brain stimulation.