You might wonder when you first read this title, what Karate and Autism have to do with each other. A lot actually. You also might wonder, why is this guy blogging about this and what is the significance of this topic and who is this guy? Well this guy is a guy you have never met but has the capability to change the world in just one book. To change the outlook on special needs children forever and to help people understand their world much better. What makes me so special, well let me start with this:
I taught the "first person in history with autism to qualify for the Karate Nationals in the non-handicap division" according to CNN News in July of 2006. To see the CNN footage, just simply go to www.cnn.com and go to the videos section and type in Karate in the search. There you'll find 8 videos and 2 of the 8 is about my student. You can also go to my website at www.greenskarate.com and you'll find a video on the main page. Enjoy! :)
You might also think, well 1 time that's really no big deal, I just got lucky. Well..... it's 4 times now. The boy that you'll see the video about has made it for 3 consecutive year and his story after the first year inspired another boy with autism. The second boy trained less than 12 months and qualified and competed in 2007. In 2009, due to economic reasons, no one with autism from my school was able to go. I did check behind the scenes at the USA-N.K.F. (usankf.org) Nationals and there was no student with autism that qualified or competed in the 2009 Nationals.
It was kind of lonely there without any of my students with autism. 2006 was my first time at Nationals as a Martial arts school owner, instructor, coach, sensei and student of Karate. So the first time I go I was lucky enough to be able to bring CNN News with me. Because of my work with special needs children, the work I have accomplished with students that are not special needs is overshadowed. For me that is ok because I understand why that has happened. The one thing I do not what to have happen is that I'm only known as "the" special needs Karate which is not a bad title at all to have. I want to be known as the person that could teach anyone, Karate. No matter what their disability is, the fact is that I can really teach almost anyone.
To give you an idea of my other work with students without special need I decided to give you a list or column of stats on my students at the USA-N.K.F. Nationals for the past 4 years. From 2006-2009. On average, I have about 5.5 students attend Nationals.
Year/ Age/ Sex/ Time in training/ Medals Won (k=kata, s=sparring)
2006 47 M 3 years 1 Gold in Kata, 1 Silver in Sparring
29 M 9 Months 1 Bronze in Sparring
CNN story aired this year.
2007 5 F 1 Year 1 Gold in Kata
5 F 2 months 1 Bronze in Kata
5 M 1 1/2 years 1 Bronze in sparring
55 F 1 1/2 years 2 Gold Medals
12 M 3 years 1 Gold in Kata (handicap division)
6 F 2 months in 07, 3 months in 08, 9 month break, 1 Bronze in sparring
13 M 4 years 1 Silver in Kata (handicap division)
34 F 6 months 1 Silver in Kata, 1 Bronze in Sparring
56 F 2 1/2 years 2 Gold Medals
2009 7 F 9 Months 2 Bronze Medals
12 F 5 Months 2 Bronze Medals
31 M 2 Years Bronze in sparring
57 F 3 1/2 years Bronze in Kata
Just a reminder if you didn't know. The USA-N.K.F. is the highest level of competition for Traditional Karate in the U.S. There is over 4,000 competitors from all 50 states.
The year 2010 is a very important year for me. When I was a kid I saw the movie's 2001 : A Space Oddessy that I never finished watching. The sequel is 2010 :The Year We Make Contact As a metaphor, 2010 is the year that I make contact. The year that I reach out to all of the special needs children with a book that will be well enough explained that anyone could figure out and how I teach and get the results that I do. I have been told that I am the most specific instructor that a student of mine had met. I do know how to convey my message in such a way that you will be able to expand on the ideas that I have came up with. You will be able to take the tools that I provide in the book including: Calmness of Mind and Body, Warm-ups/Stretching, Kicking, Punching, Kata, Combination's, Counter Attacks, Unorthodox instruction, attitude towards special needs, and lastly Finding the right Karate school. There are other chapters that I haven't mentioned and you'll need to get the book to find out what else is in there.
In my book, I will tell you how you can help my students that have special needs be able to afford the trip to the Nationals. I do believe that in 2010 that I will shock the world and bring at least 5 students with autism to qualify and compete in the Karate Nationals. To help, simply write a check to Green's Karate at 4200 N. Access Rd. Chattanooga, TN 37415. On the memo section please put. Special Needs National Karate Fund. The account is already set up and I do have a transparent account where everyone can see where the money is going. The parent of the boy on CNN is the parent I have also overseeing the account. Thank you for helping my students be able to live their dreams and show the world that they can do it.
Finding the right school is very important to me for you to know. A lot of schools say that teach Karate but do not teach Karate. They might have the word "Karate" lit up on their building and not teach Karate. They might have the word "Karate" in their business name but do not primarily teach Karate. Why would a school do this, one answer, greed. This is a problem that is so massive that the real Karate is getting lost in the mix. I know why schools have done this and it's all to do with marketing. Go ahead and contact your local Better Business Bureau and tell them about a school that you know is not Karate and watch what happens. Nothing. The BBB says that they go after businesses that false advertise but they falsely go after them. They do even try. It's to hot (political) of a topic to touch and too many feelings will get hurt. So the situation is never handled.
Anytime that I get into the media which is quite often. 20 articles in 6 years, appearances on all local main 3 (NBC, ABC, and CBS) affiliates, magazine interviews, radio interviews (recorded) all edit out what I say regarding this subject. Why... it will hurt someone feelings. The truth hurts and shall set you free right.
Some people might say "Well, what's the big deal anyway, it all looks the same". Let me educate you just as I have with the 100+ hours I have spent on live local WTCI PBS station(Chattanooga) for 4 years. Karate is from Japan, Tae Kwon Do is from Korea and Kung Fu is from China. There are over 220 different types of Karate and 4 major styles from Japan. They are Shotokan, Goju-Ryu, Shito-Ryu, and Wado-Ryu. I teach Shito-Ryu. There are 35 versions of Shotokan, 24 of Goju-Ryu, 17 of Shito-Ryu, and 13 of Wado-Ryu.
Did you catch all of that? There is a lot more to Karate than people might think. Let me tell you why Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do wouldn't be good for your child of special needs as much as Karate. First the Chinese taught the Okinawan's in return they taught the Japanese. Kung Fu or Gung Fu is extremely difficult for someone without special needs to understand because your elbows are often away from your body. If your elbows are often away from your body then you do not have a mind and body connection. In Karate, it's more rigid at first but then half way to black belt it becomes more fluid hence the influence of the Chinese arts.
When I tell you the reason why Tae Kwon Do or TKD would not be good for special needs, it will make some people mad. First, I believe that anything traditional in regards to martial arts is better than anything American. BTW, I am a Army Veteran. I do support my country but not martial arts schools that give out black belts to 7, 8, 9, and 10 year old children. People call these schools McDojo's or Black belt factories. Nothing good can come from awarding a child a black belt.
Most Americanized TKD schools that either claim Nationwide certification and then later on claim International affiliations are still most likely still Americanized. A lot of schools would love to be able to claim the highest certification, Certified Worldwide, but can't because of the relationship between an Americanized school and the traditional country that the martial arts came from is severed. My school is certified Worldwide.
How or why does this happen. Well, it happens more often than you think. An instructor does not want to overseen anymore by another entity so the easiest thing to do is cut your ties and start your own thing. I could have done this as well but instead have taken the much higher road.
In Chattanooga there was no Traditional Karate Tournament so I had to create one and it's called The "Chattanooga Karate Classic". Last year it was the first Traditional Tournament in Chattanooga in 36 years. This year it will be held on October 3rd at the Lookout Valley Middle/High School. Last year we had over 100 competitors from 7 states attend.
I had to create this tournament because if my students were to go and compete then they would get disqualified. You might wonder why? In Karate sparring you are allowed to sweep, trip, throw, and punch your opponent on the ground. In TKD, its against the rules and you get disqualified. In my tournament, everything is in Japanese and locally everything is English. In Karate you have to have 6 characteristics in order to receive a point. Here are the six characteristics: 1) Good Form 2) Proper timing 3) Correct Distance 4)Vigorous Application 5)Sporting Attitude 6)Zanshin (perfect finish, calmness of mind) Without these six you cannot get a point. In TKD tournaments you can simply do a flying or spinning back fist and get a point. In Karate that don't fly either. In Karate they put you into a box (figuratively speaking) and you have to compete within those guidelines and in other styles is incredibly relaxed.
If a parent sees the word "Karate" on a building. Do you think that they think they are going into a Karate school? Of course. So the child thinks they they are taking Karate but they are probably taking Tae Kwon Don't You see, it's all about the money, the greenback, the dollar, the unrelenting greed! School's that do this need to cease and desist from now and forever.
I will work hard in the future to form a committee of sort to regulation all martial arts schools to advertise only what they teach. This way there is no false advertising and no one is confused anymore. If you tell someone something for a long period of time then they will start to believe it. Forget about the truth instead just keep listening to the propaganda . When the Karate kid came out and became popular back in the late 80's, martial arts schools started using the word "Karate" because it was more popular than TKD.
I didn't come up with that information, BTW, I was told this to me by a TKD school owner that uses the word "Karate" in their name. What happened was I went to a tournament in Georgia and this was the first, so called "Karate" tournament that I had been to in the south. What no one knew at the time but I have been a USA-N.K.F. referee/judge since 1999. I had had students compete in a Alaska state qualifier for Nationals and an Alaska State Championship tournament. The tournament that I had been to in Alaska was operated like the USA-N.K.F. Nationals.
At this tournament in Georgia, the referees worn tennis shoes, t-shirts, track pants, and I even saw a referee with a small backpack on her back. The people at this event was very used to the setting and they seem to not mind the unorganized event. There was people in the stands that were on the floor watching the tourament and were surrounding the ring and when someone stepped out of bounds. They spectators and student mix of people around the ring would push them back into the match. Its was very subjective on the way that they were awarding points and there was a lot of politics.
I sat down with a man that owns a very large TKD system that claims "Karate" in the name. I asked him several questions and you'll be surprised about his answers. I asked him first "Why do you use the word "Karate" in your name when you don't teach Karate" He said "Well I have taken Karate 25 years ago for 5 years and train in Tae Kwon Do for 25 years. Then I said "If I trained in Tae Kwon Do for 5 years and trained in Karate for 25 could I call what I do "Tae Kwon Do" He gave me a look. I told him several other things about the way the tournament was ran compared to what I seen before. He then volunteered this information " Well, back in 1988 the word "Karate was more popular than Tae Kwon Do and so I started using the word Karate for marketing purposes" I then said "Don't you think that you are deceiving people because people think they are doing Karate and they are not?" Then he replied "Karate is a minority and it always will be!" I then told him "Thank you very much, you just put the fire inside me to make a difference, to make a change". I knew after that conversation with this particular man that I would need to prove to the world that Karate is the best for any child or adult. Does CNN qualify for worldwide attention?
What I instill into my students is Manners, Respect, and Self-Discipline. How many school's even mention Manners into their title or subtitle or even advertise that way online or in your local phonebook, probably not many. My students have been challenge by TKD students to fight or spar. My students have never lost a challenge. We have demolished any challengers and we don't ask for it. They come to us. How disrespectful is that to come into my school and challenge my students to spar. It's absolutely wrong and my students will never go into any school and challenge and if it ever happened then I would ban them from my business and school. I do reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and they would push that envelope over the edge. I have not ever had this problem.
I meet a lot of children that are TKD black belts that have a lot of attitude. They come up to me and say "Hi, my name is Johnny and I'm a black belt". But the way they say it as if they were better than me. Not that I'm saying that i'm great and all but it's their attitude and tone of their voice. They are ultra confident but would probably get seriously hurt in a real fight.
I mention in my book about the above story that you read plus many other examples of deception of martial arts schools. I know why they are not getting the results that they want. I know how they are most likely teaching the classes. The book "Karate and Autism" will answer a lot of questions. Who is going to read this book, well lets see..... Parents and friends of people with autism, teachers, Occupation Therapists, Nurses, Doctors, Educators, P.E. Teachers, Martial arts schools owners/teachers/instructors/students.
I didn't write this book sooner because I didn't want to use CNN News as a crutch. As the years went by I felt that maybe I have some information that I need to get out. I have contacted over 50 publishers and I have had 50 no's in regards to publishing my book. That's okay. I'm about the hit a so called lottery because my school will soon be featured in a particular coupon book. My competitor that was in the book is not in this year and my school is. They make $1.3 million a year and 1/3 comes from this particular coupon book. I will fund my own book thank you very much! I wonder how many will come out of the woodwork now.
I met a lady that has written 20 books. So she knows the in's and out's of publishing and self-publishing. I can go to her for advise and she even thinks that my book will be very big. I will self-publish because I will gain the most financially from this. I think that these publishing companies should give people with idea's and platforms like mine more of a chance. I'm the kind of person that makes things happen no matter what the cost or effort. I never give up and perserverance is my middle name.
I know that many "real" Karate schools instructor and owners agree with what I'm saying. I'm on the Traditional Karate schools side. You will find this blog on my blog myspace.com/autismandkarate. Please add your name to my list if you are a black belt in Traditional Karate and you believe everything that I have said. When you do this you are agreeing that I can add your name into my book. With these names it will show the power and force that has been created and that we are taking a stand against schools that use our name inappropriately for marketing purposes. Just simply write your name down in connection with this blog or my myspace blog and I'll make a note of it. Remember.... The truth shall set you free and may god be with you always! Thank you for reading my blog!