What is an Adaptive Martial Arts Student?

We are all adaptive students at one point in our life with illness or injury. Some people are born with or acquire through accident.  issues with their body and minds that makes them think, process and move differently. 


 Rising Sun accepted its first two adaptive students when it opened its door in 2001. One student with Aspergers Syndrome and the other with Osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease). Both worked with the tradtional students successfully. Other students quickly followed. 


It wasn't until a young boy by the name of Ethan  walked through the dojo doors eager to learn karate, that the Rising Sun Adaptive Program began. Ethan struggled with ADHD and no matter what adaptations were made, Ethan could not make it through class. Easily distracted, a bundle of energy, he was easily frustrated. A class was created especially for Ethan. In addition to the instructor, he had a one on one student assistant to help him stay focused and redirect him. 

It didn't take long for Ethan to succeed with this adaptive approach. Soon other students joined him and the Dynamic Energy class was born.  Eventually, all of these  move into the traditional kids classes successfully.

I am incredibly grateful to Ethan for his patience while I figured out how to adapt our martial arts to meet his needs. Traditionally it is the other way around, the student had to meet the needs of the martial arts style. But with the adaptive program, anyone can find a way to reap the benefits of martial arts training.


The Adult Adaptive Class began with two students, one with Cerebral Palsy and the other legally blind with Retinitis Pigmentosa. One went on to create a national organization for Adaptive Martial Artists and other will be Rising Sun's first Adaptive Black Belt.


For students that have a lifelong physical therapy program, Martial Arts, Yoga and other fitness programs can fit into their PT programs, making them fun and meaningful.


For aging bodies that are not as flexible , well balanced or muscular, martial arts can be adapted to help them build their fitness level.


While we are quick to label "Special Needs" or "Disabled", Adaptive Martial Arts opens its doors to anyone that cannot function in the traditional way. 


The only label you have at Rising Sun is "STUDENT".


If you would like more information on our adaptive classes, please call 802-345-2627