• Karate from an Occupational Therapist’s Point of View

  • In the past I have had bad experiences with “professionals” teaching students techniques that could lead to great bodily harm. More than once I have taken my kids out of classes that were harmful. Needless to say, I am a bit leery now and thoroughly check any classes before I enroll my kids.

    As an Occupational Therapist, I have learned to quickly evaluate activities to determine if they are safe. Taking advantage of a free week of karate at Shorinkan Family Karate, I evaluated what was being taught to determine if this was a safe option for my son. In that week I did not see any techniques taught that could injure the students and I also consistently saw correction of poor techniques so the students were less likely to get injured. I must say I was impressed. As a matter of fact, I was so impressed, not only did I enroll my son, but 6 months later, 2 of my daughters, my mom, and I joined. I have been a member going on 6 month and I am even more impressed than I was before.

    The techniques continue to be safe. They are even safe for my 68 year old mother. The “katas” taught are low impact which means they are safe for people with joint problems. Not only are they safe, but they also strengthen the muscles around the joints which has the added benefit of reducing arthritis pain, which has been the case with my mom and me. My mom had difficulties getting off the floor and significant knee pain before she started karate, these problems have significantly improved. I have a joint disorder where I have a problem with many of my joints dislocating/subluxing (coming out of the socket or partially out of the socket). I have also greatly improved and do not have the problems I had prior to starting karate. Unsafe techniques would have only worsened both of our problems.

    Aside from safety, there are so many other health benefits I have come to realize. First of all, it is fun! The Senseis are caring loving people. They are supportive and knowledgeable. It is a great safe exercise that has built in rewards for continuing (advancement to the next belt). It improves confidence and self esteem while learning self defense and personal safety. Plus, no one is ever forced to do something they are unable to do and the Senseis work with personal limitations. And as a side note, I have lost quite a bit of weight while participating in karate.

    I could write pages about the benefits of karate from an Occupational Therapist’s point of view and I can envision karate used as a therapeutic modality for patients I have worked with. So suffice it to say from a professional’s point of view, Shorinkan Family Karate is safe and therapeutic for the very young, to the very old, and the disabled.

    Shellie Busetti, OTR (Registered Occupational Therapist)