Budo – martial arts for people with a disability

There is an amazing story behind Budo, and it goes something like this. Lee has been doing martial arts for many years. He is a black belt and totally devoted. About seven years ago he heard about martial arts for people with disability and he travelled to Japan to learn this method from the master. For the last six years he has been running two groups on Saturday morning. There is a mixed bunch of people doing it – some of them on the autism spectrum and others with a variety of physical disabilities. The group were originally segregated across disability types (or ages, I can’t exactly remember). But the young people sorted themselves into a group that has become solidly about friendship and fun.

If you sit at the back of the room with whanau you will hear stories about amazing progress. The children you came and who could not put a foot onto the mat. Now they are disciplined and laughing and mixed up with a bunch of similar young people. Everyone gives it their best shot. This is a martial art and they are expected to have discipline, but fun is what comes across more than anything.

There are two wonderful videos that I am going to upload about this amazing project – just as soon as Mr 16 year old stops playing his computer game. These videos are the results of a community project completed by Zoe Hunt and Rita Lai. One of them aims to recruit volunteers directly. The second is a little longer and it tells about what they learned as occupational therapists by taking part in Budo over the last two months (you can see it here). Little does Mr 16 year old know – but I intend to get him to watch these videos and consider volunteering at Budo over the summer months. There are few things that I would be prepared to sacrifice my Saturday morning for, but this is one of them.

Zoe and Rita have done such a good job of convincing people that James Sunderland has decided to adopt it as part of his occupational science course and he will also use the experience as authentic fieldwork hours. Doubtless there will be more stories to come in the months ahead.

Budo class

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