kids in a karate class
Is Martial Arts a Good Fit for Your Child with Autism? Here’s What to Consider

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be considering enrolling them in martial arts. The good news is that there are studies that show that mixed martial arts helps with autism and is beneficial for children on the spectrum. In particular, martial arts can result in positive social behaviors in children with ASD apart from many other advantages.

At Action Karate, we recognize that every child is unique and while the importance of sports cannot be overemphasized, there is a difference between participation in a team sport versus participation in an individual sport. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that training in a martial arts environment is a lot calmer in terms of social interactions and noise or sensory overloads.

The ultimate result is that martial arts can improve autistic symptoms because they can gain confidence when they Martial arts classes combine physical activity with mental development, offering a program specifically suited to benefit children on the autism spectrum., while focusing on becoming as independent as possible. In this article, we explore some of the key benefits of martial arts for children with autism so that you can make an informed choice for your child. Let’s get started.

Benefits of martial arts for neurodivergent children

Enrolling your child in karate can seem like a scary experience, both for parents and their children. Not knowing what to expect is often a serious concern. But the science out there shows that martial arts can improve autistic symptoms. Below, we cover just a few of the benefits of enrolling your child in martial arts classes.

Improving social skills

Whether it’s a one-on-one, personalized class or a group session, one thing that unites every participant in martial arts is the ability to improve one’s social skills. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, children that join have a common goal, which is to refine their karate skills through repetitive drills that help them focus while working towards their next belt. This requires listening to their instructors and carrying out the instructions. With martial arts, children with autism learn to respect their classmates and instructors because everyone has a common goal and children quickly realize that they are all in a community of like-minded peers.

Improving spatial awareness

Spatial awareness is a challenge for many children with ASD as they may not be sure, comfortable, or confident in how their bodies fit into their environments. With repetition of certain drills, all the senses of taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound are enhanced, giving children the ability to better figure out how they fit into a given space. Often, sparring with a partner exposes them to physical contact and their responses, which are repetitive in nature, helps them figure out and respond well to their physical environment. This adaptability is an acquired skill that can help them gain control over their body.

Gaining confidence

With qualified, experienced, and trained instructors at your child’s side, your child will experience important gains in self-confidence. What is more, our instructors are both teachers and mentors and their focus on individual growth and development is absolutely priceless. When your child masters one skill, they will start feeling more confident in their abilities and will look forward to mastering the next one. This deep sense of accomplishment is hard to come by in sports such as team sports as their achievement is fully their own.

Strengthening discipline and focus

Karate can be considered a holistic discipline that deals with the mind and body at the same time. This approach to training means that your child will be able to enjoy a great deal of benefits that come with martial arts training. Particularly in children with autism, martial arts training increases mental awareness. That is because your child is encouraged to concentrate on one movement or one concept at a time, mastering it before they move onto the next one. This builds onto pre-existing knowledge and brings out the best in your child.

Improving their reactions and motor skills

Practicing martial arts gives children a sense of predictability and routine, which can be comforting with children with ASD. The repetition of moves improves their motor skills while their ability to spar with a partner or an instructor can help improve their reaction. This ties in with spatial awareness and focus, as they gain a stronger sense of focus and reward for the effort they put into their practice.

Perhaps the most important thing when enrolling your child in a martial arts program is consistency. At Action Karate, we recognize that this may be challenging for children at first. However, with our extensive experience in training children with autism in martial arts over several decades, we also know that it will become much easier for them the longer they continue to engage in their training and practice.

Karate classes for special needs children by Action Karate

If you are looking for special needs karate near you, you’ve come to the right place. Action Karate offers special needs martial arts classes and training in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Valrico, Florida.

With decades of experience to our name and our instructors’ deep-founded appreciation for the right approach to a child with autism, you can rest assured that your child will be in excellent hands with us. From focus and discipline to confidence and spatial awareness, and even refined motor skills that help with balance, flexibility, and coordination, isn’t it time you gave your child the gift of karate in a community of warm and friendly peers and instructors? Get in touch with us today.

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Martial Arts Instructors
The Journey to Becoming a Martial Arts Instructor

Teachers carry the great responsibility of educating the nation’s children, preparing them for life and the future. But this career, while it may feel like a lifelong calling for some, isn’t for everyone.

Just like any career, it has downsides and many teachers are currently experiencing burnout. Teacher burnout leads to considerable stress, and leaves educators contemplating a career change where they can leverage their existing skills, while working in a less stressful environment.

That’s what we’ve noticed at Action Karate as we have many former teachers joining us to build a more fulfilling and stress-free career. In this article, we explore why former teachers excel as martial arts instructors, how to become one, and the incredible benefits this brings. Let’s take a closer look.

Why Teachers Excel as Martial Arts Instructors

Becoming a martial arts instructor is a highly rewarding experience. If you are a teacher contemplating a change of career, the good news is that you can easily transfer your skills to coaching. As a martial arts instructor, you will still focus on building effective relationships with students, simply in a different setting and environment.

Your ability to connect with students will not go wasted as teachers generally have numerous transferable teaching skills that you can pass on to your students as you become a martial art instructor.

A few of these skills include:

Active listening

As a teacher, you already know the importance of active listening. This means giving your students your full attention while carefully considering their needs and requirements. You are then able to tailor your approach and subsequently your training session to each student.

Learning strategies

Former teachers turned martial arts instructors are also already aware of different learning strategies and styles. They know that every student learns differently. Some require visual aids, while others learn with the help of a physical approach. By being able to teach in different ways, you can better cater to your students’ needs.

Speaking and communication

A major part of martial arts is proper communication. You will be giving instructions and demonstrating certain techniques, which your students need to follow accurately. By verbalizing your request in a proper way and communicating with students at the right level, you create stronger bonds and improve your teaching practice.

Time management

Teachers are also very well suited to become martial arts instructors because of their time management skills. Time management is about accomplishing everything that’s been planned in advance within a limited time frame. This requires great organization, planning, and foresight, which former teachers have plenty of experience with.


Another area where former teachers truly excel at is mentoring. By acting as a coach, a mentor, an instructor, and a motivator, you can pass on your skills and knowledge to your students, helping them get ahead and achieve their goals. You can help them set small goals that they work towards and encourage and support them to reach each one. The sense of accomplishment that comes with this is highly rewarding for both the teacher and the student.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills include verbal and non-verbal as well as written and listening communication. The combination of these skills is essential for a martial arts instructor and former teachers usually excel at all of these skills because they’ve been trained to listen and communicate, encourage, where necessary, give feedback in a positive way, and so much more.


And last but not least, there is the transferable skill of patience. Each student grows and develops at their individual pace, some are quick learners, while others need a lot of repetition and time to progress. By being patient, martial arts instructors create a safe, stress-free and welcoming environment, where every child discovers the tools to reach their full potential.

Becoming a Martial Arts Instructor: No Black Belt Required

Many former teachers wonder if they need a black belt to teach martial arts.

While this is a valid question, the answer is no. Even though a black belt is certainly a plus and will help you teach at a higher level, there’s no belt or certification requirement to teach martial arts.

When you first begin your coaching journey at Action Karate, you will be provided with hands-on training from our Head Instructors. We will support you in your new endeavor by showing you the basis of martial arts coaching and giving you opportunities to assist our current coaches with their classes before you feel ready to begin coaching on your own. The only thing we expect from you is to have a passion for martial arts and teaching so that you can fully immerse yourself in the incredible world of martial arts.

Benefits of Being a Martial Arts Instructor

If you are considering new opportunities for you to learn and grow, then becoming a martial arts instructor with us at Action Karate is a great and truly rewarding experience.

You’ll quickly be able to pick up all the physical skills and core values as you live your passion for martial arts every day in a fulfilling and rewarding environment that gives you the opportunity to grow.

If you’re a teacher seeking a career change, now’s the perfect time to reach out to us. Discover how you can bring your dedication and transferable skills to a new, fun, and exciting community. of like-minded individuals.

Reach out to talk to us today!

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Benefits Karate Classes
10 Benefits of Karate Classes for Kids

Parents who are looking for engaging activities for their child as a way to reduce screen time and stress levels plus improve overall health and fitness are encouraged to consider karate. Martial arts is not just about doing a physical sport.

It’s considered a holistic lifestyle and culture that takes into account both physical, mental health and social/community aspects that help develop a child into a well-rounded, healthy adult.

If you’re still on the fence about why you should enroll your child in karate classes, this post is for you. Below, we set out 10 of the key benefits your child will enjoy as they work their way to health, fitness, and strength step by step. Let’s take a closer look.

What are the benefits of karate classes for kids?

Broadly speaking, karate offers important benefits for children. Starting from a young age (as little as two years old in some cases) comes with incredible advantages.

In particular, there are important health benefits of karate for kids, among which include that it helps improve your body height, weight, and reflexes.

However, apart from the physical benefits, there are also multiple mental benefits of karate, such as self-discipline, stress relief, and more.

10 reasons why you should choose karate for kids

Here, we set out 10 of the leading reasons why you should enroll your little one in karate classes for kids.

Physical fitness

Regular physical activity is a must for growing children whose bodies are still developing. Karate is one such important physical activity that teaches balance, coordination, and flexibility. Through physical activities that karate offers, your child will become much fitter, healthier, and stronger, growing into a healthy young adult.


The problem of bullying in schools and other social environments is pervasive. While karate is primarily a form of self-defense, it also teaches children the importance of and gives them the ability to diffuse or avoid tense or troublesome situations, thus staying safe and protected. In turn, this gives them greater control over their reactions and they become more confident in their abilities.


As a highly structured activity, karate emphasizes respect. This respect is aimed at peers, teachers, parents, siblings, friends, and other members of the community. Action Karate is about following rules and instructions, and this, in turn, provides children with a greater sense of responsibility and builds self-discipline, as opposed to seeking instant gratification.

Continuous learning

If you know a thing or two about karate, you know that even with the rank of black belt, learning is never truly done. Children will be exposed to the benefit of continuous learning as they constantly learn new things, figure out new ways to improve, and strive towards achieving the next karate level. This philosophy of continuous learning carries through in other areas of life and fosters a culture and mindset of working hard, remaining curious, and having the desire to grow and improve.

Friendships, teamwork, and community

The social component of karate cannot be denied either. It brings together like-minded individuals in a safe and welcoming environment where they can thrive. Children learn to make friends and develop healthy social skills. In particular, karate classes encourage teamwork, leadership, and interpersonal skills. They also create a sense of belonging and community where they’re constantly supported and are encouraged to lift and support one another.

Goal setting

Karate is about creating short, medium, and long-term goals. Whether it is working towards the next stripe on their belt or perfecting the art of the perfect kick, through karate, children discover that their effort and dedication help them build the skills, knowledge, and abilities they need for success. Such determination and dedication to the task is also carried through in the classroom environment and beyond.

Reduces stress, anger, and frustration

Wondering what does karate teach you mentally? Well, dealing with stress on a regular basis can have important health consequences. However, karate can help children combat stress from home or the classroom by engaging in cardio activities that fight the effects of stress and anxiety. In addition to this, breathing sessions are also geared towards reducing stress. Meanwhile, karate can also help foster kindness in students and helps let go of pent up anger and frustration.

Strengthened focus

Being able to focus on the task at hand is an important prerequisite for success in children’s academic, personal, and social lives. When a child is able to give their full attention and focus on a task, they are more likely to succeed and overcome mental barriers and sensory distractions. Practicing karate on a regular basis enables children to clear their perceptions and focus without distractions. This is just one of the karate benefits for 5 year olds that improves your mental health.

Improves listening skills

Whether it’s one-on-one work with a karate instructor or group work, listening to the instructor is key for success. That’s because they know the ropes and are there to guide your child to achieve success. Learning to carefully listen and follow verbal instructions makes your child more adept and this translates into immense benefits in life and in the classroom, too.

Stimulates introspection

Because martial arts is about a holistic approach, it encourages both physical and mental mastery. Irrespective of the daily inner struggles your child may go through, karate classes combine the physical and mental elements that teach a wisdom and philosophy that helps children realize when they are making repetitive mistakes and figuring out what went wrong along with searching for the right solutions to the problem.

Why I should encourage my children to enroll in karate

If you are ready to give your child the gift towards better personal and physical development, you’ll definitely want to embed karate in your child’s life. And if your child is not feeling too excited about the prospect yet, there are things parents can do to encourage their child’s participation.

This includes talking to them about the important benefits of karate, showing them how it can help solve some of the challenges they’re facing, and even mentioning how cool it is to master the techniques and art of karate while building lasting friendships.

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black karate belt tied across someone's waist
What Does a Karate Black Belt Really Represent?

Karate is a form of Japanese martial arts with a long history dating back several centuries. The word “karate” means “open hand”, which signifies hand-to-hand combat.

Much like other forms of martial arts, karate today has a ranking system that indicates the skill level of its wearer. If you’ve heard of karate black belts, you’ll probably know that this is the highest ranking possible. But what does the road to achieving this black belt look like?

In this article, we explore all the details around the different karate grading systems and discuss the black belt as well, so that you can have a deeper understanding of the ranking system involved in this profound form of martial arts.

What is a karate belt called?

In karate, practitioners wear a “dogi” or “gi”, which is their uniform or exercise outfit. However, what holds this “gi” together is an “obi” or a karate belt. These belts come in different colors, representing the skill levels of the practitioner.

If you are interested in the origin of karate belts, it’s worth noting that colored belts were introduced around the 1800s by Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. In the tradition of karate belts, black and white belts were previously the norm. The white ones were meant for students while the black belts were reserved for instructors.

However, several other colors were added in the 1930s by other forms of martial arts practitioners as a way of recognizing the skill levels of the students. What is more, these colored belts offered a way of distinguishing between beginner, intermediate and advanced students.

How many belt colors are there in karate?

In short, there are nine solid color belts in karate with each color representing a different level of skill and experience. Beginners start with white while expert practitioners culminate in a black belt. However, there is more than meets the eye when acquiring a black belt. That’s because there is more than one black belt level in karate. We’ll cover this in some more detail below. And now, without further ado, here are the belt colors and their meaning in karate you should know about:

  • No belt: An absolute beginner starts without a belt. In essence, they are considered a blank slate, ready to acquire martial arts knowledge.
  • White belt: This belt rank is achieved after the student learns the basics of karate. As the first rank, it symbolizes that they are a real karate student, who is at the beginning of their martial arts journey.
  • Gold belt: After being introduced to a more advanced curriculum, that includes a classical form, the gold belt is awarded. It symbolizes light or the fact that the student is open to facing new challenges, techniques, and methods.
  • Green belt: The green belt comes next and it represents growth and progression. At this stage, the student will be introduced to sparring or fighting with controlled contact.
  • Purple belt: Representing the sky’s colors at dawn, karate students who receive the purple belt are considered intermediate students.
  • Blue belt: This belt represents the sky and is a representation of students aiming to refine their skills. Their knowledge of karate will be more advanced and they will have mastered some of the basic techniques. In addition, this belt is also about increasing one’s speed and power, while mastering new moves.
  • Red belt: Often called the “self defense belt”, it signifies the strength of the sun, basic and intermediate techniques have now been mastered. Students with a red belt are now at an advanced level.
  • Brown belt: This belt shows a student who is maturing in their martial arts training. The color represents a mature and ripened seed and students are ready to enjoy the fruits of their efforts.
  • Black belt: Achieving the rank of black belt can take anywhere from three to five years or more. It signifies that the student has moved up the ranking system, achieving an important milestone in both their mental and physical experience. Students who wear a black belt are considered teachers to others in karate techniques and philosophy. However, it is not the last rank that one can learn.

In addition to the already mentioned belt colors, it’s important to note that all the belt levels in karate, apart from the white one, can have dashes on them to indicate further progress within the karate belt ranking system.

How can you get a black belt in karate?

Having covered the basic karate belt order, we now move on to how you can get a black belt in karate. Normally, the process takes around five years of dedicated training, focusing on wisdom, spiritual growth, and physical ability.

As part of the testing and black belt requirements, students must display a strong commitment to their practice, which is evaluated in terms of the standard of their school. However, while the karate black belt meaning is generally considered that of an expert, it is worth knowing that there are numerous dashes or levels within the black belt system that one can achieve.

There are 10 degrees of black belt in a lifetime of commitment to self improvement. Here are a few of the criteria for passing the karate black belt test and moving up the ranks:

  • First degree (Sho-dan): considered a beginner within the black belt ranking system
  • Second degree (Ni-dan): the period of training is usually two years
  • Third degree (San-dan): achieved after three additional years of training as a second degree back belt
  • Fourth degree (Yon-dan): achieved after four more years of training as a third degree 
  • Fifth degree (Go-dan): at this level one earns the title of “Master”
  • Sixth degree (Roku-dan): achieved six years after fifth degree or 20 years as a black belt. It involves training and teaching others.
  • Seventh degree (Nana-dan): achieved seven years after sixth degree or after 27 years as a black belt. 
  • Eighth degree (Hachi-dan): it is earned after eight years as a seventh degree or 35 years as a black belt.
  • Ninth degree (Kyu-dan): earned nine years after eighth degree or 44 years as a black belt. 
  • Tenth degree (Ju-Dan): considered the highest and most prestigious rank, awarded to masters who have given a lifetime to the furtherance of the martial arts and have demonstrated a lifetime of significant achievement.This rank takes a minimum of 54 years as a black belt. 


The practice of karate as a martial art is progressive and starts with an absolute beginner to an absolute master. You can practice karate for self-enrichment and self-development, alongside acquiring important self-defense skills. If you envision yourself achieving a black belt in karate and pushing your limits to new heights, then take the first step by joining Action Karate’s karate classes today. Experience firsthand the realization of your true potential, both physically and mentally.

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People training karate on the beach.
Best Martial Arts: Choosing the Right One for You
If you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to get in shape, the gym isn’t always the best answer. Instead, you might be considering some out-of-the-box ideas to get fit. And that’s exactly what you can expect to read about here.
In this article, we explore the different types of martial arts you can dive into as well as the many reasons why you should do so. We also share with you some tips on how to choose the right martial art for you.
Ready to get started? Stay with us as we take you on a journey that will raise your self-confidence and discipline, boost your self-defense skills, and help you destress in ways you never thought possible.

Different types of martial arts

Below, we present to you our different martial arts types list by focusing on the various martial arts styles you can choose from.


This type of martial arts is over 2,000 years old and involves using your fists only to defend yourself against attacks or respond to them. It does not involve any blows below the belt and it does not use any other body parts. Excellent for self-defense, it also helps improve your motor skills, fitness and endurance, and mental preparedness.


This type of martial arts style takes a fight to the ground. It happens when two people grapple with each other. While there are many types of wrestling and it is excellent for physical strength, it is not among the most common martial arts for self-defense.


This is one of the least violent types of martial arts because it uses joint immobilization to stifle opponents. It also uses throws, which use the momentum of the attacker against them. Ultimately, it’s about relying on timing and technique to disable an opponent as opposed to strength or size. “Aikido’s” roots go back to the 12th century and the name means “The way of harmony of spirit”.


As opposed to Aikido, Sambo is a more violent type of martial arts. It can include punching, kicking, elbowing, chokes, locks, groin strikes, etc. Essentially, you can use everything at your disposal to protect yourself from an attacker or opponent.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

With this type of martial art, you focus more on grappling than striking. It’s best for smaller individuals who aim to succeed against larger opponents. It takes place mainly on the ground and can include rear-naked chokes, arm locks, and leg locks.

Muay Thai/Kickboxing

Also known as Thai boxing, Muay Thai falls under the category of kickboxing. However, it also uses knees and elbows much more than most other types of martial arts. Clinching—which is a type of stand-up grappling—is also commonly used. Referred to as “The art of eight limbs”, it dates back to the 13th century in Thailand.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Tracing its roots back to ancient Greece, it involves a mixture of wrestling, boxing, and street fighting. With this type of martial art, you have many different strategies and tools at your disposal to fend off an opponent.

Krav Maga

Created by the Israeli Defense Forces, it is a fighting technique that’s used in real-life scenarios. It is quite aggressive in nature and may feature guns and knives. It’s not really conducive to competitions but it is great for self-defense.


This Japanese type of martial art dates back to 1882. It involves little striking and is more focused on chokes and throws.


It includes punches, throws, kicks, and more. It also involves breaking boards and bricks with your hands and feet. This is a Korean martial art that was developed around the 1940s and 1950s.

Wing Chun Kung Fu

This Chinese martial art has been around since the 1300s. It uses quick strikes while advancing on an opponent. It also prepares both the mind and body for combat through visualization.


Perfect for street fights, it involves joint manipulation and attacks on pressure points. It dates back to the 8th century in Indonesia. It is a good option for close-quarter combat.

Jeet Kune Do

This activity focuses on punching, kicking, grappling, and trapping. It has a physical and a mental element. It was created by Bruce Lee in the 1960s.

American Kenpo Karate

This is an amalgamation of karate, Judo, and Jiu-Jitsu and includes punches and kicks as well as throwing and joint locking techniques. It is primarily about defensive action and demobilizing an attacker.

How to choose from the many types of martial arts?

With so many options to choose from, you may be wondering what is the best martial art for you. The answer will depend on where you are on your journey. For example, some criteria will include the following:

1. You need to figure out your goals and interests.

2. Are you an advanced or a beginner?

3. Do you want to acquire self-defense skills?

4. Do you want to reduce stress and anxiety?

5. Consider your physical abilities and preferences.

Why choose to start with martial arts?

There are many excellent reasons why you may want to start learning martial arts. Among these reasons include:
  • It helps reduce stress and anxiety in many ways
  • It improves your physical health
  • It increases flexibility and improves coordination
  • It enhances your focus and concentration
  • It lowers blood pressure and the heart rate
  • It teaches you self-defense
  • It boosts your self-confidence
  • It teaches you discipline
  • Everyone can do it
  • It’s great for weight loss, fitness, and mental health
  • It reduces stress levels
  • It’s never out of season
  • It’s a global sport
  • You can enjoy significant personal growth
  • You’ll learn important life skills and values
  • It cultivates respect and humility
As such, the importance of martial arts cannot be overstated.

Start learning martial arts with Action Karate

Looking for the best martial arts to learn? You’ve come to the right place! Action Karate will teach you the most effective martial arts, irrespective of your age, skills, or ability levels. We offer some of the best martial arts for beginners but we also cater to groups and individuals, children and adults, as well as students with special needs. Start learning martial arts with Action Karate today and enjoy all the benefits that come with it. Our martial arts classes are designed to help release stress, develop confidence and self-discipline, physical strength and fitness, and a whole lot more.
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