American Kenpo Karate Mission

Karate and Autism Spectrum Disorders

In 2015,  The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders published a study demonstrating how karate “training leads to increased neural plasticity and thus increased capacity for learning and skill acquisition, which in turn leads to improvements in a variety of skills including communication skills.” The article, The Effect of Karate Techniques Training on Communication Deficit of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, has implications for the ways in which children with ASD are taught both on and off the mat!

As a result of having participated in the multi-author study, parents of the children shared:

  • ‘‘[He] speaks a little more, has developed his sentence structure, and uses more words correctly.’’
  • ‘‘He asks more questions than before.’’
  • ‘‘He pays more attention to the techniques [during instruction].’’
  • ‘‘He seems to interact with others more than before, takes part in group plays and tries to communicate with other children.’’ ‘
  • ‘He greets others more often.’’
  • ‘‘He says ‘Good bye.’’

Authors argue, “organized physical activity programming such as Karate training, especially when specifically tailored to children needs as in the present study, typically utilizes highly structured and patterned teaching methods while providing high levels of sensory stimulation.” We’ve always known this to be true and so it’s great to have a study showing it!

For more information on this article, click on the link above or contact the authors below:

Fatimah Bahrami;

Ahmadreza Movahedi

Sayed Mohammad Marandi

Carl Sorensen