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We are receiving a lot of inquiries from parents who's children have ADHD or Autism. We would like to share some thoughts about how Martial Arts in general and Exeter Self-Defence Academy in particular can help if you or your children have special requirements.




Autism spectrum disorders often affect child's communication and social interaction skills, as well as gross motor impairments. Team games such as hockey, basketball or football, which are easy for some children, will be especially difficult for children with autism. A child with autism is better suited for individual sports, including Martial Arts.




​Many parents have a stereotype that playing sports will tire their kids out so they won’t be hyperactive at home. What parents need to understand is that child’s hyperactivity doesn’t come from the excess of energy, their behaviour is due to unstable nervous system that needs to discharge.


A child with ADHD does not need to exercise to get tired. Sports help these children:


  • give a discharge to the nervous system and calm down 

  • learn how to interact with peers and adults, for example, a coach;

  • strengthen the body

  • increase confidence


It is also worth mentioning that professional sports involve a lot of hard work and constant stress. Therefore, training for children with ADHD and autism should be focused on general strengthening, and not on high results. 


How can Martial arts help?


Parents of children with ADHD and autism sooner or later come to the conclusion that their child needs sports to channel his/her energy in a peaceful way. It does make sense. However it is very important that a child with hyperactivity was given the right motivation. After all, if he/she does not want to train, then you can forget about sports.


Self-control, discipline and respect are just some of the few skills that martial arts students develop. Students master each type of martial art step by step and they do not have time to be distracted by other things. One surprising benefit of martial arts is rituals which help children with ADHD and autism learn to accept, develop, and use routines in different life situations. Confidence building is another big reason to enrol your child in Martial Arts!


Why choose Exeter Self-Defence Academy? 


When choosing a club, remember that the coach is essential. Unfortunately not so many coaches know much about ADHD and autism, so it's important that you talk to them about your child beforehand. In Exeter Self-Defence Academy we work with kids who have ADHD and autism on regular basis, both in groups and individually. We have been working with South West Autism and CHYME (Children & Young People’s Mental Health Collaboration) and helped many kids. You wouldn’t have to explain to us about how easily these kids can lose their focus and that forcing a child to run 15 extra circles for being distracted will not help, but will only humiliate him. 


We believe that in Martial Arts club your child should be able to build relationships with the coach and other students, and work on self-esteem outside the classroom, not increase his/her anxiety and stress.


If you think that we can help you and your child, please reach out, we are always there to help,

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