Tiger Schulmann’s Martial Arts Provides Winning Results for Smithtown’s Clinton Moore

by Keith Gehshan

At about 1 week old Clinton was diagnosed with Vocal Cord Paralysis and had surgery at 3 weeks old for a tracheostomy.  He had his tracheostomy for about 3 years which didn’t come without its own challenges. We attempted 3 times to remove the trach after 2 surgeries and finally after the 4th attempt in 2010 – it was gone!!!  Although he no longer needed his trach – giving it up after 3 years was a major accomplishment considering that he had it since he was born.

When Clint was about 2 he was diagnosed with low muscle tone and he was given PT, OT and speech therapy through early intervention. PT and OT because of the LMT and ST for the delay in speech due to the tracheostomy.  He had all 3 services until he started elementary school where he now receives only PT because of the great progress he has made.



We have never kept Clint from doing any activities that any other kid would do because of his tracheostomy (except swimming). If the other kids did it Clint wanted to do it too and he didn’t let the tracheostomy or the low muscle tone get in his way. He may have not been able to do it as well as the others but he was certainly going to try.

Although Clinton wouldn’t allow his medical issues determine his limitations he did have difficulties with balance, walking and running which limited the distance he could walk and run and his balance issues would often lead to him falling frequently.

When Clint started school he was assigned an aide to help him throughout the day in the classroom and to get around the school, to and from lunch and specials.

In 1st grade, when most kids are starting to play a sport – or already have- there wasn’t much that came to mind which would be suitable for Clint considering his muscle tone issues.  Football, soccer and baseball are team related and would require a lot of running, strength and/or balance. We needed to find a sport that he would be capable of.  At the same time I didn’t want to put him into a sport that would have him sit on the bench because he couldn’t perform like his teammates. This was not what I pictured as a boost of confidence for him. Then Clint started to show an interest in karate.




Not sure what sparked his interest but I ran with it.  Individual development, helps with balance, builds confidence, creates self discipline, works on focus, teaches self defense; it’s a win, win, win, win, win, win for him. In September 2013, about 3 years after Clint was decannulated (trach removal) we visited the local Huntington Festival where we met Alex from TSMMA, Smithtown and he offered us to come for a free class. The following Tuesday we showed up for that first class and Clint loved it regardless of how many times he fell down and how far off his balance was.  We came for a 2nd trial class and it was at that class it was official – Clint got his uniform and it was an awesome day for him. He was very proud and walked out more confident than when he walked in. At the same time, Clint was still receiving services for  PT/OT in school to help with his balance and also private PT after school. We started at TSMMA with 2 days per week.  About a year later we discontinued the private PT, which wasn’t helping him much and increased his training to 3 days per week. Clint has been trying for about 3 years and we have seen a huge improvement in his balance and strength. He was always very social and has earned the nickname of “The Mayor”, so shyness has never been an issue for Clint. However, his confidence needed some work, with the assurance from Sensei during class it has helped him gain the confidence of what he can achieve and accomplish.

Lauri Moore