Last Updated on October 25, 2011.
“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth
My grandson, Kyle, is a student of Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts. The skills Kyle has learned are manifold. He is more self-controlled, self-disciplined, patient, and attentive. He has learned to take orders and criticism. One big step for Kyle is that he works in a group setting and has contact with other students in the class of various backgrounds and personalities. Perhaps this does not sound extraordinary, except that Kyle is autistic.
Autistic traits are vastly different in each afflicted person. No eye contact, impaired social interactions, lack of communication, low attention span, body rocking, compulsive behavior, high stress levels, and poor body tone are some of them. Kyle has had most of these.
Kyle realizes he is different, and has made tremendous gains in his life at home and in school However, he wanted more. Kyle is an 18 year old young man “who never gives up.” Kyle asked if he could take karate and made the decision that Tiger Schulmann’s was the place he wanted to go for his martial arts training. He certainly picked the perfect setting.
Sensei sees each student as unique and sometimes must be harder on some than others. The tough problem is not in identifying winners: it is in making winners out of ordinary people. Kyle with all his special needs has without a doubt become triumphant.
Throughout the professional leadership of Sensei Peter Tirelli, Joshu Nicole Kumar, and Sempai Joel Bekker, Kyle has improved his social skills, his strength, overcame fear of communicating with other people and has even had the opportunity to lead the class. Kyle takes great pride in his accomplishments. He is learning leadership skills and is setting goals for himself. His self-esteem has skyrocketed. Kyle has gained a sense of pride. For a young adult with autistic disorder, these accomplishments are considered nearly impossible tasks.
The teaching, understanding, and praise Kyle receives at Tiger Schulmann’s from not only Sensei, but the entire class, has shown that it is possible to accomplish the nearly impossible.
I read that a Sensei does not ask for rewards. A Sensei’s reward is when his students improve and excel. Sensei Tirelli’s skill in teaching Kyle is something for which I will be forever grateful. I started with a quote from Babe Ruth because it reminds me of my grandson. I will end with a quote from Henry Brook Adams because it reminds me of what Kyle has been awarded at Tiger Schulmann’s by all of those involved.
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
With Heartfelt Gratitude,