Tiger Schulmann’s

My Son Struggled With Autism, Bullying, And Insecurities, But TSK Helped Him Grow to a Strong Young Adult

Last Updated on April 22, 2022.

We sat down with Kim, who, along with her son (Nick) attends Tiger Schulmann’s kickboxing classes. She wanted to share their story in the hopes that it will help others, particularly children on the autism spectrum.


I still remember that day 9 years ago, as if it was yesterday. I walked into Tiger Schulmann’s with my, then 5-year-old son — a nervous wreck.

Had I only known then what I know now, the only thing I would have done differently is signed him up sooner. But, all I can do is be thankful that the road led us to Tiger Schulmann’s, as we’ve been here ever since.

That’s why I wanted to put my story out there, in the hopes that it will help other parents and their children, especially if they are on the autism spectrum. So, please bear with me as I tell you the tale of Nick’s amazing physical and mental transformation.

The Starting Point

Nick was diagnosed as autistic at a very young age, and, like every other mother, I wanted to do everything in my power to make his life easier. Immediately, I decided to take a proactive approach to his growth and limit his reliance on medication as much as I could.

So, we took his physical development quite seriously and enrolled him in various types of classes we heard of from other parents. We tried out so many things: dance lessons, gymnastics — but nothing worked. 

So, when a good friend of mine told me about Tiger Schulmann’s, I thought to myself “Okay, another thing that we can try, even though it probably won’t stick.” Little did I know that, nine years later, he’d grow and evolve into something completely different — a strong, powerful tiger.

A Complete 180

Nick used to be this shy, scared child, always keeping his head low and struggling to focus. Another problem we had was that he couldn’t find anything to connect to, and no activity or sport could pique his interest. So he wouldn’t listen or follow instructions.

So, when I first saw him interact with sensei — I was floored. The way he would cling to every word he said, and do his best to replicate the movements, was like nothing I had ever seen from him. The sessions were such a release for him.

“Kickboxing put Nick in this calm headspace, it was almost like a meditation for him.”

As parents who have children with autism know too well, they need constant stimulation, and this is the only thing that I’ve found that keeps him interested and grounds him.

Nick has now been a part of TSMA for the better part of a decade, and it’s written all over him. You can see it in the way he walks with confidence, attracts friends, and stands up for himself and those around him. From a shy, insecure kid that didn’t know how to handle life’s situations, and walk through life — he’s grown up to be a strong, healthy tiger. 

The Moment It Clicked

The thing is, I don’t even really know when the transformation happened, but it started that first day at Tiger Schulmann’s. Since then, he would do his best in everything he does, and finally started to become proud of himself. It just clicked —  the life lessons, the mindset of the tiger, and the confidence and strength that goes along with it.

He’s now a teenager, who has the muscle tone and stamina of an athlete in his prime. Nick has even grown to love competing, and watching him go through TSMMA challenges and belt promotions has been truly special for both of us.

Not to mention, as a brown belt, he takes on and grapples with grown men, some of whom are even black belts.

Tiger Schulmann’s — Our Second Home

Ever since that first day at Tiger Schulmann’s, I knew there was something special about kickboxing, and its potential to help kids with autism. However, it was still difficult to have complete faith in that anyone would be able to reel Nick in, well at least it was until I got to know our sensei.

“Don’t get me wrong, the way everything is organized and structured is amazing, but the coaches are what makes Tiger Schulmann’s the best kickboxing gym.”

The way they connect to all students, big and small, young and old, it’s unlike anything I have ever experienced. They push everyone to reach their goals constantly, while always giving them something to strive for. Not to mention, they somehow manage to build your confidence up, while making your feet stay close to the ground.

Even I would sometimes have doubts about whether or not Nick could do some competitions, or if he was ready for a belt promotion. But, when it comes to kickboxing, I always value the opinion of his sensei.

His sensei knows him, and I know he would never put him in a situation to fail or feel bad for himself.

Over the years, we have truly become like a family. All of us have grown to have a sense of community, friendship, and mentorship with each other, and the senseis even have special nicknames for the kids. That’s why Nick also goes by lupo (Italian for lone wolf) at the gym.

My Own Transformation

While I don’t want to take any attention away from my son, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how amazing kickboxing can be for adults too. I’m almost 50 years old, have had two kids, and thanks to Tiger Schulmann’s — I have never felt better in my life.

“In what now seems like a past life, I was over 200 pounds, constantly in pain, and forcing myself to do diets and workouts that didn’t do anything for me. Now, I’m in the best shape of my life, I take part in competitions, and even teach a class — even though I have a knee injury.”

I know what to eat, how to train, have an amazing self of sense, and couldn’t be happier that I joined in on the fun. Besides, I’m down 14 pounds in just two months, and now know how to fend for myself.

To All Parents Out There 

Take it from a former skeptic, you have nothing to lose if you sign your child (or yourself up) up for Tiger Schulmann’s kickboxing lessons. It is what has allowed me to keep Nick off of medications while building his confidence and strength. 

If it weren’t for TSMA, and its amazing coaches, my son would still be that insecure, bullied kid without a sense of purpose or self. Now, if push ever comes to show, I know that he will be confident and strong enough to stand up for himself — and that’s what Tiger Schulmann’s has done for us.

Several kids from our lives have already joined and grown to love kickboxing. If you want to be one of them, feel free to call 800-867-1218 or fill out the form at https://tsk.com/ to schedule a free class today!