Breaking Barriers Martial Arts Helps Disabled Students
This same sentiment can be felt at every level of Breaking Barriers Martial Arts. The instructors at the school are made up of family friends, people who have worked with children with disabilities, and acquaintances from Turnbull’s classes. The community is supportive as well – Katarina tells me that this past August the school held its first tournament along with a fundraiser that had a large turnout and received a great deal of support.
In addition to all the help she has received from her friends and the community, she emphasizes that her parents have been her biggest support system. “They really have shown me the way. I mean, this program wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
When asked about difficulties, Katarina answers like any other teacher would – that it can be a challenge to give each student the attention they deserve. Breaking Barriers Martial Arts strives to cater classes to individual student needs, and this adds to the challenge that instructors normally face. With her students, it is important to adapt the program to fit different abilities. She has help in this area from her organization’s roots – for instance, A.A.U. Taekwondo’s system for wheel chair sparring provides valuable knowledge and techniques for her school to draw from.
With Katarina’s experience, it’s not hard to see why she would say that “knowledge is power” when it comes to disability. This seems to be the driving force behind Breaking Barriers Martial Arts – to give disabled students, their families, and the community more knowledge and therefore more power. Katarina feels the public is becoming more accepting of disability, but that people should try to understand it better in order to make even further progress. One of her two brothers was just accepted to college, which gives her a strong case for saying,
“They’re just people like us – they have dreams, they have wants, they have needs, they are smart, they just have a different pathway of getting there.” Breaking Barriers strives to provide that pathway.