Rabbi G’s story was recently featured in USA Today, but he would say it is all about the kids.  His dojo is not a typical martial arts center, because he has made it his mission to serve those who can most benefit from the classes.  His efforts are known as Kids Kicking Cancer and he is based in Michigan.

Fighting Fear Cancer may be a physical condition, but you can be certain that it also has many emotional effects on those diagnosed.  Children suffering with cancer will often admit that fear is a big part of their illness, and the program focuses on helping them deal with the stress and fear, but also the anger that can weigh on them during the treatment process.  Martial arts does place a lot of emphasis on uniting the physical-, mental-, and emotional, and strengthening all three.  Meditation and breathing exercises, but also successes in the class can make the child feel more in power of the illness.  It can also help them sit still through MRIs, other scans, and the drawing of blood.

Socializing and Empathizing The classes are specifically for children having received a cancer diagnosis, so all of the students have that in common.  They are presented with a group that understands what they are contending with.  That empathy and the chance to socialize with understanding peers is very valuable.

Building Relationships It’s not just the kids who are going to build relationships during the martial arts classes.  The instructors become much more than teachers.  They are friends, confidants, and mentors in other areas of life.

Learning to Breathe Perhaps the best part of the article by USA Today was that which mentioned how this idea was born.  When the martial artist, while working in the hospital, came upon a five year old cancer patient receiving chemotherapy medications via his port, it was clear that the child was terrified.  He fought wildly against the three nurses attempting to deliver the treatment.  He asked the child if he would like to learn karate, in a moment of inspiration.  And, he taught him.  Just some basic moves and breathing exercises, but the time was well spent.  Before the child realized it, the medicine had been delivered.

It has been acknowledged for many years that martial arts education can provide children with many advantages in life, but this story just goes to show how very powerful these ancient movements and philosophies can be.