Akram Geelani, director of Northwest Ohio Japan Karate Academy, knows that when he teaches children martial arts, they learn more than just physical movement and routines. One of the only martial arts instructors from this area certified to teach children diagnosed with conditions of Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Asperger’s syndrome, Geelani trains these special students to focus, center themselves, breath, concentrate on conquering mental and physical road blocks, by setting and acheiving attainable goals.
“Every child is different,” Geelani says, “but I believe in being strict, firm, and fair to everyone…to help build the kids, to (help them) focus and be successful in their lives (to avoid) becoming a statistic.” Children with special needs of Summit Academy School are taught by Geelani, who continues to attend seminars, programs and certification classes, always striving to become the best teacher that he can be for all of his students. “It is hard to keep the interest of these children and to keep them motivated,” he says. But by staying positive, and developing trusting relationships with each of his students, Geelani says, “it is unbelievable the change that you can see in these children.”
Geelani has been teaching Shotokan Karate, one of the four traditional karate styles which includes basic movements, pattern work and sparring. In addition to Shotokan, Geelani also offers instruction in mixed martial arts, the ancient art of Iaido (a Japanese discipline of swordsmanship that encourages spiritual development as well as combat effectiveness), and other disciplines.
Japan Karate has locations on Laskey Road, on International Dr. in Holland, at the Tiffan Mall, and in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Visit www.japankarateacademy.com for more information.