Helping Children be Better People

Helping Children be Better People is Promoted by Relationship Between Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin and Great Strides Rehabilitation

By Christina Swanson

Chelsea loves practicing the high block, Cole likes saying “Kiai” (kee-yah) and Will takes a shine to kicking. Sounds like a typical elementary-school-aged kids’ response to beginning karate classes except these are children with special needs and the classes are just one way their rehabilitative school goes beyond the norm in expanding their daily learning process.

Great Strides Rehabilitation has been providing speech, physical and occupational therapy services for Northeast Florida for more than a decade with their main clinic, school and outpatient therapy support. Although they are located in Mandarin as part of the Jacksonville Pediatric Enrichment Center, their therapists also help children with disabilities at schools and medically fragile day care centers. Also located within this large Mandarin business complex on San Jose Boulevard is Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin, a mainstay in this area for 31 years.

Dr. Jon Edenfield, OTD, OTR/L, founder and executive director of Great Strides, wants his students to engage in a variety of leisure activities to help with their motor and social skills in a fun way. “Many special needs children have a hard time participating in sports teams or other typical activities such as riding a bike, and when they do, it can be a negative experience causing them to become self-conscious of their own behaviors which can lead to poor self-esteem,” said Edenfield.

When the students walk to the play ground each school day, they actually pass the Pak’s Academy building. One day about six months ago, when one of Pak’s owners, Master Christopher Tersak, saw the children, he approached the therapists with the group and struck up the idea of having the kids participate in some basic karate classes at no charge.

Edenfield already knew the benefits of karate for special needs children, especially those in the autism spectrum, in developing better balance, motor coordination, focus on a task, and improved eye contact and social skills. Tersak saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community and fulfill their core mission to extend the benefits of karate to all people, especially those with challenges and behavior issues.

“It’s all about form, discipline and focus rather than the physically aspect of fighting,” said Tersak. “Behavior is a huge part of advancing in karate…how they stand in line, address their instructors and interact with other students.”

“It’s inspiring to see how the instruction builds confidence to speak and perform in front of people which is one of life’s greatest fears even in adults,” explained Tersak. You see when the little ones first come here they are still holding onto mom’s leg; after three months they are standing in front of 300 people performing for their first belt.”

Working with the Great Strides’ students also challenges and grows Pak’s teachers to become more patient and understanding in their instruction methods. They are starting to receive feedback from the kids’ therapists and parents that the classes are showing a positive impact on the students’ everyday lives. “That is our payment because that is why we do it,” said Tersak.

Pak’s Academy is known for being family oriented where about 20 percent of the parents join their kids after they witness how beneficial learning the discipline of karate can be. “The greatest thing is to watch a father practicing moves with his child,” said Tersak. “We are in the business of developing community leaders in school and life, not just black belts. “ (The Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin — named after the grand master founder who has 150 schools world-wide and independently owned — was bought by two brothers who learned and have taught there for 20 years, Master Christopher and Master Nicholas Tersak, along with wife Angela Tersak.)

Recently, Edenfeld attended his students’ first ceremony at Pak’s Academy, watching six to eight year olds pay strict attention to instructions and beam with pride after breaking their first boards. “It’s obvious the children are really into it and their behavior and focus improvements are extending into other crucial communication areas as shared by their parents,” said Edenfield.

For more information about Pak’s of Mandarin call 262-8200 or go to paksmandarin.com; to reach Great Strides Rehab call 886-3228 or visit greatstridesrehab.com.

 

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What’s really rewarding is watching the student walk up with confidence and perform a task he wasn’t able to do 3 months ago…could be as simple as raising his arm in direction asked and turning in direction asked…simple achievement measure everything…domino effect in helping build confidence in all areas of learning.

 

 

Mike 614-9422 cell

 

Partnership between Pak and GS

 

2 sons… Master Christopher Tersak and M Nicholas Tersak and Angela Tersak all 3 own Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin (name of founder of martial arts form we teach has 150 schools all over the world all independently owned) (9 schools in Jax…(Grand M Song K. Pak) his main school is on blanding and at 77 he still runs main center and stops by and teaches students

Went for first ceremony … have to break a board… broke it 6 and 8 and they were beside themselves with pride and joy…60 kids in room and everyone paying strict attention and very respectful

In this environment our kids go over with therapist, one on one, with karate instructor and participate in familiar environment…not on display but there to have fun…kids loved it immediately…didn’t have money to pay for it…do classes for free

24 kids participating in short sessions about 30 mint…repetitive skills and learn a few each time…

 

 

School mission is to give back to community through ma instruction for sole purpose of Part of core mission to extend these benefits to all people….especially those with various challenges…behavior problems too…proper instruction is taught…we know from previous leadership and teaching for 15 years they know tremendous benefit and how to work with this type of the community…much more than physical … for kids with special needs it’s really all about focus

Working with GS about 3 months…3 classes each week before lunch break at no charge.

We benefit just from the fact that they are here and we are able to fulfill our mission of helping youth have a better start…

They do this because it is a passion…the GS part of this is core to the mission not core to the business…
it’s about giving back to a community that for 20 yrs has supported them. The core program itself doesn’t start until 8 years old…up until 8 learning self-conf and self-control part of it. “We have same expectations of them as any other student,”

Not typical karate school…very family oriented…in the business of developing community leaders not just black belts. “We develop leaders in school and in life.” About 20% of students, parents join curriculum…greatest thing to watch father doing m a with child”…have adult, kid and open classes…also based on age and belt rank…designed to support all ages

 

 

2 sons… Master Christopher Tersak and M Nicholas Tersak and Angela Tersak all 3 own Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin (name of founder of martial arts form we teach has 150 schools all over the world all independently owned) (9 schools in Jax…(Grand M Song K. Pak) his main school is on blanding and at 77 he still runs main center and stops by and teaches students

 

 

 

 

Located in Same complex as GS… students walk past building to go to play ground …talked with GS administrator…(also work with Center Academy) special needs kids…everything from ADD to autism

A recent and growing trend that has provided many benefits for children on the autism spectrum involves their engagement in karate and other martial arts.

A 2010 research project conducted by the University of Wisconsin physical therapy department confirmed what parents were already reporting — in the course of learning martial arts, children with autism essentially came out of their shells and grew more socially assertive and cooperative. They exhibited better balance and motor coordination, eye contact improved and play skills were further developed. Greater self-esteem was also reported, with the added bonus of these kids being able to defend themselves, if need be.

Karate and martial arts assist kids on the autism spectrum with the ability to concentrate and focus their attention in a consistent and highly structured environment. Additionally, parents find that new skills carry over into home and at school. The release of energy in a safe and ritualized environment can bring a child to a new sense of calm. Friendships are formed around a shared activity and that sense of belonging can be the greatest reward of all.

 

When most people think “karate”, they think self-defense moves and agile body. you may not realize the martial arts has proven to be beneficial for children with special needs, especially those with autism.

you think about karate, most people visualize self-defense moves and These children with autism spectrum are learning so much more than basic karate moves

Went for first ceremony … have to break a board… broke it 6 and 8 and they were beside themselves with pride and joy…60 kids in room and everyone paying strict attention and very respectful

In this environment our kids go over with therapist, one on one, with karate instructor and participate in familiar environment…not on display but there to have fun…kids loved it immediately…didn’t have money to pay for it…do classes for free

24 kids participating in short sessions about 30 mint…repetitive skills and learn a few each time…several kids really liking it and it is moving into improvements in other areas including communication skills…parents are telling us that the kids are sharing the experience with them…parents don’t get to share these types of experiences with their kids so now they get

School mission is to give back to community through ma instruction for sole purpose of leadership instruction…builds kids confidence to speak and perform in front of people…one of greatest fears even in adults…I know with my own kids…when 4 or 5 yrs old first come here and are still holding onto mom’s leg….3 months latter standing in front of 300 people performing for first belt

 

Forms, movement, discipline…how they stand in line, how address instructors and how they interact with other students…behavior is huge part of earning the belt and advancing…really taught how to avoid fighting…learn best way to solve situation and only if they have to they know how to defend themselves physically.

 

2 sons… Master Christopher Tersak and M Nicholas Tersak and Angela Tersak all 3 own Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin (name of founder of martial arts form we teach has 150 schools all over the world all independently owned) (9 schools in Jax…(Grand M Song K. Pak) his main school is on blanding and at 77 he still runs main center and stops by and teaches students

12276 San Jose Blvd., 262-8200

 

Chelsea is the child practicing the high block. Sofia is the instructor from GS. Nick is the Paks instructor.

 

Here are what the AL kids said when asked what their favorite part is about karate:

-Will likes kicking

-Cole likes saying “Kiai” (kee-yah)

-Quinn likes walking outside

-Caitlyn likes kicking

 

IL-B:

Molly said, “I like rolling on the mats.”

Gabe said, “My favorite part about it is the training and learning how to do karate chops.”

Lauren Albert M.Ed.

Educational Coordinator

Great Strides Rehabilitation

 

 

As we get relationship moving forward will develop system to even more indoctrinate the process…such as special tshirt or sash…recognition and reward will enhance activity even more…key is to differentiate this experience from others…relate to it differently

 

What’s really rewarding is watching the student walk up with confidence and perform a task he wasn’t able to do 3 months ago…could be as simple as raising his arm in direction asked and turning in direction asked…simple achievement measure everything…domino effect in helping build confidence in all areas of learning.

 

Jon asked me to reach out and see if you can write an article for us. We are partnering with Pak’s Karate here in mandarin and they are teaching karate to the children in our school. This has been a fantastic collaboration and has been amazing to see the progress with the kids.  . It’s a great story about two companies working together to help children with special needs

 

Jon was wondering if you can write the article not only for our newsletter but wants to submit it to Outside community as well such as the Mandarin Newsline and Jacksonville times union. Do you have suggestions how to get into those papers?

 

People to contact for this are :

 

Pak’s Karate- Angelina Tarsak , Owner  904.262.8200

 

Kaitlin Sparks at Great Strides – Therapist that takes the kids to the karate class ( can get pictures if needed )  904.886.3228

Lauren Albert at Great strides – Therapist that coordinates with Pak’s Karate  ( can get you pictures if needed)  904.886.3228

 

Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin is celebrating our 31st Year as Mandarin’s Premier Martial Arts Academy. We have a great family environment and invite you to visit our school, watch a class, and talk to our students and their families. Our Introductory program includes a personal class, a uniform and a group class for only $40 which we will take of your first month’s tuition. Give us a call at 904-262-8200 and schedule your visit to our school today. www.pakskarate.com/mandarinMartial Art Styles

The following Martial Arts Styles are offered at Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin:

  • Karate
  • Tang Soo Do

Programs & Class Schedule

We have classes for students ages 4 to 99, Monday through Saturday. Our tuition includes an unlimited number of classes per month with over 30 scheduled classes each week.

We invite you to visit our Academy and meet our staff of instructors and students. You may even try a class with no obligation (see our introductory program).

 

 

Over the past 10 years, Great Strides has achieved an excellent reputation amongst parents, support organizations and physicians. Our staff considers their job to be ‘a personal calling’. Great Strides therapists are dedicated to the Mission of improving the quality of life for children and their families. We provide effective, comprehensive treatment through an interdisciplinary collaborative approach.

Serving Northeast Florida, Great Strides Rehabilitation main clinic, school and outpatient therapy services are centrally located in Mandarin, a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida. For more info regarding our private school, please call us at 904.886.3228. We offer a customized therapy approach which includes individualized therapy, social skills groups, parent training, education seminars, support groups and Animal Assisted Therapy with our highly trained facility dog, Nantuckett.

In addition to our main clinic, our therapists provide quality services in numerous locations around Northeast Florida, including public/ private schools and medically fragile day care centers. speech physical and occupational therapy services

 

 

Mike Tarsak

Part of mission is to support community

Certain aspects of development are enhanced: focus, concentration, self-conf, discipline, respect…all corps tenants of martial arts…not about fighting but about self-development and by product is learning skills to defend yourself physically…how to engage in stuatuions properly and effectively…not always about fighting…if have self-control will handle challenges/bullying differently

 

Where GS comes into it is the understanding of self-con, focus…when do repetition and body movements along with thought you learn those aspects in certain cadence…learn routine, learn to pay attention

 

It’s a process of students of GS like any other group of students…learn respect, focus, then physical aspects of martial arts training

 

Involved in teaching/taking martial arts for 20 yrs…school itself in mandarin for 30 yrs…2 sons took school over when founding sons retired 2 yrs ago…from that point on continued mission to teach proper m a instruction for leadership development…it’s not lost on any level of student…same tenants apply…whether 2 or 7 years old

 

We do not change curriculum for GS students…learn exact same things in same manner….amazing how much they’ve progressed

 

School mission is to give back to community through ma instruction for sole purpose of leadership instruction…builds kids confidence to speak and perform in front of people…one of greatest fears even in adults…I know with my own kids…when 4 or 5 yrs old first come here and are still holding onto mom’s leg….3 months latter standing in front of 300 people performing for first belt

 

Forms, movement, discipline…how they stand in line, how address instructors and how they interact with other students…behavior is huge part of earning the belt and advancing…really taught how to avoid fighting…learn best way to solve situation and only if they have to they know how to defend themselves physically.

 

2 sons… Master Christopher Tersak and M Nicholas Tersak and Angela Tersak all 3 own Pak’s Karate Academy of Mandarin (name of founder of martial arts form we teach has 150 schools all over the world all independently owned) (9 schools in Jax…(Grand M Song K. Pak) his main school is on blanding and at 77 he still runs main center and stops by and teaches students

12276 San Jose Blvd., 262-8200

Located in Same complex as GS… students walk past building to go to play ground …talked with GS administrator…(also work with Center Academy) special needs kids…everything from ADD to autism

Beginning programs with elderly…do m a in chairs…physical part triggers mental part…even elderly with dementia benefit from extra thought and moving

Part of core mission to extend these benefits to all people….especially those with various challenges…behavior problems too…proper instruction is taught…we know from previous leadership and teaching for 15 years they know tremendous benefit and how to work with this type of the community…much more than physical … for kids with special needs it’s really all about focus

Working with GS about 3 months…3 classes each week before lunch break at no charge.

We benefit just from the fact that they are here and we are able to fulfill our mission of helping youth have a better start…

They do this because it is a passion…the GS part of this is core to the mission not core to the business…
it’s about giving back to a community that for 20 yrs has supported them. The core program itself doesn’t start until 8 years old…up until 8 learning self-conf and self-control part of it. “We have same expectations of them as any other student,”

Working with these students also challenges and grows our teachers to become more patient and understanding.

Not typical karate school…very family oriented…in the business of developing community leaders not just black belts. “We develop leaders in school and in life.” About 20% of students, parents join curriculum…greatest thing to watch father doing m a with child”…have adult, kid and open classes…also based on age and belt rank…designed to support all ages

We’re starting to receive feedback from therapists that it is showing impact in students. “That is our payment because that is why we do it.”

Paksmandarin.com to see class schedule

Each student has clinitian come with them and do routines with them until they want to perform on their own stand next to them to help if needed like an angel over their shoulder…if triggers a behavior we’re not prepared for clinitian can handle…clinitian can step back if see student is enjoying the process…once see clinitian is observer, you know you’ve made progress.

 

Jon:

Went for first ceremony … have to break a board… broke it 6 and 8 and they were beside themselves with pride and joy…60 kids in room and everyone paying strict attention and very respectful

Always tried to involve our kids in various leisure skills for various reasons…many time kids on spectrum have limited repertioir of fun skills to begin with…other children their age to such things as participating in sports teams or riding a bike, but because of their behavior of having poor motor skills have a hard time participating in routine activities…many times it is a negative experience for the kids…they can be ridiculed…can become self-conscious of own behaviors leads to poor self-esteem

In this environment our kids go over with therapist, one on one, with karate instructor and participate in familiar environment…not on display but there to have fun…kids loved it immediately…didn’t have money to pay for it…do classes for free

24 kids participating in short sessions about 30 mint…repetitive skills and learn a few each time…several kids really liking it and it is moving into improvements in other areas including communication skills…parents are telling us that the kids are sharing the experience with them…parents don’t get to share these types of experiences with their kids so now they get

 

By Spring have 7 PPECs…exclusive contract to all of them…competition fosters improvement and equality…everyone wants to be the best

Open house for parents and community…remodeling project replace flooring and paint entire building

One more piece of the puzzle for their global therapy program…don’t just drill academic skills…improves quality of life…one more way your child can receive one on one guidance through partnership with business who cares about special needs cares…GS Rehab Excellence Award…give to people who help children with special needs…our goal is to get them to a point where they can participate in typical school…will be presenting plaque to Pak’s

Takes special person to adapt to being around someone with special needs…good collaborative effort

Shape positive behaviors to ultimately be better people for it

 

The Mandarin Newsline

Martial Arts Proven Beneficial for Individuals with Autism

A recent and growing trend that has provided many benefits for children on the autism spectrum involves their engagement in karate and other martial arts.

A 2010 research project conducted by the University of Wisconsin physical therapy department confirmed what parents were already reporting — in the course of learning martial arts, children with autism essentially came out of their shells and grew more socially assertive and cooperative. They exhibited better balance and motor coordination, eye contact improved and play skills were further developed. Greater self-esteem was also reported, with the added bonus of these kids being able to defend themselves, if need be.

Karate and martial arts assist kids on the autism spectrum with the ability to concentrate and focus their attention in a consistent and highly structured environment. Additionally, parents find that new skills carry over into home and at school. The release of energy in a safe and ritualized environment can bring a child to a new sense of calm. Friendships are formed around a shared activity and that sense of belonging can be the greatest reward of all.

If contemplating martial arts for your child, it’s always good to consult with his or her doctor prior to beginning any physical training. Observe the class before committing your child to it. It should be small and solely for children with autism, at least initially. Higher functioning children may be able to integrate into regular classes immediately. Confer with the instructor about your child’s needs and make sure you feel you can successfully partner with them.

Once your child is underway, have them practice at home in a no pressure environment and offer encouragement and reinforcement for the moves they have already learned. A demonstration for siblings or other relatives will also go a long way in building confidence and self-esteem.

Martial arts offers therapeutic rewards and parents will enjoy the fact that their child can participate in activities that other kids take for granted. And with summer fast approaching, it just may be the perfect activity to consider. By Susan Moffitt at autismkey.com