“Do not fear people with Autism, embrace them, Do not spite people with Autism unite them, Do not deny people with Autism accept them for then their abilities will shine”
― Paul Isaacs
The Jujitsu Buddies program is an adaptive Jujitsu program designed for children that benefit from more individualized and self-paced instruction. All classes are open to the general public.
Some of the benefits your children will experience from participation in this program are as follows:
Relaxation breathing techniques, practice of multiple step directions (chaining) to improve auditory processing skills.
Personal space training and activities, movement skills (for group settings)
Understanding social cues (taking turns, waiting in line at attention), support and guidance with verbal and non-verbal communication
Individual and group exercise, completing curriculum tasks (mitt holding, striking, stance work), promotion of positive “never give up attitude”
Gross and fine motor skills (striking, movement drills, core specific exercises)
Promotion of the concept “let’s try something new”, building skills such as “making eye contact” and “formal introductions”
Good touch/ Bad touch discussion; presentations from uniformed officers (fire, police), and knowledge and repetition of basic skills (Name, Address, phone, parents names)
Large and small group activities; learning each role in a given drill and understanding the importance of each task.
When *(dates may be subject to change):
Winter Session (9 classes):
March: 10, 17, and 24
April: 14, 21 and 28
May: 5, 12 and 19
Note: Level 1 minimum class size is 4 and maximum is 8
Where: Strike Back Martial Arts located at 55 East Main Street, Webster, NY 14580, 585-236-1083.
Time: 10:15am - 11:00am (Level 1)
12:15pm - 1:00pm (Level 1)
11:15am - 12:00pm (Level 2)
Students should wear gym class type clothing – shorts / sweatpants, t-shirt, and sneakers
Since my son Jake began Jujitsu lessons under the instruction of Mike Palmer in 2011, he has made noticeable gains in regards to his confidence, motivation, and gross motor skills. Over the years Jake has tried various other organized activities and he has never experienced this type of success. Jake has Autism PDD-NOS, so it has been extremely difficult to find activities, especially physical activities that would hold his interest for any length of time. Jujitsu has allowed Jake to discover that physical activity can not only be fun but also be good for both his body and mind!
His concentration and muscle strength/tone have greatly improved, affording him a routine form of physical activity that is extremely difficult to accomplish for children on the spectrum. It has also given him the opportunity to have something in common with his normally developed twin brother who has been taking Karate for over eight years. There were many times where Jake would watch his brother and express an interest (in Martial Arts) but due to his disability, the appropriate support was virtually nonexistent in the traditional class setting. This program has been able to meet Jake’s needs by providing more individualized instruction in an environment that makes him feel secure. Mike’s instructional style also grants opportunities for higher repetitions than a traditional class would offer. The additional repetitions have had a great effect on Jake’s ability to grasp the techniques being taught.
Kristine Barrett, BA, RRT
Clinical Supervisor of Respiratory Care
Unity Health System
Mike Palmer is an accomplished martial artist who holds Instructor ranks in multiple art forms including Jujitsu (2nd degree) and Karate (2nd degree). Mike has also advanced knowledge of Boxing, Muay Thai, Judo and Wrestling. Mike’s 16 years of experience has given him an extremely comprehensive view of the entire martial arts picture. All of the previous experience listed provided Mike the knowledge and confidence to develop his own art form (Strike Back Martial Arts).
In Mike’s (day-time) professional career, he has worked in the Human Service field at EPI for over 10 years. EPI serves the Autism population as well as other developmentally disabled individuals. Mike has provided years of direct support with participants in his programs at EPI and has also managed several programs that assist in skill building such as advocacy, empowerment, attaining personal goals and independence. All of this experience has given Mike an expertise with the ASD/ DD population. Mike currently holds the title “Community Services Supervisor” and manages a Certified Day Program Facility as well as a Community Habilitation Program. Over the course of Mike’s tenure providing direct care service and managing programs, Mike has attended multiple trainings on ASD and many other DD diagnoses. Mike has accumulated an extremely diverse set of skills through constant strategy trainings, personal interactions and the general study of this population.
Over the past few years Mike has merged both sets of skills that he possesses and specifically sought out opportunities to teach children with ASD. The results have been extremely positive and the benefits from the training have been apparent. Throughout the time spent teaching individuals in the ASD population, Mike compiled information from each class (strategies that worked, strategies that did not work, communication styles, cueing, curriculum pacing, etc.). This compilation of data became the framework for “Jujitsu Buddies”.
Ultimately, Mike has a very passionate view on helping people attain their goals and does not believe in the misconception that “people with disabilities can’t”. Mike believes very strongly that the benefits of martial arts training to children with ASD are nearly limitless.
Dave Nicchitta has been involved in martial arts since 1999 and holds instructor ranks in Jujitsu (2nd degree) and Functional Self-Protection / Combative Self-Defense. Dave has studied and has extensive knowledge in other areas as well such as wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai and Risk Assessment. Dave’s experience, knowledge and desire to help others led him to establishing and opening Strike Back Martial Arts in Webster, where he and fellow owner, Mike Palmer have developed their own training system.
Dave has worked for over 10 years as a member of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Road Patrol and recently was assigned to the Property & Evidence Unit. Dave has gained invaluable experience dealing with people of all ages in a multitude of situations. Being able to think on his feet and adapt to situations as they change has made Dave successful and respected in his job. Dave has volunteered in organizations such as Special Olympics, The School of the Holy Childhood and UNYFEAT (now AutismUP).
Dave’s experience with ASD and those who have it became very personal for him and his wife when in the summer of 2011 their son, Christopher, age 4, received an Autism spectrum diagnosis. Like other parents whose children are newly diagnosed, it made Dave want to educate himself about ASD to help with his job as a parent and advocate for his son. This new perspective also helped Dave in his role as a police officer when dealing with individuals in the community. In an attempt to bring martial arts into Christopher’s life, as Dave had done with his daughter, Dave enrolled Christopher in a karate program. This program was not a good fit for him. It wasn’t until recently that Dave’s son expressed an interest in “going to class” like his sister. Christopher was introduced to “Sensei Palmer” and started attending the Junior Jujitsu program regularly. Mike’s ability to communicate with Christopher and make him feel comfortable has given Christopher the confidence to do things he previously may not have done. You can see the positive results: it is evident in the pride Christopher has in himself when he accomplishes something new in class. Exposing martial arts to someone with ASD and seeing the benefits that occur from that experience firsthand made Dave want to offer a martial arts program to other kids with ASD who may benefit too but have nowhere to go.