“Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and I LEARN!"
CORE 4 FITNESS
“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 Core 4 Fitness program is designed to provide teenagers with ASD a comprehensive introduction to exercise and well-being. This class is specifically designed for, but not limited to, children and teens on the Autism Spectrum. All classes are open to the general public.
Through recent studies*, people with autism are no different from anyone else when it comes to the relationship between exercise and well-being. The sedentary autistic child becomes a sedentary teen and adult. Without exercise, people with autism are at the same risk as everyone else for issues such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure (to name just a few possible outcomes). Unlike many other people, though, folks with autism may not be sedentary out of choice, but rather because they are not encouraged or supported in physical activities that might be right for them. Physical activity can promote self-esteem, increase general levels of happiness and can lead to positive social outcomes, all highly beneficial outcomes for individuals with autism.
The primary or “Core 4” benefits your children will experience from participation in this program are as follows:
Social Skills - This program will provide a safe place to meet new friends with structure built in that will assist in creating positive interactions. Additionally, there will be a component of teaching situational social interactions and our instructors will model / guide the participants through these drills. Ultimately, as each given group of classmates becomes familiar with each other, camaraderie among them will increase and a team atmosphere will emerge.
Confidence - This program will excite and challenge each of the participants that choose to attend. The instructors draw out as much energy and focus as any student can bring during a given class. As students become familiar with the drills, as they begin to learn the expectations of the instructors and as they become familiar with their teammates, confidence will breed. What we have noticed from experiences in the "Jujitsu Buddies" program is that our students begin to take the confidence that they gain during class out into the world with them. We are excited to share this with the kids in the "Core 4" program and we anticipate similar results.
Strength - The "Core 4" program will exact drills during each class which enhance a participant’s physical and mental strength. We believe that each of our students can learn about themselves through attempting the training sets that we utilize and achieve some measure of personal growth. There will be physical, focus, team and awareness drills during each class.
Coordination - Although it is listed last, coordination is something that the "Core 4" program is very dedicated to enhancing in its students. Specifically, drills related to fine motor skills, awareness and movement in small or large areas are detailed. Additionally, we focus on techniques of running, walking, standing with good posture, balancing in difficult situations and the use various muscle groups.
Ultimately, we aim to help each of our participants take strides in personal development. Experience in our other programs shows that this training will draw out and assist in maximizing any given participants abilities. This program combines many of the attributes that young people need to be successful in life and it’s a platform to learn skills that can be used forever. We are excited for your interest and we appreciate being considered as a service option.
Core 4 Fitness is a program that is offered during the summer only. * Core 4 Fitness is eligible for family cash reimbursement to those who participate in that program.
Summer Session Dates: July: 9, 16, 23 and 30 / August: 6 and 13th
Time: 6:15pm - 7:00pm
Where: Strike Back Martial Arts
55 East Main Street
, Webster, NY 14580
Students should wear gym class type clothing – shorts / sweatpants, t-shirt, and sneakers
"My daughter participated in the first Core 4 Teen Program, and our family was extremely pleased with the entire experience. The instructors completely accept teens on the spectrum, and work to help them progress. They spent time talking about relevant life issues and the kids felt comfortable and a part of a special group. There was a real camaraderie among the group and absolutely no negativity. The instructors used humor and encouragement to inspire and motivate the kids, and they all worked hard and progressed beautifully. My daughter is able to do things, physically, that I would never have thought her capable of before participating in the program, and she is growing so much more comfortable in the group setting than she used to be. When she had issues on the bus after the program, she even asked me to ask her instructors for advice! They've connected with her in such great ways, and she thinks so highly of them! They've become her friends as well as supporters, and I am thrilled that we chose to take part in the program. I highly recommend it to any family of a child on the spectrum, no matter what his/her ability."
"We are so glad we made the choice to join the group. It makes a huge difference as a parent to work with people that are professional and openly communicate with us. It is very important to us that Dayne gets opportunities that others do but in the atmosphere that understands him. Thanks again and see you soon."
"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
Instructor Pam Wright has a 30 year background teaching fitness and almost 20 years teaching the martial arts to both children and adults. Pam holds a 4th degree black belt in Karate and an advanced brown belt in Jujitsu. She brings her extensive experience to one of our newer programs, Core 4 Fitness. Core 4 Fitness is a program for teens with ASD which helps them improve their overall core strength, balance, coordination and social skills. Pam is also involved in teaching the younger kids with ASD in our Jujitsu Buddies program. “I love helping children and teens explore their limits through physical fitness and games. Strike Back Martial Arts is the perfect place for that.”
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.