Martial Arts Help Student Gain Confidence

Master Ken Smith and Dylan Moore.

Local student Dylan Moore has used the martial arts to help him overcome his disabilities. Now 15, Moore suffered a stroke before he was 24 hours old. He has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other disorders. He has undergone tendon surgeries and numerous other procedures.

Moore currently attends Seagull’s SAIL Academy in West Palm Beach. He had expressed an interest in the martial arts before meeting Master Ken Smith of Master Ken Martial Arts Academy in Royal Palm Beach. Smith was willing to work with Moore, and his limitations, to teach him the martial arts. Less than six months ago, Moore began taking classes.

“He has got a great sense of humor, and he really does love doing the martial arts,” Smith said. “He does the absolute best that he can.”

Toward the end of June, he advanced from his white belt to yellow belt.

“He was genuinely affected by the sense of accomplishment,” Smith said, noting that those with special needs have additional hurdles to overcome. “The effort is nothing short of Herculean.”

Moore’s focus and concentration have improved through the martial arts, Smith said, as well as his sense of balance.

“He’s used to living in a very structured environment, and for someone like Dylan to take a chance outside of the normal routine of his life is extraordinary. In truth, he and I have developed a pretty cool little friendship over it,” Smith said.

Movement is critical, he said.

“Especially, the way we do things at our school here. For example, the bar is an individual bar of excellence,” Smith said. “There’s no arbitrary standard where I say, ‘You have to kick this high to get to the next level.’ Well, maybe a person isn’t capable of doing that because of a surgery, or maybe their hip structure is just different. Everyone is an individual, and everyone has their strengths, and those areas of needed improvement that we can work on.”

Moore’s family is proud of his accomplishments and have noticed an improvement in his balance.