Wado-ryu Karate for hyperactive children

Karate practice is therapeutic for hyperactive children and for the ones who have behavioral disorders. This is the evidence from a research published on “International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology” conducted with 16 children, aged eight to ten years, with diagnosis of opposing-provocative disorders (persistent tendency to be irritable, angry, miserable, or vindictive and to challenge and provoke adults).

The children were divided into two groups of eight: one group received no treatment at all while the other eight children were placed in a karate course (Wado-ryu style) together with other peers for a period of ten months. Result: in children who have practiced karate, a significant improvement has been observed regarding the intensity, adaptability and ability to regulate their emotional states.


According to the authors of the study, karate practice can be a valuable therapeutic resource for several issues of the age of development and adolescence such as behavioral disorders, aggression, hyperactivity deficiency disorder (ADHD), Autism, social phobia and anxiety-depressive syndromes. According to Gloria Dal Forno, neurologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin, the effectiveness of karate on behavior, attention, and concentration disorders is an expression of the ability of the martial art to affect the plasticity of the nervous system.

Karate, originally conceived in the island of Okinawa and influenced by the Chinese kempo, had spread to the rest of Japan (and then around the world) in the twenties of the last century by master Gichin Funakoshi, who conceived it as a system of inner discipline. The name of this martial art means “empty hand”. The term “kara” (empty) is also to indicate that the practitioner of karate should empty his mind from pride, vanity, fear, and desire to overwhelm. The Wado-ryu style was founded by Otsuka master.

(From Mente&Cervello n° 35, November 2007)

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