Practitioners Explore the Benefits of Combat Sport Training for Students with Autism

bjj-treatment-autismExercise is a well-known and effective treatment for people with autism, but are some forms of exercise particularly well suited?

Some martial arts experts think so.

Coaches are noticing the benefits of training in martial arts like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for people with autism.

  • Though autistic people are often thought to be clumsy, this can go away with practice and autistic students can develop a “high level of grace and power” in combat sports.
  • Training in a discipline like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can be a safe and productive outlet for aggression that’s sometimes associated with autism.
  • Intense physical pressure, such as that found in combat sports, can be tolerated better by many autistic people.
  • Opportunity to socialize and participate in a group.

As some note, there are areas of caution for coaches and trainers as well. For example, an autistic person may ignore an injury, so coaches need to be particularly sensitive in this area.

Practitioners acknowledge that there are no direct studies showing the benefits of martial arts or jiu jitsu for autistic students, and they stress that parents should consult with their doctor to find out if martial arts training would be appropriate for their child’s particular condition.