A strong family values oriented dojo

“A True Inspiration – Martin Parker Junior Karate-ka” Article from “The Review” from Cerebral Palsy Society Magazine – June 2014

As a family, we are keen to encourage Martin’s sporting activities. He is in Riding for the Disabled at Silverstream in Upper Hutt, has regular swimming lessons with the nearby Conductive Education centre, and he enjoys riding his trike at weekends (usually racing his twin brother and younger sister). Martin initially became interested in Karate after hearing about it from his friends at Dyer St primary school, and a somewhat misleading impression gained from watching the ‘Lego Ninjago’ cartoons! Initially I was more than a bit doubtful about the practicalities of his participation. But after reviewing the timing of lessons at the local Seido dojo, and emails with Sensei Ken Szeto, in September 2013 I started taking him along to the Saturday morning sessions for children. Sensei Ken has been highly supportive in encouraging Martin to take part. Martin even has a featured post on the dojo’s website.We worked out the best way for Martin to participate was for me to steady him under his armpits, so he is able to stand up (with his usual leg splints) and his arms are free to block and punch. There is a lot of running in the dojo, and this way Martin can also be supported to move his legs – I try very hard to avoid lifting him. There are also crawling exercises, which he can handle on his own. After observing the way I hold him, the sempai (senior adult students) in the dojo now also take turns to steady Martin when he is learning the 3-step and 20-step kata (a series of moves and punches). That way I can sit on the sidelines with the other parents, and rest my back!

Martin is a very enthusiastic and cheerful student, and he has a loud and distinctive “kiai!” yell when he completes a kata. The exercises definitely tire him, though his stamina seems to be improving. After the lessons he enjoys a restorative chocolate milk with me at a nearby cafe – by that point I need an espresso.The CP definitely hinders Martin’s ability to train at the required level of the karate syllabus, in that he cannot move without support, nor can he undertake any kicks. Crucially, it does not stop him participating in the lessons, or socialising with the other children. As for any 8 year old, having his own gi (uniform) and participating in karate is also great for Martin’s confidence, and gives him some bragging rights at school!


Brett Parker (father of Martin)















  • Station Village Complex
    Upstairs Studio (next to Laughalots Play Land)
    499 Hutt Road
    Lower Hutt
    Ken Szeto, Instructor