Tae Kwon Do Class Helps People With Special Needs Break Fitness Barriers

DES MOINES, Iowa –A metro Tae Kwon Do class helps students with a variety of abilities master martial arts skills.

With a warm up full of jumping jacks, squats, and pushups, the Tae Kwon Do students work up a sweat. "It's fun. It's hard, but it gets you working. It gets you going," said participant Danielle Jones.

Add in some blocks and kick, and you have a typical class at East Coast Tae Kwon. "We are a traditional Tae Kwon Do school. We train international Tae Kwon Do federation style,” said Owner and Instructor Normal Wrigley.

Wrigley started offering a monthly class more than a year ago, to teach people with special needs Tae Kwon Do. The class does everything he would do in a typical class. "A little self-defense, trying to show them how to protect themselves if someone tries to reach out and grab them or try to slap them in the face or punch them towards the face," said Wrigley.

The class is called Without Limits. He offers it in conjunction with the group Train to Inspire. "We focus on helping people with disabilities whether it be running their first 5k, somebody that's blind coming and doing their first Grand Blue Mile, or like what you see behind me, people coming in and learning to do Tae Kwon Do on their own,” said Joe Hogan with Train to Inspire.

Train to Inspire offers five activities a month. About 100 people participate in the program. The goal is for them to try a variety of activities. "There's not much modification that needs to be done, and with Train to Inspire, that's what we try to focus on, and let society know there's not a lot of modification needed. It's really very simple to offer these classes for people of all abilities."

“Everybody can do what we're doing. There's no difference for so many people who have been told their whole life what they can't do and what they shouldn't try. They come in here and give 110 percent and they do the work, and they can do everything I can do," said Wrigley.

"Here you do what you can. They don't judge you. You do your best and they motivate you to keep going," said Jones.

The Without Limits class is free for participants. You can find more information on Train to Inspire's Facebook page or on contact East Coast Tae Kwon Do.