Tag Archives: Jujitsu Buddies

Officers + autism community = awareness

11 Feb
peak

Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy Mike Ottley and his K9 companion Peak.

An adorable and oh, so droopy and cuddly bloodhound puppy recently paid a visit to the Jujitsu Buddies class at Strike Back Martial Arts in the Village of Webster.

Accompanied by his handler, Deputy Mike Ottley of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the four-month old bundle of floppy skin and monstrous paws happily played with a crocheted dragon and endured much petting while Ottley chatted with the students about his role as a deputy.

FullSizeR_1

Sheriff’s Office SCUBA Commander Lt. Chris Fay helps Colton Sprague into a SCUBA suit at a recent No Gi Jujitsu class. 

It was a fun event for the students in class that day, but it had a serious purpose. It was one of a series of visits by law enforcement officers organized by Strike Back Martial Arts owners Dave Nicchitta and Mike Palmer.

Over the past several weeks, Nicchitta and Palmer have invited local law enforcement officers to visit the studio’s jujitsu classes for special needs children and adults. Officers visited three of the studio’s classes: Strike Back Fitness for kids and teens with Down syndrome, No Gi Jujitsu for teenagers with autism, and most recently, Jujitsu Buddies for younger children with autism.

The goal of the visits has been to give both students — especially those with autism — and officers a chance to ask questions get to know each other a little better.

“Autism is one of the fastest growing disabilities in America,” said Nicchitta, who is himself a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy. “The way it presents itself can be misinterpreted as inappropriate or criminal behavior.”

“Data tells us that one in five teens with autism will be stopped and questioned by police before age 21, and people with disabilities, including autism, are five times more likely to be jailed than those without disabilities.”

Those with autism in particular often have a hard time looking people in the eyes or following multi-step directions. They can also become extremely agitated in the presence of flashing lights, sirens and loud radios, and may not like being touched. In a high-pressure situation, an officer might misinterpret such behaviors as combative or non-compliant.

Nicchitta hopes that through programs like these, and through additional opportunities he’s offering to the Rochester-area law enforcement community, he can help raise awareness.

“When an officer encounters someone who is acting unusually, we hope we can get the officer to just take a moment and think, is there something else going on here?”

The class visits are as beneficial for the students as they are for the officers.

“I wanted to create a non-stressful environment where our students can interact with law enforcement in a positive way,” Nicchitta said. “That way the students can keep that experience in the back of their heads if a situation occurs where they have to interact with officers.”

Strike Back Martial Arts is located at 55 East Main St. in the Village of Webster. The studio offers offers adaptive jujitsu classes designed for children and adults with autism, Down syndrome and other physical and emotional disabilities, as well as non-adaptive jujitsu classes.

IMG_20200208_112319948

Students in Strike Back Martial Arts’ Jujitsu Buddies class listen — and watch Peak — as Deputy Ottley talks about his job.  

* * *

email me at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Strike Back Martial Arts joins national registry

24 Feb

STRIKE+BACK+Logo+Extra+SmallCongratulations to my friends and colleagues at Strike Back Martial Arts, which has recently been accepted as a member of the Adaptive Martial Arts Association (AMAA).

The AMAA is a national organization which describes itself as

a resource for students and instructors to gather and share ideas, curriculum and other adaptive training information while promoting disabled inclusion and helping to break down martial arts training stereotypes associated with the disabled.

Strike Back, owned by Mike Palmer and Dave Nicchitta, is a perfect fit for the organization. In 2015 the jujitsu dojo introduced their Jujitsu Buddies class, designed for children with autism, and just last year began a brand new Strike Back Fitness program specifically designed for children and teens with Down syndrome. Both programs have been very well received and have grown since their introduction.

After they had established those programs, Nicchitta said,

We had been looking to align ourselves with organizations that coupled martial arts and special needs (adaptive) programs. This seemed to be exactly what we were looking for so I reached out to them regarding membership. …We received approval a few weeks later and as a result are listed on their national registry along with other schools across the country.

“We are the only Upstate NY martial arts school on their national registry,” he added.

Strike Back Martial Arts is located at 55 East Main Street in the village. For more information about these and other programs they dojo offers, visit their website or Facebook page.

You can also ask me — I am pleased and proud to say I am part of the Strike Back family, and help teach these exceptional young people.

 

strike back

I love my Saturday morning Jujitsu Buddies

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

New Webster-based fitness program designed for children with Down syndrome

7 Apr

strike-fit logo

For about two years now, I’ve had the pleasure to work with the terrific folks at Strike Back Martial Arts in the village of Webster, where I help out most weekends with their Jujitsu Buddies classes. Strike Back owners Dave Nicchitta and Mike Palmer created the program three years ago specifically for children on the autism spectrum.

I’ve seen first-hand how these young people can benefit from a structured self-defense program which focuses on improving muscle tone, coordination, self-control and self-confidence, taught in an environment of unconditional support and positive social interaction.

Thanks to the success they’ve seen with Jujitsu Buddies, Dave and Mike have introduced a new program, called Strike-Fit, designed for young children with Down syndrome.

“We have seen the success that kids in our Buddies classes can achieve,” Nicchitta said. “It’s truly amazing to see how far the students have come from when we first met them. These triumphs, however small or big, are one of the reasons why we started this program in the first place and what keeps us going and pushing these kids to do more.”

Strike-Fit is a low-impact fitness program structured and tailored to the needs of young children and teens with Down syndrome. Activities will provide structured exercise while helping improve muscle tone and coordination, all in a safe and accepting environment. Students will be able to socialize with peers and form relationships in a safe and accepting environment, improving their confidence and self-esteem as they try something new.

“After doing our investigation into the programs and resources available to Down syndrome kids and teens, it became apparent that there aren’t many opportunities that exist outside of the ones offered in schools (OT / PT). We hope to change that with our Strike-Fit program.”

 

 

Strike-Fit is designed for teens and children ages 5 to 11. Classes will be held once a week for 45 minutes, and each session runs nine weeks. Cost is $200.

Children and their parents are invited to meet the instructors and find out more about the Strike-Fit at an open house on Saturday April 22, beginning at 11 a.m. at Strike Back Martial Arts.

Strike Back Martial Arts is located at 55 East Main Street, Webster. Call (585) 236-1083 or visit strikebackmartialarts.com.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.