Renowned Autistic Instructors Offer Taster Class to Local Autistic Children

Joe Ellis, Chief Instructor of the Kent Karate Schools/Kent Autistic Karate and his wife Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis, Assistant Chief Instructor are more expert than most as they have both been clinically diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome themselves and pass on knowledge first-hand to their instructors and students. This taster class will be held on Monday 15 July from 6.30-7.15pm and will be offered to local autistic children for FREE.

Ellis, an 8th Dan black belt and his wife Sandra, 6th Dan black belt, run a chain of educational karate clubs within East Kent, along with other instructors who have been trained by the duo since they were children. They are proud to be inclusive and equitable, teaching students of all ages, genders, abilities and have a genuine interest in students with special needs and especially those with intellectually high functioning autism including Asperger’s syndrome. Individuals with autism crave routine and rules; and often have difficulties with co-ordination skills such as balance and simple throwing and catching; as well as discomfort in social situations. Karate is an individual activity, but also encourages controlled teamwork and leadership, thus giving these students confidence in themselves, which can benefit all aspects of their life.

Local charity SNAAP (Special Needs Advisory and Activities Project) has been working with the couple for many years, and are happy to promote their classes, and especially this taster class aimed solely at autistic children.

The venue is a small private studio, designed not to be too bright, too large or too noisy. Flexibility is key for autism and its accompanied sensory differences.

Ellis said ‘at school I was heavily bullied, and my parents decided I should learn karate. The combination of this training, and joining the army, helped me to overcome my shyness and taught me to stand up for myself’. An adult diagnosis of Asperger’s some years ago has enabled me to accept my quirks and use them to help others in similar situations.

Beale-Ellis, who holds a Doctorate in Education, specialising in learning experiences for autistic young people, and is also a trainer for the National Autistic Society, said: this taster class will be a first in the area, specifically aimed at autistic children. We have tried to provide an environment that can be adapted to suit autistic needs, and we hope that more regular classes and workshops will be available if this class is popular.

The Kent Karate Schools are members of the National Autistic Society.

If you are interested in this taster class or any of the other classes call the office on 01227 370055 for more details or email

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About NAKMAS Official Martial Arts

The National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools (NAKMAS) National Governing Body, formed in January 1992 is a non-funded national governing body and is a member of Sport & Recreation Alliance and The Association For International Sport For All. With its Head Office based in Kent, NAKMAS governs all forms of traditional and modern martial arts and has over 65,000 members. NAKMAS has secured the Equality Standard: A Framework for Sport. To find out more about Equality Standard: A Framework for Sport at NAKMAS is an approved insurance provider by XL Catlin and holds a National and International Quality Standard Certificate/Kitemark, BS EN ISO 9001:2015, via the BSI (British Standards Institution).

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