Karate lessons offer a special moment to bond with my son

A class trip is a fun experience for this mom and her son, who has Pompe disease

Keara Engle avatar

by Keara Engle |

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Last week, my 5-year-old son, Cayden, had his first karate class. His preschool class took a field trip to a local karate center. Parents were invited to join in on the fun.

While neither of us had ever done karate before, it certainly was fun. I really enjoyed spending some quality time with Cayden. That’s been hard to come by since I gave birth to his little brother, Kyree, in December.

I was a little anxious to see how the karate class would go. Infantile-onset Pompe disease has left Cayden with weakened muscles, a common Pompe disease symptom. He uses a wheelchair to get around and has trouble doing things that most children his age do. But Cayden doesn’t let these challenges get in the way.

During the karate class, the children learned how to hit and block, and even got the chance to chop pieces of wood in half! They learned basic karate etiquette, such as bowing to the master, showing respect by greeting them, and demonstrating appreciation at the end. It was very heartwarming to witness.

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A 5-year-old boy sits on a pink, purple, and blue gym mat, legs spread, and arms extended in a karate pose. He looks intently up and to the left, presumably at the karate instructor, as it's a beginners' karate class.

Cayden shows off his new karate skills. (Photo by Keara Engle)

Thinking outside the box

We did have to adapt some of the activities in order for Cayden to participate. His nurse and I were able to think outside the box to find ways for him to do the activities. To warm up, the instructors had the kids do jumping jacks and pushups. For the jumping jacks, Cayden remained seated and just did the arm motions. For the pushups, I just laid him across my lap while he pushed up with his arms.

At the end of the class, when it was time to chop the wooden boards in half, the instructor helped Cayden. He slightly bent the board because it was very thin. While Cayden was hitting the board, the instructor applied enough pressure to help it snap in half. Cayden was so ecstatic to see that he had broken the board like the rest of his friends.

All in all, karate was a good time. To see Cayden enjoy himself the way he did brought me so much joy. Life isn’t always fun for him, and he’s faced so many trials and tribulations. But moments like these mean the most. We get to forget about all of the challenges and just live in the moment. I can’t wait to see what adventures come our way next!

Note: Pompe Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pompe Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Pompe disease.


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