Millions of Americans live with some sort of physical disability. Despite this fact, it wasn’t too long ago that a person with physical disabilities would have a difficult time finding a martial arts class that he or she could participate in. Thankfully, times have changed, and many disabled individuals are not just enrolling in martial arts training, they are excelling in it.

While the benefits of martial arts training are numerous, one of the most significant benefits is that it allows disabled individuals the ability to learn how to defend themselves. This is important in light of the unfortunate fact that many criminals see the disabled as easy targets for crime. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, men with disabilities are twice as likely to be attacked as men who do not use wheelchairs and women with disabilities are three times more likely to be attacked.

Martial arts, such as Kung-Fu, allows the physically disabled to be anything but targets! Kung-Fu helps individuals with disabilities gain the self-confidence and physical skills to deal with all types of hazards and risks.

Kung-Fu helps the physically disabled develop a keen understanding of prevention, psychological defense and assertive communication methods before they attempt a physical defense. However, it also ensures they do not underestimate their ability to physically protect themselves from attacks. Many disabled individuals can defend themselves with just one or two moves. By employing these moves, they have enough time to escape, secure help or alert others to their situation.

One reason Kung-Fu is ideally suited to helping the disabled protect themselves is its emphasis on outsmarting an opponent. Its routines also train the mind to instantly react to any situation while setting in motion physical patterns to thwart would-be attackers.

While in many cases, running away from danger is the best course of action, many people with physical disabilities-those in wheelchairs, for example-don’t have that option. Thankfully, Kung-Fu offers these individuals a way to protect themselves regardless of their disability.

Of course, marital arts for the disabled is therapeutic, as well. It helps to improve coordination, strength and motor functions. While it can take a significant amount of time, with commitment and dedication, the rewards are substantial. The martial arts develop new abilities, foster a positive outlook, increase self-control and reduce anxiety.