Newsome kicks up her heels at karate workout in Lee's Summit, Mo.

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Exciting news. Karate is not just for the able-bodied anymore. Tamashii Black Belt Academy in Lee's Summit, Mo., is starting a class for physically and mentally challenged children and adults. It's called Adaptive Martial Arts.

Trust me when I tell you that karate is harder than it looks and it definitely gives you a great total body workout. I know what I'm saying after completing just one workout at the Tamashii Black Belt Academy.

Owner/Instructor Linda Hanson believes karate is a key that can unlock the potential for people with physical challenges, like autism, cerebal palsy and Down syndrome.

"We teach Martial Arts on their level and they learn to engage muscles, focus and push themselves to reach their goal," Hanson said.

Kiree Hanes is a brown belt at the academy. He has a brain injury and limited use of his right hand. 

"I'm not able to play other sports so I thought this is something I can do. When I tried it, I really liked it and I'm good at it," Hanes said.

Next year, Hanes is scheduled to try out for his black belt.

"It really changed my life and it gives me confidence," Hanes said.

The new Adaptive Martial Arts Class will be Saturday mornings from 0 a.m. to 10 a.m.. Classes started last week; but it is not too late to join. For more information, visit You can also call 816-554-8275.

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