Local boy with special needs chases karate dream
Wants to earn a black belt
Last Updated: 73 days ago
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
For 13-year-old Isiah Lopez, karate is his passion.
His long-term goal is to earn his black belt and he refuses to stop fighting for his goal despite having down syndrome and attention deficit hyper disorder.
He practices at Bear Mountain elementary school with fifth-degree black belt karate instructor Craig Garrett, who has been teaching karate in the Arvin area for the past 39 years. He said Isiah always keeps up the pace.
"When his mother asked me if she could sign him up, I told her I had never had anyone with down syndrome. I said 'Sure, let's try it' and it's interesting that he does things better than a lot of my other students," Garrett said.
Garrett says he teaches his students self defense and how to act fast in tough situations. But, for some parents, it's more than just a quick punch or kick.
"He's slighty slacking in school because he doesn't focus that well and I believe karate will help a lot to achieve that," Monica Milian, a mother, said.
It's a combination of fun and determination that drives Craig Garrett to teach Isiah all the right moves.
"It challenges me, it makes me think outside of the box because there's no lesson plan for me for him, so I'm playing it by ear but so far, things have worked out," Garrett said.
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