Posted by: Pragmatic Mom | May 29, 2012

Relieve Symptoms of ADD and ADHD Without Medication

karate and special needs, ADHD and karate, karate and ADHD

So, the question is what really is ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)?  Do these disorders really exist, or are they just fancy terms for parents and teachers to use when labeling kids who have trouble focusing?  There is clearly a debate on the subject and even some Doctors who disagree that there is even such a thing.

My name is Steve Giroux. I’m the owner and head instructor at Giroux Bros. Martial Arts in Newtonville, Massachusetts. I’ve been teaching martial arts to children for over 22 years and let me tell you that ADD and ADHD does very much exist.  I don’t have an M.D. that follows my name, but what I do have is years of experience working with kids of all types of temperaments. The most popular ones, of course, are ADD and ADHD.

At Giroux Bros. Martial Arts, we’ve come up with a different set of words for the often very misunderstood acronym of ADHD.  Instead of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, we’ve replaced it with Aware, Disciplined, Honest, and Driven.  These 4 words are also attributes found in those who have ADD or ADHD.  For many who don’t understand the disorder, they quickly associate children with ADD and ADHD as misbehaved, distracted, or even rebellious.  I will agree that when not treated, some of these assumptions can very well be true.  But, if treated properly, ADD and ADHD can be a blessing for the individual who has the “disorder”.

We live in a society where everyone is so quick to think negatively about certain topics, especially ones that they really don’t have a clear understanding on.  In addition to teaching many students over the years who have been diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, I’ve also read many books and articles on the subject.  I can spot an ADD student a mile away!  Another thing to understand is that there are different levels of ADD and ADHD.  Some are more obvious where others are not.  In all examples, I’ve noticed a huge improvement once a child reaches the age of 10 or 11.  Of course, they still have it, but they have matured with it and are starting to learn how to live with the challenge.

Parents especially, are in disbelief when they hear that their child may actually have one of the two disorders. The ironic thing about this is that ADD and ADHD are HEREDITARY.  So, chances are if your child has ADD/ADHD, most likely mom or dad you also have ADD/ADHD at some level as well!  Typically, adults either grow out of it or more realistically just learn to cope with it blaming it as something else or have the belief that they are just “flakey” at times.   To defend the non-believers, research on the subject and medications used to treat these disorders is relatively new.  Ritalin wasn’t first introduced until 1956 and using medications to treat ADD and ADHD didn’t really start gaining popularity until the 90’s.  Now, using medication to treat their child’s symptoms has become a very challenging decision that many families are being faced with.

I’m not going to use this blog to bash or support using medication to treat the symptoms of ADD and ADHD with children.  But, what I am going to do is tell you that there are other avenues you could travel before making that decision.  One activity that does a tremendous job in helping children with “focus” issues is martial arts.  The reason that martial arts helps so many kids that have “focus” issues is because it puts them in a structured environment that sets them up for success.  Martial Arts presents clear objectives for students and “tests” them on their skills in intervals of 2 to 3 months.  It allows the student to see the challenge and overcome it by earning rank with the ultimate goal of achieving a Black Belt (long term goal setting).

Another reason that martial arts works so well for ADD and ADHD kids is that it allows them to achieve goals on a personal level vs. in a team environment.  ADD/ADHD kids need that constant positive reinforcement. It’s the very DRIVE that motivates them to continue on.  ADD/ADHD kids can still do well in team sports and activities, but you may want to consider putting them in a twice a week martial arts class in addition to their other activities.  If you live in Newton, Massachusetts and have concerns about your child having “focus” issues, by all means give our school a call at 617-641-2992 and schedule a free introductory appointment with myself. If you don’t live in Newton, I highly recommend that you check out your local martial arts studios. Martial Arts is not about fighting, it’s about character development especially with kids.  Do yourself a favor and explore the very thing that many Doctors and Psychiatrists have been recommending for years and see for yourself how martial arts can benefit your very special ADD or ADHD child.

And, by special, I really do mean special!!  Give your child the tools necessary for success now and you never know, one day they may pay you back when they are a famous actor, author, or even  the next US President!  Below is a list of famous people with ADD/ADHD:

  • Ansel Adams — Famous Photographer
  • Alexander Graham Bell — Inventor of the telephone
  • Beethoven — Composer
  • Terry Bradshaw — Football Quarterback
  • Andrew Carnegie — Industrialist
  • Jim Carrey — Comedian/Actor
  • Prince Charles — Prince of England
  • Cher — Actress/Singer
  • Winston Churchill (failed 6th grade) — man in his own category
  • Bill Cosby — Comedian/Actor
  • Tom Cruise — Actor
  • Leonardo da Vinci — Inventor/Artist
  • Walt Disney — A man in his own category
  • Thomas Edison — Inventor
  • Albert Einstein — A man in his own category
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower — US President
  • Malcolm Forbes — Founder and Publisher of Forbes Magazine
  • Benjamin Franklin — A man in his own category
  • Galileo — Mathematician, Astronomer
  • Whoopie Goldberg — Actress
  • “Magic” Johnson — Basketball Player
  • Michael Jordan — Basketball Player
  • John F. Kennedy — US President
  • John Lennon — Singer, Beatles
  • Abraham Lincoln — US President
  • Mozart — Composer
  • Sir Isaac Newton — Scientist, Mathematician
  • Nostradamus — A man in his own catergory
  • General George Patton — US Military
  • Pablo Picasso — Artist
  • Edgar Allen Poe — Author, Poet
  • Babe Ruth — Baseball Player
  • Will Smith — Actor
  • Socrates — Philosopher
  • Sylvester Stallone — Actor
  • Vincent Van Gogh — Artist
  • Woodrow Wilson — US President
  • Orville and Wilber Wright — Airplane Developers

As you can see from this list, there have been many famous and successful people with ADD/ADHD.  Instead of stressing about your child having a “learning disability” help them overcome their challenges by educating yourself on the subject of ADD and ADHD.  Enrolling them in martial arts will definitely be a move in the right direction, assuming of course that they like it.  If not, don’t be discouraged…listen to them, and go find them the activity that will best fit them in their journey to a successful life.

These kids are truly special, trust me I have one in my house and she reminds me everyday of how gifted she really is.

Your Friend,

Steve Giroux

Copyright © 2012 Steve Giroux. All Rights Reserved.



  1. When it comes to ADHD, there are some food supplements that can help with it. Melatonin is one of those food supplements that can help kids with ADHD. :,”;.

    Warm regards“>

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