I'm writing this in tears, because I don't know where to start. I took years of martial arts and know, first hand, how important and valuable the foundation of self-confidence this sport provides in kids. Without that foundation that my past sensi's instilled in me, I would not be alive today. That being said, I felt it was important to enroll my kids in martial arts too. I have two beautiful kids, a 9 year-old girl and an 11 year-old son. I initially enrolled them in another dojo close to where we lived. While it started good, my daughter's first tournament was met with disappointment and complete hurt when her sensi didn't even acknowledge her existence. He and his wife (of which both were teachers) knew she was there, walked right past her and later didn't even acknowledge her attending the tournament. It destroyed not only her self-confidence, but especially my son's. My son has ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and is officially diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Many kids with this diagnosis have co-occurring diagnoses like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and severe anxiety. My son has the later of the two (anxiety), as well as a sensory processing disorder. After what happened at last dojo, I knew how hard it would be to get these kiddos encouraged to continue and try a new facility. We first came to the Premier Martial Arts Kentwood location, and Ms. Z took these kids under her belt. I explained what had happened before and she really, spent quality time with them. Sensi KC was unbelievable there as well and even told my son (who has a sensory processing disorder) that if he ever felt Sensi KC or another sensi was too loud, to tell him or give him a signal. They were so incredibly considerate, patient, and understanding of the situation we were in, not to mention my concern for their loss of self-confidence from their prior dojo. Later we looked into the Grand Rapids Premier Martial Arts location, because it was a little bit closer to where we live. Again, the kids were reluctant, as change can be hard, but we gave it a try. Once again, the teachers were beyond amazing! Sensi Saisa took me into the office and gave me a chance to simply express my concerns for my kids, in particular their self-confidence. He was so understanding and immediately began working with my kids. My son has taken to him and looks up to him so much! Recently Premier Martial Arts had a tournament. Sensi Saisa took my son and daughter aside and talked to them about trying the tournament out and not being afraid. My son, surprisingly agreed. For a child with special needs as my son has, stepping out of their comfort zone is something that rarely, if ever, done. My husband and I were absolutely shocked! We knew he would be nervous, and I was definitely worried about whether he'd actually be able to compete, but we both continued to encourage him. Sensi Saisa worked with him one-on-one to create a form for the Open Form tournament and encouraged him a ton. The day of the tournament, Sensi KC, Sensi Saisa, and Sensi Ms. Z all came up to my son and encouraged him. To our surprise, he pushed through the tournament, and was so incredibly proud of his self! It was a level of self-confidence I have never seen before since I've birthed him. The owners and instructors at Premier Martial Arts have been a true answer to prayer. The instructor's kindness, patience, care and understanding to parents and especially kids they've never met sets this place apart and far, far above any dojo I've ever been to. In addition to traditional martial arts forms, the kids get a taste of weapons, with a different focused weapon per month, and true combative self-defense moves that are usually not taught in a traditional martial arts class, but, rather, in a separate self-defense class. I highly recommend this location, or any PMA locations. To Sensi Saisa, Sensi KC, Sensi Z, and Sensi Roberto...THANK YOU!