JK Martial Arts JK Martial Arts

About JK Martial Arts

Katherine and Joyce

Sensei Katherine Engstrom and Director, Joyce Brekke

We honor Jeffrey Alexander, MD, the Park Nicollet pediatrician who had the vision in 1993 to teach karate to children with ADHD. He inspired Sensei Suzanne Wancket Yue who created the first curriculum and teaching methods. In conjunction, they opened the school in Feb of 1993 (Wancket's Art of Karate). We are very thankful to them both.

In 2007 we received the role of carrying on this tradition. Our mission is to help as many children as possible in the LD community. We see our vision occur in every class; the students experience success! Our student population has increased to include any learning style. We customize and adapt our teaching for you.

The karate style we teach is Shorei-Ryu. It means 'encouragement school'. This style is over 500 years old. Our classes are small so our instructors give you extra attention and adapt to your learning style.

Teaching Methods

Students learn in an atmosphere of methodical, structured, repetition with positive reinforcement and rewards. They experience success in every class, which builds confidence and self esteem. The values used in the school prepare them for other life experiences; respect, discipline, honor and humility.

People who have different learning abilities benefit from consistent terms and repetition. They also benefit from learning step by step in a methodical disciplined manner. It is highly valuable for them to experience the personal success of learning a kata (a prepared combination of moves). These principles work for everyone!

The style we teach is Shorei-Ryu, which is extra beneficial to people who have learning challenges. The style being, "hard vs. soft" stimulates the muscle memory. The movements include crossing the midline, coordination and stretching, all beneficial to the body and mind. We teach to all styles of learning, visual, audible, and tactile by using all three styles in conjunction. So students and parents say it has really improved their ability to focus, their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Classes are 45 minutes long. You may attend 1, 2, or 3 times per week. Private lessons are offered. Contact us for a free trial, 1:1 with Sensei Katherine so she can understand how you learn and you can learn some moves!

Instructors

Katherine Engstrom, Sensei

Katherine Pierren, Sensei

Katherine Engstrom struggled with a reading disability and ADHD as a child, so she empathizes with the child who has a learning disability or is bullied. She understands how important it is to adapt teaching to meet individual learning styles.

At 13 years old, she started karate to be able to kick as high as her friend. She quickly found her memory improving and her self confidence boosting. Seven years later as a 2nd degree black belt she took on the role as Sensei at JK Martial Arts. "I am committed to giving back to the community who supported me with special education." She will customize her teaching so the student succeeds.

Her reputation has grown in the community of Learning Disabilities. Sensei Katherine 'gets it' said Veronica Arens, President of Family Achievement Center. Sensei understands how to work with children with ADD, ASD and other diagnosis. Occupational Therapists look to her as 'one of them' suggesting that she teaches therapeutic karate because she adapts to help every one succeed. And she understands what it is like to be a parent of a child with ADD, anxiety, ASD, because she is a Mom.

Parents of young adults who have anxiety said, "she's done more for my son than his psychologist." A special education instructor said, "You are a miracle worker!" when a child with LD learned the alphabet using karate moves.

Sensei Katherine's 5 years of personal fitness training with a certified fitness trainer prepared her to alter the positions to meet individual physical needs.

Her karate success includes a winning record at NASKA Diamond National Tournament, AKA Grand National Tournament, and local NCKA tournaments. She was inducted into the BWMA Hall of Honors as instructor of the year in 2008. She coaches students for tournaments who are all winners with trophies.

Joyce Brekke, Director

Joyce Brekke, Director

Joyce Brekke, Katherine's mother watched and supported Katherine in her martial arts training and competition. "I am thankful that Katherine was so successful with karate during her challenging middle school years! It meant a lot, since Katherine was shy and insecure. It increased her self esteem, her ability to focus and memory."

Joyce loves exercise, and physical fitness, so when Katherine suggested she learn karate, she jumped into it. Immediately as a white belt, she entered the competition circuit winning first place every time as an under belt. In 2007 she received her Black Belt and went on to become the NASKA National Champion in open hand forms and 2nd place in the NASKA National Weapons category. In local tournaments she won Grand Champion in forms.

Her business experience has prepared her to direct the school. Her 30+ years of experience include – Sales Management, Healthcare Sales, Respiratory Therapist and Respiratory Department Assistant Director, teaching Respiratory Care and Sales to adults and teaching Baton and Swimming to children. Her experience as a mother and now grandmother of a child with learning challenges drives her to passionately teach karate to others because of the many physical, mental and social benefits!

Now as a senior citizen, exercise is medicine! It helps keep a body young, flexible, strong, heart healthy, and fight against chronic disease with every punch and kick!