CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Once Coach Darren Meyer starts a class, the punches and kicks start flying.
“I teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and self-defense,” he said.
Meyer has a black and a brown belt himself, and spends the majority of his time in the dojo as a teacher. He’s the first to admit that he teaches more than just martial arts.
“The three p’s: Patience, perseverance, practice,” he said to a class.
Coach Darren teaches life lessons as well.
“I’ve seen kids completely transform their life in a positive way,” he said.
His latest class, a kickboxing fitness class, in an exercise in adaptability.
“Hello students,” Darren said to his laptop, set up on a chair on the mat of his studio, The Grappling Zone.
Every Wednesday evening, the class is hosted entirely online. It was an idea that Darren came up with to keep teaching during the pandemic, not just to help keep his business open, but to open up martial arts to another group of students.
“I don’t know what type of disabilities they might have. They might have a mental or physical disability,” Darren said.
Every student has some type of special needs. One of those students is Aidan Lindley.
“Aidan has a rare genetic disorder that doesn’t fit any known syndrome,” Aidan’s mom Cheryn said.
Students can’t always fully perform or even grasp some of the martial arts moves that Coach Darren teaches, whether they are punch combinations or general push ups and sit ups. The key, though, is that the students are doing some sort of fitness.
“It’s great that he’s got the opportunity to participate and exercise. It’s complicated for him with his disabilities,” Cheryn said.
“More of giving them the opportunity to learn how to move their bodies. They may never get this opportunity otherwise,” Darren added.
A free, at home, inclusive, and accessible opportunity. How’s that for a martial arts lesson?
“I feel like it’s very rewarding at the end of the day,” Darren said.
For more information on The Grappling Zone, head to https://grapplingzonekj.com.