Michelle Brasher: Child Whisperer
Brasher owns Kuk Sool Won in Pryor and has achieved particular success teaching martial arts to children with special needs.
Michelle Brasher, owner of Kuk Sool Won of Pryor, has been teaching people martial arts for over five years. Over time, she earned the reputation for being a “child whisperer” because of the success and results she continues to achieve with a group of kids who have special needs. Her passion and focus on kids with special needs has a special place in her heart. We learned about Brasher from one of her clients, Laurie Moreland, who shared how much working with Brasher has benefited both of her children. Moreland wrote, “Michelle loves to teach martial arts and believes all kids can learn. She loves all kids but has a special knack for working with kids with special needs. She treats them like all the other kids…this is a wonderful group that is led by a wonderful teacher.”
Getting to know Brasher
TK: How did you become interested in opening a martial arts studio?
Brasher: I learned about this style of teaching while living in California when my son became interested in taking martial arts classes. He has ADHD, which made it difficult to enroll him in what is considered “traditional” martial arts. Through trying out several schools, we eventually found Kuk Sool Won School. This method teaches an on-going repetitive process where martial arts is learned through consistency, making it easy to retain information and build on. What they are learning becomes second nature. After relocating to Oklahoma, I decided to open a school to help impact as many people – and kids – as possible.
TK: How long have you been teaching and who takes your classes?
Brasher: I have been teaching in the Pryor area for five years. I have students from 18 months to 60-plus years young.
TK: What does your studio focus on teaching?
Brasher: Kuk Sool Won is a Korean Martial Art. It is a self-defense martial art. We teach kids how to get away from a bad situation.
TK: How does taking this type of class benefit students with special needs?
Brasher: They learn how to get away from people who may hurt them. It helps students with cardio, flexibility and range of motion.
TK: What is your favorite part about teaching students with special needs?
Brasher: Knowing that this is a normal thing for them to learn and excel in. I have seen first-hand how earning belts builds confidence and social skills.
TK: What advice do you have for parents who are thinking about enrolling their child with special needs in martial arts?
Brasher: Look for an instructor with patience, compassion, and the ability to adjust their curriculum to fit the needs of the individual student. They also need to have a hands-on approach and open mind to not see the child as a “special needs” student.
Brasher: Students with special needs love repetition. Martial arts is all about doing things over and over again. When we work with students with special needs, I like to pair them with other students. Over the years, I have found success with this method because both students learn from each other and form a bond of unconditional friendship.