14 July, 2022

Family that kicks together sticks together

MARTIAL arts is proving to be the lifeblood of a Beachmere family involving single mother Kaylie Colebrooke’s children with special needs.

Kaylie Colebrooke with her children Mason, Ayla, Archer, Eve, Ivory and Jack.
Kaylie Colebrooke with her children Mason, Ayla, Archer, Eve, Ivory and Jack.

Mason, Ayla, Ivory, Eve and Archer spend six afternoons each week at the Morayfield-based Red Dragon Martial Arts, having found their passion and purpose.

These five children also spend a lot of their time in occupational therapy (OT) after being diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but nothing interrupts their martial arts commitments.

The sixth and youngest child, Jack, is less than 12 months old and is inevitably part of the family trips, but it remains to be seen if or when he participates.

Following a difficult domestic family situation, the Colebrooke children took up martial arts early last year. The eldest of the six, Mason, made the first move before his siblings followed his lead.

The Colebrooke children have since taken part in a range of martial arts, including Wing Chun, kickboxing, XMA, and Brazilian Ju Jitsu.

Mason said he chose to take up martial arts because he wanted to learn discipline and self-control.

“I saw the growth in Mason, and that includes in his school work, and his confidence in public,” Kaylie said.

With Archer the youngest Colebrooke martial artist at three years of age while Mason is 12, Kaylie said the children liked to achieve on their own levels rather than in a team, and didn’t compare themselves to each other.

“I want them to be comfortable in their own skin,” Kaylie said.

“They’re very focused.

“It (martial arts) is just a way of life for them.”

As Ayla lives with Williams Syndrome in addition to ASD, Kaylie said Ayla “has found her people” in martial arts, which also provided her with socialisation and learning how the world works.

The Colebrooke children took part in a Dragons Lair martial arts competition, with Ivory named age champion across all styles.

“I was amazed at the confidence they had to do it,” Kaylie said.

Red Dragon Martial Arts owner Brett Fenton said the Colebrooke children involved in martial arts were “five very different personalities”.

As Mason said he would like to become an instructor one day, Brett said Mason “has that X-factor” and was easy to get on with.

“He’s a natural leader, and he has this internal drive you can’t teach,” Brett said of Mason.

“Ivory’s the athlete, and also has a strong drive.”

Brett said Archer and Eve were still young and developing while Ayla was developing in a different way, as time was spent on emotional control and dealing with anxiety.

Kaylie said martial arts kept her children out of trouble at a pre-teen age, while there were many positive role models.


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