U.S. Olympic Committee Honors Glenview’s Sensei Jeff Kohn With First-Ever USOC Paralympic Coach of the Year Award
Audrey Suffrin Public Relations, LLC
(Glenview, IL) August 2, 2012 - North Shore Dojo in Glenview is proud to announce that Sensei Jeff Kohn has been chosen as the first-ever recipient of the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) newly created 2011 Paralympic Coach of the Year for Karate. Under Kohn’s leadership, the Dojo offers the renowned Karate Can-Do! Program which gives individuals of all abilities the opportunity to participate in Karate. Additionally, as Chairman and National Team Coach of the United States Disabled Karate team, Kohn’s goal is to take his team to the world championships in 2014. Kohn was nominated for this unprecedented award by USA Karate’s Director of Coaching Terrance “Tokey” Hill, the first Karate World Champion from the USA and recipient of the 2010 USOC Coach of the Year award.
“This is a lifelong achievement award for me, as it’s a culmination of the past forty years,” said Kohn during the recent USOC awards presentation ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada. The ceremony spotlighted achievements of U.S. coaches, athletes, and support professionals who represent thirty-seven separate Olympic, Pan American Olympic, and Paralympic sports. “Karate has allowed me the opportunity to connect with so many incredible families, teachers, and clinicians. It’s humbling to have made a difference in the lives of these young people, while also helping to expand the sport of Karate to include individuals with disabilities.”
Tokey Hill, who has known Sensei Kohn for thirty years, notes that Kohn has an extraordinary ability to be able to take a select group of individuals, put them in one space, and not only teach the whole group, but touch every person individually in that room; all while maintaining control of the class. "There are few individuals that I have ever seen in my world travels who can even compare to his ability,” says Hill. “Most people don’t understand the importance of what Sensei Kohn does and what an impact he has on the lives of others, not just those who participate in his classes. He shares his knowledge and skills with other teachers to carry the torch. It’s a gift.”
Kohn’s approach is anything but conventional. He looks at each child from a fresh perspective and evaluates how they can become a better person by using Karate as a modality, not relying on what therapists or parents have claimed that the child can or can’t do. “I have believed in my vision and ability to teach all children, no matter what their challenges are, because everyone has the ability to learn,” says Kohn, who has studied with great teachers and mentors from all around the world. “I’ve learned from the best and developed an approach that is based on my thoughts and actions remaining flexible, adaptable and creative.”
The Karate Can-Do! Program empowers children with a wide range of abilities the opportunity to participate in Karate while improving their physical, cognitive, and emotional health. The intention is to provide inclusion and adaptation in a program that is both recreational and competitive in nature. Sensei Kohn’s progressive methods of teaching Karate to children and adults with various disabilities have garnered attention on a global scale. His classes are unique to the Karate world and in most communities because they include individuals with physical, cognitive, developmental, behavior, sensory and learning challenges.
Kohn’s program works at transforming attitudes and creating social and cultural change through its ability to engage children who are often overlooked and underserved by their communities. Kohn knows that when a person with a disability is given the opportunity to participate in a sport, the focus shifts to their abilities rather than their disabilities. Karate brings people together for something fun and the families can share that experience with others, while providing an opportunity to highlight their child’s accomplishments. This is important to any parent, especially one with a child with a disability which profoundly impacts the student, their family, and the community. The student’s perceived level of achievement is challenged, and they begin to imagine the possibilities. Newfound skills and accomplishments begin to build self-confidence, social skills, independence, self-discipline and respect for others.
Moving forward, Kohn believes that the stage is set to one day have the sport of Karate be recognized as an official Olympic and Paralympic sport so that individuals with disabilities can be judged by officials who can appreciate their dedication and provide them with the opportunity to compete on an equal playing field, regardless of an athlete’s disability. “It gives them a chance to stand among their peers who are ‘typical’ athletes and say ‘I have achieved this award - it wasn't just given to me’.” This is a powerful message that will be heard worldwide, says Kohn.
About Sensei Kohn/The Karate Can-Do! Program at North Shore Dojo
Sensei Jeff Kohn has been the Founding Director and head instructor of North Shore Dojo located in Glenview, Illinois, since its inception in 1979. Sensei Kohn, an internationally renowned coach received the newly created 2011 Paralympic Coach of the Year for Karate, and is Chairman and National Team Coach of the United States Disabled Karate team.
Starting in 2008, the Karate Can-Do! Program at North Shore Dojo has achieved remarkable success helping individuals of all ages who have various cognitive and physical disabilities reach their full potential through the teachings and techniques of Karate. Instruction is offered to students based on their individual needs and abilities. The program offers a variety of class structures including group sessions that are specific to individuals with disabilities and also mainstream classes. Individual and private instruction is also available. A central goal of the program is to help children develop socially, as well as, physically, so they can ultimately participate in mainstream classes.
About The Karate Can-Do! Foundation
The Karate Can-Do! Foundation, a separate entity, is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit foundation providing opportunities for an individual with any disability to participate in the sport of Karate and compete. The foundation provides scholarships, team travel, seminars, and internship opportunities.
North Shore Dojo is located at 2081 Johns Ct, Glenview, Illinois. For more information on the Karate Can-Do! Program, call 847.729.0001 or visit www.northshoredojo.net. For information on the Karate Can-Do! Foundation, go to www.karatecando.org.