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    Karate teacher kept up martial art after losing sight (Arizona Republic)

    By Linda Helser

    Armstrong said some parents who investigate his program are “turned off” by the idea that he is blind, but most give him the benefit of the doubt, particularly after they see how articulate and caring he is with children.

    Others don’t even seem to notice his disability until told.

    “The first day I talked to him I did not even guess he was blind through the whole conversation because he looked at me while we talked,” said Claudia Howe, 39, whose 11-year-old daughter Daniela is in one of Armstrong’s Wednesday night classes. “I didn’t realize he was blind until he finally told me.” Howe said her daughter has learned more than just karate from Armstrong. “He’s shown these kids that even if you have a disability, you can work it to your advantage,” she said.

    Tina Lefco, 42, mother of student Tiffany, 10, said she has noticed other unexpected developments as she watched a recent class. “Those kids out there aren’t in la-la land,” she said. “They’ve really learned to focus.”

    Jessica Herriage, 28, said her son Joshua has not only made strides on the karate mats but in the classroom as well. “He had an attention problem in school, but he’s doing much better now,” she said.

    Lizeth Barra, an 11-year-old student at Arrowhead Elementary School in Glendale said Armstrong’s blindness has little to do with her initial goal of protecting herself. “I’ve learned how to defend myself, and that’s a smart thing to do,” she said.


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