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Marshall by name, martial by nature

Published 8th February, 2016
13 year-old Marshall Frankis is a new man since receiving funding for martial arts lessons through Therapy Focus’ GIVE Program and the Barrows Foundation.

Marshall has an intellectual disability and started  martial arts tuition at Premier Martial Arts and Fitness Academy after being awarded the charitable funding.

Marshall’s mum, Leah, says Marshall’s therapist suggested martial arts after an unsuccessful attempt at athletics. She has been pleasantly surprised by the positive effect it’s had on all aspects of Marshall’s life.

“Martial arts has helped Marshall more than I could have imagined. He’s more confident, is socialising better and is doing better at school, therapy sessions and at home,” Leah said.

“Marshall has grown to love martial arts and has learnt what a difference it makes to his life when he goes compared to when he doesn’t. He is also learning self-defence, which is an important skill for him to have.”

Therapy Focus Occupational Therapist, Natascha Muehlberg, has also witnessed the changes in Marshall.

“Since he became involved in martial arts, Marshall has made significant gains with his communication skills, including speech clarity, which has been an ongoing goal for a number of years. His balance, coordination and fine motor skills have also improved and he is socialising well with his peers,” Natascha said.

Over the last year Marshall has attended a number of gradings, which are assessed on skill, technique, taekwondo patterns, sparring (kickboxing) and self-defense. He is steadily progressing through the belt system and enjoys the recognition he receives for  how far he has come.

Marshall’s goal is to achieve a black belt one day.

Therapy Focus’ GIVE Program is only made possible by donations from the WA community. For more information about the GIVE Program visit

Find out more about Therapy Focus’ Barrows Fund, which has been created following the closure of the Barrows Foundation.

Marshall Frankis with Natasha Muehlberg at Premier Martial Arts in Clarkson.

Marshall Frankis shows off his moves to Therapy Focus Occupational Therapist, Natasha Muehlberg, at Premier Martial Arts in Clarkson.

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