Martial Arts Center for Students with Special Needs, Inc. is a non for profit organization that has been in business since 2007. Kia Kidz is a part of the Black Lotus Academy of Martial Arts, teaching the style of American Ju-Jitsu. Kia Kidz Program is the only school in Miami Dade that specializes in teaching students with special needs the art of martial arts. The style was developed by Taishi Vernon Jones Jr. Ju-jitsu is translated as “science of softness” or “gentle art” with combination of styles (Aikido, Judo, American Karate)…. BLAM has been helping families and our community since 1978.
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Kia Kidz is one of the branches of BLAM and was created by Svetlana Smirnova & David Miranda. Martial Arts Center for students with Special Needs program was introduced by Sensei Svetlana in the summer of 2005 at one of Miami’s schools for children with special needs. The result of this program was phenomenal - parents have requested Kia Kidz to be formed.

 

Sensei Lana Smirnova, Chief Instructor

Sensei Lana Is a 3rd Degree Black Belt in American Ju-Jitsu. She has been working with children with special needs for over 5 years in Miami Dade County.
Sensei Lana has been married Sensei David for 4 years and together they have four children, Julian (15), Christian (13), Alexis (13), Timothy (2 ½ ). Lana was born and raised in Moscow, Russia and moved to United States in 1995.
Sensei Lana has been working at an inclusion preschool in Miami Dade for the last 10 years and is working on her Bachelor’s Degree from Florida International University.
In September of 2000, Sensei Lana started her journey in martial arts when she decided to try the class at Black Lotus Academy of Martial Arts to be able to learn self defense techniques to protect herself. At the same time her son, Christian, who was 3.5 years old joined the class with her. Their instructors Taishi Vernon Jones, Sensei Danny, Sensei Nestor gave her self confidence and the knowledge of American Ju-Jitsu. While practicing karate she met a wonderful man, who was participating in classes with his 2 children (Alexis & Julian). They got married and after receiving her Black Belt in 2006 Sensei Lana and Sensei David dedicated their lives to helping children with special needs to be included in the martial arts world and other sports.
Sensei Lana has the love, trust, and understanding for you and your child.

Sensei David has studied and received his black belt in Kempo under Chief Instructor Si-fu George and Chief Instructor Si-fu Ernesto. In Ju-Jitsu, Sensei studied under Professor Vernon Jones (Taishi). Sensei David has been involved in martial arts for 33 years. He was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Miami, Florida.

Ten years ago, Sensei David started at BLAM as a student. He continued to study Ju-Jitsu along the way and received his Black Belt under the style of Black Lotus. As a single father, he decided to involve his children into the discipline of martial arts. Sensei Julian and Sampai Alexis both started at Kempo Academy at the age of 4. In 2004, Sensei David met Sensei Lana. Then in 2006, Sensei David and Sensei Lana got married and combined their skills of Ju-Jitsu to start Kia Kidz. They both decided to get Julian Miranda (Sensei, 15), Christian Gutierrez (Sensei, 13), Alexis Miranda (Sampai, 13), and Timothy Smirnov-Miranda (white belt, 2) involved in Kia Kidz.

Now, they continue to teach children that have special needs in the discipline of Ju-Jitsu. Sensei David is rewarded by the smiles and accomplishments of the children advancing to the next level of color belt. A day doesn’t go by where a parent or parents stop to thank him for the improvement in behavior, academics, and most of all self-confidence in their child or children.

Christian Gutierrez, Instructor
Sensei Christian has been doing Ju-Jitsu for 11 years. He is a black belt and an instructor at Kia Kidz and at the Black Lotus Academy of Martial Arts. Christian is dedicated to continuing his training in Ju-Jitsu and he has earned many trophies and awards. He specializes in working with children with special needs during Kia Kidz classes. It makes him proud to see the way the children improve their gross motor skills and their ability to follow directions, among other things. Christian is continuously going to the trainings to be able to get better at teaching and assisting children with special needs.

Julian Miranda, Instructor
Julian Miranda is a black belt in Ju-Jitsu. He started when he was four years old at the Kempo Academy of Martial Arts where he got up to orange belt. He then started at the Black Lotus Academy of Martial Arts also known as “B.L.A.M.” where he received his black belt. Throughout his training, Julian has learned discipline and control. For the past 3 years he has been an instructor at Kia Kidz. He loves to help kids with autism and recently earned an award from Kia Kidz parents for his dedication and willingness to help their kids. Julian enjoys teaching kids because he sees the difference he makes in their world. He is paid for his time through the smiles and gratitude given by the children and their parents. Julian looks forward to helping Kia Kidz for years to come.

Alexis Miranda, Assistant Instructor
Sampai Alexis is a brown belt in American Ju-Jitsu. She has been practicing martial arts for 10 years with B.L.A.M. Sampai Alexis lives and breathes martial arts. Along with her whole family, she dedicates her time to teaching students with special needs in afterschool classes and on the weekends. She competes in tournaments throughout the year and has won several trophies and awards. She enjoys showing them off to the little kids for motivation and to show them what they can someday win! Alexis enjoys helping children with special needs, it brings joy to her heart to know that she is helping them live as well as they possibly can.

 

 
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