Kaizen Edge Foundation is a non-profit organization established to empower, mentor, and develop people with developmental and physical disabilities along with the people who live and work with them. “Kaizen” is a Japanese word that means “continual improvement.” We accomplish this task primarily through martial arts therapy and life coaching skills based on our RISE Values concept. The RISE Values stand for Respect, Integrity, Service, and Excellence. These values are emphasized throughout each client’s training which is based on personal and interpersonal leadership. Leadership leads to teamwork, individual empowerment and independence. This develops a culture of community, dignity, and respect.
Kaizen Edge Foundation will work with “Elite Edge Training” and other likewise programs to provide the opportunity for personal development to clients who do not normally have access to these services due to disability, financial hardship or geographic location. We provide the means to allow everyone the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually through martial arts, fitness, and life skills training using our RISE Values concept. Our primary focus will be on adult and child special needs clients including wounded military veterans. We will use the success of this project as a blueprint for similar programs across the country.
In 2010, Diane Cosnowski brought her oldest son, Alex, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, to Michael Hanson for karate lessons. Alex no longer qualified for Occupational Therapy and Diane had heard that karate might help him with some of the fine motor movements. The training worked well and Diane saw that Michael had a knack for teaching individuals with special needs so she invited him to speak at a large special needs conference. There he met the headmaster to a private special needs school and this meeting led to him being hired there as a karate instructor and adapted PE coach. Michael started to see the possibilities for helping and servicing the special needs community.
Diane and her husband, Chuck, had always envisioned "something more" for Alex. The conversations between them and Michael evolved into the concept for what is now Kaizen Edge Foundation.
These are the founders who have turned a vision into reality.
Michael Hanson, has been training and teaching martial arts and combatives for almost forty years throughout North America and Europe. His resume includes U.S. Army (Retired) Modern Army Combative Program instructor and Master Fitness Trainer. He has had the honor of serving as a USA Karate Federation Coach and Referee. Also, a member of the USA Karate Federation Technical Committee member for Kobudo (weapons). His certifications have included the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), and the International Sports Science Association (ISSA). Michael has also spent time as an Adapted Physical Education coach and a Life Skills and Job Skills coach at a private school for children and adults with special needs.
Diane Cosnowski, has spent the last 16 years working an advocate for special needs students and their families. She is the Program Director for Elite Edge Training where she continues to train and instruct karate. She holds a M.S. in Human Behavior and has worked as an Organization Intervention Specialist for 6 years. Her exposure to Applied Behavior Analysis for 9 years inspired her to become a Registered Behavior Technician, learning and applying the scientific approach for dealing with behaviors often exhibited by children with autism. As a military spouse, she worked for the military spouses’ clubs as fundraising chair for 7 years. She worked for the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) for 4 years and was part of the team that implemented a new resource, providing military family with information on schools and other educational resources at different duty assignments.
Charles Cosnowski is currently an Air Force officer with over 22 years of active duty service. He is a pilot by trade with over 1,800 hours, including 200 combat hours, in various aircraft including, the F-16, F-117, T-38, and the MQ-1. Charles holds three post-graduate degrees: an MS in Aeronautics Specialization/Airfield Management, an MS in Aerospace Engineering, and an MS in Cyberwarfare. He has led various teams and organizations of up to 80 members with great success.
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