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Alan_Lamb
05-05-2006, 06:42 PM
Hello, my names Alan, im 19. I have mild cerebal palsey. I call it mild because to be honest, compared to some people with cp, I have it good.
My cp means that I have slight trembling in my arms and I walk differently to the able folk. That's basically it!
I've always wanted to learn Aikido, i've been researching it for years, and I recently found a place that taught the art near me. I know that Aikido is one of the most difficult of the arts to master, but it was one of the arts that I actually smiled at, just watching it.
I was telling myself to do this, i've never had something to say 'yeah, I did that, all for me.'
So I went allong to the lesson, an the sensei allowed me to watch. I was watching carefully, every hand movement and step, and I believe that I could do what they were doing. After the two hour lesson, the teacher approached me and told me that I wouldn't be able to learn because I am disabled.
To be honest, I was and still am heartbroken, and was wondering about your opinions of a guy with cp learning Aikido? Thank you for reading..

Mark Uttech
05-05-2006, 06:51 PM
Alan, you can do this. You can adapt aikido technique to your own body rythym. Trust me. In gassho

Alan_Lamb
05-05-2006, 06:54 PM
Thank you very much :) I just don't think their is another Aikido school for miles of my location, but I'm trying not to give up

thomas_dixon
05-05-2006, 06:55 PM
http://www.aikiweb.com/search/

I hope that sums up my feelings about the matter :-)

Enjoy aikido Alan :-P

Qatana
05-05-2006, 06:58 PM
I agree. Look for another dojo if you possibly can. If blind people can do, and teach, and people in wheelchairs, and people with neurological disabilities, and behavioral, and hearing impaired can all train in aikido, then you can,too.
Check the dojo search engine here on aikiweb, and welcome.

Alan_Lamb
05-05-2006, 07:00 PM
Thank you very much, I mean that from the bottom of my heart. And I did find another dojo that I could attend, a bit far away, but damn if i'll let that stop me.

SeiserL
05-05-2006, 07:18 PM
After the two hour lesson, the teacher approached me and told me that I wouldn't be able to learn because I am disabled.
Translation: "I don't know how to teach disabled students, but can't admit my limitations."

Go find someone open enough to teach you.

Welcome.

Michael Hackett
05-05-2006, 08:54 PM
Dear Alan,

I train with a 62 year old man who has had one hip, both knees, and one elbow replaced after years of military parachuting, a 37 year old who suffers cystic fibrosis and just underwent a double lung transplant and they both practice hard and well. Neither is a 25 year old nidan, but they can put the wood on you in a throw and take as well as they give. It just takes a teacher willing to try and some heart on the part of the student. I think Lynn Seiser is right and another teacher might be the answer, but maybe, just maybe, this teacher was testing your commitment and you should go back. From a distance no one can tell, so go with your gut on that issue.

Go find a dojo, train hard, have fun and don't give up!

Best wishes,

rottunpunk
05-06-2006, 03:06 AM
yeah. dont train at that dojo, sounds like the guy is a bit up himself.
its good that your willing to travel to another one, shows your dedicated, i hope that dojo suits you better.

the japanese look more highly on those who train hard despite physical etc. problems. im sure you'll do fine.

good luck
:p

Mark Freeman
05-06-2006, 07:04 AM
Alan,
I'm really sorry to hear that after much research into the art of aikido, no doubt coming across O'Sensei philosophy in the process. Aikido is a force for good in the world and it is for everyone.
It's a shame the first aikido teacher you have contact with is one without the good grace or humanity to invite you to train. His loss Alan not yours!
A suggestion is if you can find one of the 'real' aikido teachers out there, practice for as long as you can. I'm sure at some point you will grade. Take your white belt to the refusenik teacher, and offer it to him as a gift.
It may (or may not) encourage him to examine himself.
If he was 'testing' you as someone suggested you will have passed the test. But not with him ;)

regards, and good luck,
Mark

Peter Goldsbury
05-06-2006, 08:05 AM
Hello, my names Alan, im 19. I have mild cerebal palsey. I call it mild because to be honest, compared to some people with cp, I have it good.
My cp means that I have slight trembling in my arms and I walk differently to the able folk. That's basically it!
I've always wanted to learn Aikido, i've been researching it for years, and I recently found a place that taught the art near me. I know that Aikido is one of the most difficult of the arts to master, but it was one of the arts that I actually smiled at, just watching it.
I was telling myself to do this, i've never had something to say 'yeah, I did that, all for me.'
So I went allong to the lesson, an the sensei allowed me to watch. I was watching carefully, every hand movement and step, and I believe that I could do what they were doing. After the two hour lesson, the teacher approached me and told me that I wouldn't be able to learn because I am disabled.
To be honest, I was and still am heartbroken, and was wondering about your opinions of a guy with cp learning Aikido? Thank you for reading..

Hello Mr Lamb,

Well, if you lived in Hiroshima were able to travel to my dojo, I can assure you that you would be welcomed. However, if a prospective member has any disability, we insist on knowing all the medical details. Why? Because of the conditions set by our insurers. Because we train in a school dojo, all our members have to be insured against death or injury while training and if a member has a clear disability, the limitations that this might impose on his/her training have to be made clear to begin with.

You do not say where you are from, but I am thinking of possible reasons why the first instructor refused you permission to practise. I trained for ten years in the UK and I believe that the law has been tightened regarding matters like insurance in dojos. The indemnity declaration required in many aikido dojos round the world is not binding under UK law. Thus, if you were injured during training and sued the dojo for being negligent, the fact that you had signed an imdemnity statement would not count. But your medical condition, a previous medical condition, might be an issue here.

In Japan, by contrast, the law pretty well stacks the cards in favour of the dojo. So, if you sign a statement indemnifying the dojo against damages for death or injury, this will be valid, but the insurance company will make payments for loss of incomne etc. However the insurance company will be unwilling to pay out if there is a possibility that a previous medical condition contributed to the injury.

Sorry to go on like this, but all the posts so far have painted the first instructor in totally black colours and I think this is not quite right.

Finally, if you went to an Aikikai dojo in a federation affiliated to the I.A.F., I suggest that you PM me with details.

Best wishes, and I hope you find a dojo where you can train well.

Alan_Lamb
05-06-2006, 08:23 AM
I would like to say again thank you all very much for your support. I was thinking about going back to this dojo, to train with the other sensei's. The annoying thing is that he wasn't even the chief instructor, and the opinion of they guy in charge wasn't even asked.
Well the nearest dojo is now quite a distance, but im sure I can ask my brother-in-law to drive me :)

Dirk Hanss
05-06-2006, 09:09 AM
Hi Alan,
if you really want to do something, you probably just have to insist.

It is not fashionable now, but some teachers might refuse to teach anyone, until the student proves to be serious.

So you really can ask the same or other instructors again and again. You might need to offer to pay for your own insurance, to sign a disclaimer or whatever.

Nevertheless if you train, you have take responsibility for yourself. Even if sensei says "everybody do this or that", you have to think about, if it is good for you. Usually you can do everything just a bit smoother orjust a bit differently. If there is a regular exercise, you think, you cannot do at all, you have to talk to the instructor.

Usually instructors do not want to have students, who choose, what they want to do, but if there are students with limitations by age or any health aspects, they do accept these. Some might not, but what I have seen only when they claim just to teach for their own pleasure and select only very few elite students, and there is enough space in other dojo near by.

Kind regards

Dirk

aikidoc
05-06-2006, 10:46 AM
I agree that you can learn aikido, however, there may be limits that need to be imposed due to your CP. I have taught one CP student for a brief time who came to me periodically through the local college system. Frankly, his rolls scared the hell out of me due to his spasticity. You may be limited as to what you can do ukemi wise. Your technique will be somewhat of a challenge for you if you have a lot of spasticity. However, you can learn the techniques and I think your physical issues should be taken into consideration with full disclosure of your limitations and how your condition affects your body's ability to move and respond so that you don't get injured.

Hanna B
05-06-2006, 06:37 PM
I would like to say again thank you all very much for your support. I was thinking about going back to this dojo, to train with the other sensei's. The annoying thing is that he wasn't even the chief instructor, and the opinion of they guy in charge wasn't even asked.
Yeah, for everything a bit out of the ordinary it is much better to talk to the main teacher.

Jorge Garcia
05-06-2006, 06:46 PM
I agree that you can learn aikido, however, there may be limits that need to be imposed due to your CP. I have taught one CP student for a brief time who came to me periodically through the local college system. Frankly, his rolls scared the hell out of me due to his spasticity. You may be limited as to what you can do ukemi wise. Your technique will be somewhat of a challenge for you if you have a lot of spasticity. However, you can learn the techniques and I think your physical issues should be taken into consideration with full disclosure of your limitations and how your condition affects your body's ability to move and respond so that you don't get injured.


I agree that if he was just nage, it would take less energy and he could stay on his feet and be safer.

Michael Hackett
05-07-2006, 12:58 AM
My view changes somewhat now that Alan mentions that it was an assistant instructor who refused him. If he still has an interest in that dojo, then he should speak with the Chief Instructor. I can't imagine an assistant turning away a student in our dojo. Our Chief Instructor is the sole individual with that authority. I would recommend finding another dojo after this latest bit of information has come to light. Just doesn't sound like a good place to train.

Pauliina Lievonen
05-07-2006, 07:58 AM
As an assistant instructor of sorts myself... I'd be way out of line turning away students from the dojo.

To the original poster - I hope you'll keep us posted about how your aikido adventure goes. Don't give up.

kvaak
Pauliina

Alan_Lamb
05-07-2006, 11:47 AM
Yeah, but the cheif instructor was present. I believe him and another instructor were practicing for a presentation with bokken, and they left the class early. One of them asked if I was going to join, when I said 'hopefully' he didn't seem that bothered.

Pauliina Lievonen
05-07-2006, 12:26 PM
Have you been to see the other dojo yet? Just curious? :)

kvaak
Pauliina

Alan_Lamb
05-07-2006, 01:05 PM
Not yet, apparently the next dojo to me would be a bit of a distance away, so i've got to plan a journey to get there in as less time as possible. I live in Dagenham, and according to the dojo search, the next dojo would be in Braintree. Tis a bit of a trek, but im sure if I route plan, shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Don_Modesto
05-07-2006, 01:56 PM
Alan,

A couple of thoughts,

--Go for it. We have an aikidoist in N. Florida who not only trains, but was planning on opening his own dojo, last time I talked to him. His spirit overcomes his debility quite handily, thank you very much.

--Like Peter, I don't want to jump on the first instructor (especially since he wasn't the decision-maker--quite a pertinent piece of information.) He may have been concerned with safety/liability issues. I've had reservations on the mat about training with pregnant women myself, perhaps not the most PC attitude today, but I'd rather be dunned by thhe righteous than sorry for hurting someone. Your own persistence here may be persuasive (and he might not even say no, himself.) Were it me, I'd welcome you into the dojo, but I'd want a doctor's note on what to expect and take special care of/for, again, as Peter mentioned.

--I did a two-minute search, so caveat emptor, but turning you away is probably against the law. For your reference (and there were plenty more in Google which I didn't click on):

http://fchr.state.fl.us/faq.htm

Q. What protection does Florida law provide against discrimination?
A. It is against the law to discriminate in:
.... Evaluating an application for MEMBERSHIP IN PRIVATE CLUBS on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, handicap, age above the age of 21, or marital status.

GANBATTE!

Dirk Hanss
05-07-2006, 03:28 PM
http://fchr.state.fl.us/faq.htm

Q. What protection does Florida law provide against discrimination?
A. It is against the law to discriminate in:
.... Evaluating an application for MEMBERSHIP IN PRIVATE CLUBS on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, handicap, age above the age of 21, or marital status.

GANBATTE!

Hi Don,
somestime legal steps are fine, but the result might be, Alan can be a member of the club, but does not have access to lessons, due to medical reasons.
Not necessarily in aikido, but definitely in paragliding clubs - or do you think any court would force them to take anyone to a jump regardless of age and medical status?

But Alan, yes you could try and quote this Florida protection law. It might help.

Dirk

Hanna B
05-07-2006, 03:30 PM
I do not think legal stuff will get Alan anywhere nearer to what he wants. One should also realise that teaching handicapped is something difficult. It should not be expected of everyone who teaches aikido classes, me thinks.

Don_Modesto
05-07-2006, 04:11 PM
I do not think legal stuff will get Alan anywhere nearer to what he wants.

It does seem sort of a strong-arm tactic, doesn't it.

One should also realise that teaching handicapped is something difficult. It should not be expected of everyone who teaches aikido classes, me thinks.

Ah! One of the rare occasions we disagree, ma'am. We make different accomodations for big folk, small folk, old folk, young folk, and folk that climb on rock...why not challenged folk?

Ron Tisdale
05-07-2006, 04:38 PM
I'm not sure, but one of the people in my dojo has CP, I believe. I'll try to confirm that. He is a brown belt, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was to test for black. I train in a very rigorous style of aikido, Yoshinkan, and our instructor is 7th dan. If a teacher of that quality in a very rigorous style of aikido can teach the person I'm thinking of, someone can teach you too...especially if it is trembling that is the major limitation in you disability. But you do need to take into account the insurance issues mentioned.

I believe if you go back and talk to the senior instructor, an accomodation could probably be found. Best wishes, and don't give up. That person in our dojo is one of the people I admire most.

Best,
Ron

Adam Huss
05-07-2006, 08:02 PM
Hey, I'm pretty sure there is a guy in our organization that has CP. I think he's shodan...in fact I think I was there for his shodan test (like two years ago) at an annual fall seminar. There is a person who teaches in Ohio that I belive has CP and has to use braces/crutches to walk...and yet he still does aikido (Tomiki style and Daito Ryu) and he gets around quite well...has adapted to his "disability."

Hanna B
05-08-2006, 01:26 AM
We make different accomodations for big folk, small folk, old folk, young folk, and folk that climb on rock...why not challenged folk?

All depending on the situation and how much adaptation needs to be made, I guess.This is going to be more general and not directly related to Alan, now.

If someone with a handicap that would have a siginficant impact on their aikido - an arm missing, or whatever - asked me for an aikido dojo in the town where I live, I would point him or her to a dojo where xe gets to take beginner classes for experienced teachers rather than the teacher's fresh shodan students. An experienced teacher can make up ways to do technique with one arm. Asking this of a shodan who teaches the beginner classes since a year might sometimes be a little bit too much. In my nick of the woods, there are plenty of dojos around and there would be possibilites to point a handicapped student to other dojos where they are better in taking care of him/her - I have two specific teachers in mind.

Now, cerebral palsy without any extra handicaps on top is something else than a missing limb, and I admit I have no clue how much adaptation needs to be made for soneone with a mild cerebral palsy. I liked SeiserL:s "translation" of the "no", I don't know how to teach disabled students, but can't admit my limitations. IMHO it is accaptable not to know how to teach disabled students. It is rather strange for a junior teacher to say straight away that no one else in the dojo could do it, though. If you insist after initially having been turned down, you show you are determined. It could well be worth it to try and talk to the main instructor directly.

ruthmc
05-08-2006, 05:55 AM
I live in Dagenham, and according to the dojo search, the next dojo would be in Braintree. Tis a bit of a trek, but im sure if I route plan, shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Hi Alan,

Have a look at the BAB website for a dojo: http://www.bab.org.uk/club_directory/essex.html

All the best with finding a good place to train!

Ruth

Alan_Lamb
05-08-2006, 10:40 AM
Now thats odd, i've used that search engine before, but never found a dojo. And now their's one very close to me. I'll go down there when I get the chance. Thanks guys!