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fremoy
09-11-2010, 10:49 PM
Hi everyone

we have a blind student starting, does anyone have experience they can share?

Thanks
Mark

Peter Goldsbury
09-11-2010, 11:30 PM
A blind student took part several times in the seminars I gave in the Netherlands. He had learned ukemi and basic taisabaki at his local dojo. At the seminar, one of the dojo members acted as his minder and usually his partner. They were always alert if he trained with someone new.
Whenever I demonstrated a technique, I would always go and get him from the line-up, bring him out to the front and demonstrate on him, making sure his posture was OK and that he knew where his hands and feet needed to be. After demonstrating, I made him do the technique as well and took ukemi from him.
He had a guide dog, which would normally doze at the side of the mat, but clearly enjoyed the attention she received during the seminar.

Best wishes,

PAG

Shannon Frye
09-12-2010, 02:23 AM
Mark,
I had a blind youth in my class for a while, and found it beneficial to focus on tai sabaki.

As for techniques, a few times I had the other students be blindfolded, and try to work through various basic techniques. It was enriching for us to try and 'feel' our way through (focusing on not losing contact with uke), rather than rely on how we normally 'see' ourselves doing a technique. It also increased empathy and allowed the students to connect on a different level.

Best of luck to both of you!

Shannon Frye

brian donohoe
09-12-2010, 03:59 AM
We had a few people who had visual imparments in a club I trained in a few years back. As far as I rember once they were orientated in the dojo they used to just turn up like the rest of us. As far as training goes they only trained with some of the senior students So that they got more focused attention. All there instruction was either verbal or through touch (touch the leg you want them to move, uke would lead their arm movement.). Also as far as I rember if they had a colapseable cane they used this some times (folded) as a guide for their hand coordination (like we would use a bokken). The ukemi practice was broken down a lot, how to kneel down, how to sit down, how to lie back, that tyoe of thing. There was also a big point made about ensuring that they had a big input about how they learnt. Oh and they may have had some private lessons with the sensei before hand (not sure about this) and the first time they oriented them selves in the dojo there may only have been them and the sensei there.
Contact the woman at this dojo. She works for the blind council of Ireland http://www.herondojo.com/

Good luck with it.

niall
09-12-2010, 05:22 AM
Another thing you can try when you're teaching is doing the techniques a few extra times slowly with someone else as uke and with the blind student's hands on your waist.

On a general point safety is really important. There should be no chance of a collision with the blind student or the blind student's uke during a throw.

Erik Calderon
09-13-2010, 12:43 AM
Why not put on a blindfold and experience for yourself what it's like to practice without being able to see.

It's a lot of fun, and seems to develop a very powerful way to "feel" the technique.

Erik Calderon
http://www.escalderonmartialarts.com

Brad Myers
09-13-2010, 07:25 AM
I trained with a blind student a few years ago. When I met him, he was already an intermediate student, so I don't know how his early training went.

However, to help him understand my range at the start of a technique, I would call out "I'm about here" and clap my hands once or twice. This would give my opponent a rough idea where I was at.

He could do all the techniques of a normally sighted student. Just required a few extra minutes of practice.

Linda Eskin
09-13-2010, 03:03 PM
I don't know if this would be useful, but some blind equestrians have used a stationary source of sound (like a radio) at one end of the arena to help orient themselves to direction. You probably wouldn't want a radio playing during class, but maybe something else (wind chimes, a fan...) to give them an auditory point of reference would be helpful.

Janet Rosen
09-13-2010, 03:10 PM
I don't know about beginners but I've trained with 2 intermediate to advanced blind students and the one thing I learned fast was: maintain physical or energetic connection at all times or risk one heck of an atemi! :-) The main thing really was that as nage I really had to take full responsibility for clear landing spaces.

Russ Q
09-13-2010, 03:19 PM
Allen Wynne in my town is blind and teaching aikido and systema. While I no longer train with him I find him an exemplary individual. Very aware, very intuitive. Check out what he does at www.gibsonsaikido.com

Cheers,

Russ

shakou
09-14-2010, 07:25 AM
I was at a seminar a few years ago for Sensei Jon Stokoes 40th year in aikido and one of the Sensei who was instructing was blind. I forget if this was from birth but it had been a considerable time and he leaned aikido while he was blind. He was really good, 2nd dan if I remember right.

He was also pretty good with his iaito, went through a few kata very well. All in all it was a pretty enlightening experience to watch this. Just shows that there are very few limitations.

jonreading
09-14-2010, 11:34 AM
I believe orientation and awareness top the list from my experiences. Make sure your student can orient himself (or herself) towards kamiza and in relation to other students for training, make sure your student is aware of his (or her) surroundings during training to prevent collision or dangers related to falling off the mat. After those things, my experience is that blind students don't particularly do better or worse than other students depending on the techniques and curriculum.

fremoy
09-23-2010, 08:17 AM
Wow thanks for sharing everyone. It's great to hear your commitment, very inspiring.
I had no idea there were people with visual impairments teaching and reaching the higher grades! fantastic!

Our student Yvonne has come for 2 classes now and she's loving it. Says she doesn't know why she didn't do this ages ago and really gets the Ki feeling.
This all started as a project after I spoke to a Afghanistan war veteran who'd lost his sight. He told me all the activities geared towards him are sedate and he misses movement and being active.
I put an article in my county (State) guide dogs news letter about what I thought Aikido could give ppl and a free event to practise, and even got the insurance company to cover 20 licence fees for a year..
as it was.. there wasn't any interest and Yvonne was about to throw out the letter when she read my article.
Seeing what she's got already has inspired me and I'm going to put ads in the publications that will reach ppl with visual impairment inviting them to attend, oh and ask Yvonne to write something too.

Thank you again for the information, I'll be emailing the people you've suggested.

see ya
Mark.

We practice in St. Albans in Hertfordshire in the UK under The Ki Federation of Great Britain

Alex Megann
09-24-2010, 06:31 AM
I was at a seminar a few years ago for Sensei Jon Stokoes 40th year in aikido and one of the Sensei who was instructing was blind. I forget if this was from birth but it had been a considerable time and he leaned aikido while he was blind. He was really good, 2nd dan if I remember right.

He was also pretty good with his iaito, went through a few kata very well. All in all it was a pretty enlightening experience to watch this. Just shows that there are very few limitations.

I think you mean Steve Fyffe:

http://www.aikidoinnorwich.net/

I went to a course a three or four years ago where Steve did a nice demonstration against three attackers...

Alex

shakou
09-24-2010, 07:10 AM
I think you mean Steve Fyffe:

http://www.aikidoinnorwich.net/

I went to a course a three or four years ago where Steve did a nice demonstration against three attackers...

Alex

Yeah man, thats him. I was pretty amazed to see this. Really puts things in to perspective for you.

Cheers for the reminder :)

TheAikidoka
10-08-2010, 03:44 AM
I have known steve fyfe for quite a few years now. a couple of years ago, I uke`d for his 3 dan at, the shin gi tai, summer school. He has been blind since birth, has dan ranks in Judo, and a master of the art of cane fighting.
He started off under the NAF with my sensei, John Duggan,My sensei and Sensei Fyfe are rather close. When My teacher left the NAF and joined the Shin Gi Tai Aikido society, Sensei Fyfe came with him, although Steve lives and teaches in Norwich, we all still have rather close ties through the Shin Gi Tai.
His sense of perception is truly extroadenary.

Andy B

WilliB
10-08-2010, 03:57 AM
I have known steve fyfe for quite a few years now. a couple of years ago, I uke`d for his 3 dan at, the shin gi tai, summer school. He has been blind since birth, has dan ranks in Judo, and a master of the art of cane fighting.
He started off under the NAF with my sensei, John Duggan,My sensei and Sensei Fyfe are rather close. When My teacher left the NAF and joined the Shin Gi Tai Aikido society, Sensei Fyfe came with him, although Steve lives and teaches in Norwich, we all still have rather close ties through the Shin Gi Tai.
His sense of perception is truly extroadenary.

Andy B

That is pretty amazing. Blind Judo I can understand; what you can grab you can understand. The leader of the notorious Aum Shinrikyo religion was also blind, and a judo dan.
But Aikido --- wow. How in the world does he do that?

genin
07-26-2011, 03:13 PM
Being blind and doing martial arts seems not only daunting, but possibly inappropriate. However, after having seen the MMA fighter with no arms OR legs, I now realize that anything is possible.

Janet Rosen
07-26-2011, 03:34 PM
Being blind and doing martial arts seems not only daunting, but possibly inappropriate. However, after having seen the MMA fighter with no arms OR legs, I now realize that anything is possible.

If you have read thru the many responses to this thread, how could you possibly consider visual impairment (or other disability) "inappropriate"?

genin
07-26-2011, 03:49 PM
If you have read thru the many responses to this thread, how could you possibly consider visual impairment (or other disability) "inappropriate"?

It's inappropriate in the same way that it would be inappropriate to do a middle school play for the movie Brokeback Mountain.

You're talking about a martial art based on an opponent approaching you to strike you. Without vision, you can not effectively train against that. There are a billion and one things a blind person can do, like play piano. I personally believe that it is not an appropriate choice to pick Aikido of all things as their choice of study. Tai chi, maybe.

Janet Rosen
07-26-2011, 05:02 PM
It's inappropriate in the same way that it would be inappropriate to do a middle school play for the movie Brokeback Mountain.

You're talking about a martial art based on an opponent approaching you to strike you. Without vision, you can not effectively train against that. There are a billion and one things a blind person can do, like play piano. I personally believe that it is not an appropriate choice to pick Aikido of all things as their choice of study. Tai chi, maybe.

Thank you for elucidating your opinion. It seems to be based on limited exposure to the skills the visually disabled actually need/have/use to deal with daily life.

genin
07-26-2011, 05:18 PM
Thank you for elucidating your opinion. It seems to be based on limited exposure to the skills the visually disabled actually need/have/use to deal with daily life.

I eat at a cafeteria that is run by a blind person. He's also the cashier, which again, I feel is an interesting choice for a blind person. On numerous occassions he has rung things up wrong and given wrong change. I've seen him get flustered and ring it up wrong and just kinda "whatever" it, and not bother to correct it--taking a loss by undercharging. I've corrected him a number of times, not wanting to rip off a blind person. But sometimes I'm like "whatever" myself, and don't bother to tell him that he's ripping himself off.

It comes down to the fact that if you are going to put a blind man on a cash register, you can't act surprised when the drawer turns up short at the end of the night.

sakumeikan
07-26-2011, 06:12 PM
I eat at a cafeteria that is run by a blind person. He's also the cashier, which again, I feel is an interesting choice for a blind person. On numerous occassions he has rung things up wrong and given wrong change. I've seen him get flustered and ring it up wrong and just kinda "whatever" it, and not bother to correct it--taking a loss by undercharging. I've corrected him a number of times, not wanting to rip off a blind person. But sometimes I'm like "whatever" myself, and don't bother to tell him that he's ripping himself off.

It comes down to the fact that if you are going to put a blind man on a cash register, you can't act surprised when the drawer turns up short at the end of the night.
Dear Roger,
I would suggest the blind guy is ok.He is doing his best under difficult circumstances.That takes courage.If anyone is blind[not literally ] its the people who might rip the guy off.Anybody who takes advantage of a blind guy trying to earn a living and short changes the guy or takes too much change off him , is a low life.I admire anyone who tries to be independent despite fate being unkind to them. Cheers,
Joe.

jonreading
07-27-2011, 10:41 AM
I have posted several times on this subject, but I feel the need to post again. I think these are important conversations to hold and I am seeing a common thread draw through the last several posts. In presenting an argument about whether disabled students may or may not practice aikido it is important to remain focused on the argument. Not all people who advocate against disabled persons hate disabled persons. Not all people who present a perspective contrary to political correctness are bigots or idiots. These are not valid responses to an argument, they are occlusive maneuvers to change the focus of the argument. You want to advocate to allow blind people to train, you present your facts and counter the facts presented in the argument.

What if I were to change this argument, specific to vision. What if I were comparing fighter pilots and claimed vision should not be a factor in determining fighter pilots? What about driving? What about sports? What about any activity where our God-given talents are compared to another's? In fact, why do we even correct vision? Everyone is equal, right? Or, is it OK for a blind person to train aikido because deep down, we feel sorry for that person? What if this is our way of apologizing to that person for their condition?

Isn't someone who would shortchange anyone a low-life? Why just blind people? Is short-changing a sighted person OK? Aren't we actually just a little prejudice towards disabled people? Shouldn't we be a little prejudice?

Blindness is a significant challenge to overcome, don't diminish the condition by implying it does not affect a person's abilities. Aikido is a martial art, don't diminish its complexity and effectiveness by implying a blind person can perform to the same expectation as a sighted person.

I feel training anyone with disability is a challenge. I believe there needs to be a better set of expectations for that individual, I believe the students of the dojo need to exert additional care when working with that individual. Its the choice of the dojo to assume the additional responsibility to accommodate the special needs of that student. Can it be done? Absolutely. Should it be done? Conditionally.

Give credit to the courage these individuals display in choosing to undertake activities that strain their abilities. Appreciate the challenge they undertake and support their efforts. But understand your responsibility to set for them reasonable expectations. Understand that when you set poor expectations, you are risking their safety.

genin
07-27-2011, 11:17 AM
Nicely put Jon. I suppose you have to look at the specific circumstances. Why the person wants to train, and if it's plausible to do so in that particular dojo.

I also don't like the idea of saying "You're blind, you can't do this!" But perhaps it would be prudent to simply direct their focus onto something more suitable to their condition.

I recall taking gymnastics in school, but once I exceeded 6'3", the coach was like "You should probably try volleyball instead of this." Which I did. But it wasn't him crushing my dreams of being a gymnast, rather he was simply pointing out an obvious issue and a giving me a legitimate alternative. I ended up being happier playing volleyball, btw.

Janet Rosen
07-27-2011, 11:28 AM
A couple of thoughts....
1. A strike is within the general realm of something moving towards you in space. Whether one is sighted or not, having to deal with objects large and small and people and animals moving towards them in space is part of everybody's daily life at home, at work, on the street, whatever. Each person automatically makes use of whatever senses they have, including sight, hearing, air currents, what we call "sixth sense" etc, since each person's acuity and nervous system is a bit different. Most people, sighted or not, are not interested in martial arts or in training for the eventuality that someday one of those incoming things might be fast, hard and a real threat (heck, a car might qualify just as much as a roundhouse to your head). These are the things, plus having worked around and also been on aikido mat with blind people, that make me believe there is nothing "inappropriate" with blind folks training in aikido.
2. John, you seem to be making an arguement against something nobody has said. Nobody on this thread has accused anyone of bigotry, nor said or implied that all people or all classes of people have the same capabilities. It's baggage from other threads, other people, not here.
3. What I AM saying is that membership in a particular class of people should not be an automatic bar. I have no hearing impairment but also have no particular talent for music and know darn well I will never excel at music - but if I think playing the piano with enhance my life and a teacher has a music school and is happy to have me as a beginning piano student and I'm happy to practice diligently to the best of my limited capabilities....well, what is wrong with that? Heck the same can be said about my martial capabilities, I have no innate talent for anything movement based, and I'll never be a Great Martial Artist (TM) but yes I have trained sincerely and diligently for over 15 years and I think in that time it has NOT been a one way street - what I mean is, yes it has provided great personal growth to me, but I have also been a good training partner to my peers, helped many beginning students, and contributed time and energy to every dojo I was a member of. So what I am saying is, regardless of what you or I think about a given person's "fitness" for aikido based on some attributes, let that person sink or swim on their own merits. You might be surprised what a person can do.

jonreading
07-27-2011, 02:26 PM
Thank you for elucidating your opinion. It seems to be based on limited exposure to the skills the visually disabled actually need/have/use to deal with daily life.

Janet, to me this statement is a implication of incompetency. You are counter-arguing Roger's point by claiming he has limited knowledge about the topic, correct? Roger's opinion is invalid or diminished because he is not competent to speak on the topic, correct? How is this statement relevant to discussion, if not to diminish the credibility of the statement?

If the point of your claim is that Roger's argument is invalid because he is not competent to speak on the topic, then make that your point - I believe competency is a desirable trait for our posters and I do not oppose a challenge to the matter. Otherwise, this reads like a cheap parlor trick to imply You don't know the blind man, therefore you can't speak about the blind man. I'm not even going to get into the unsubstantiated claim about to whom or what Roger has been exposed in his life. If this is not the intention behind the statement, I would like to request clarification because otherwise I am confused by the statement.

Janet Rosen
07-27-2011, 03:49 PM
If the point of your claim is that Roger's argument is invalid because he is not competent to speak on the topic, then make that your point - I believe competency is a desirable trait for our posters and I do not oppose a challenge to the matter. Otherwise, this reads like a cheap parlor trick to imply You don't know the blind man, therefore you can't speak about the blind man. I'm not even going to get into the unsubstantiated claim about to whom or what Roger has been exposed in his life. If this is not the intention behind the statement, I would like to request clarification because otherwise I am confused by the statement.

John, BTW I don't mind you raising this question and thank you for being willing to engage in the conversation on a direct, polite level.

I spent some time last night trying to clarify my thoughts on the issue because I very much wanted to get away the issue of any one person's exposure to this or that many blind people in this or that settings - because often anecdotes on *either* side of any issue are simply not generalizable - so I pondered what some of the more "root"issues were for me, letting my mind consider
The best I could express is is in what I wrote this morning in point 1) on my post, about general skills we all need to have in life.

To Roger, I believe I understand where you are coming from but we may have to agree to disagree. A couple of points:
1. I may be off-base on this, never having been a college athlete, but I believe one of the major roles of a college coach is to develop individual athlete's potential as part of a team effort to win. This leads to different decisions about who trains in what sport than when regarding the issue of a less talented or less able person being able to pursue something they are very interested in within a non-competitive environment.
2.My definite position is that the only person who really should refuse to take the person on as a student, is the prospective teacher. I do believe that individual teachers get to make their rules for their own dojos, based on their own interests, strengths, values and priorities, and no teacher is under obligation to accept everybody who walks in the door (I think there may is an exception if they are subject to laws due to being in a publicly funded site).
Personally, I prefer training at more inclusive dojos but this is a case of YMMV and just as a teacher reserves the right to select students I reserve the right to select dojos partly on aspects of the dojo culture that matter to me but may not matter to other people.

genin
07-27-2011, 05:12 PM
What about students who pay a hundred bucks a month for lessons, and get paired up with the blind person? Now that student has to make concessions to accommodate the blind person. Going a little slower, exhibiting more caution--taking away from the intensity of thier own training. They can't train full on like they could with a regular student. Then maybe the blind guy gets hurt. Now the student feels bad, like they did something wrong. Then the student, the blind guy, and the Sensei all begin to second guess whether or not this was a prudent choice. But this of course could've been prevented simply by tactfully suggesting that the blind person pursue another endeavor.

Years ago I was fired by my boss and told that I should never be a manager, for any business, especially restaurants. Why not? I'm just as smart, sociable, and able bodied as anyone else. I lost my job and it screwed me at the time, but you know what, he was right. It hurt my feelings, and made me feel less than, but I accepted that for whatever reason, it just wasn't right FOR ME.

The same thing is true of blind people, but the reason they shouldn't do certain things is obvious. And it's nothing that they'd have to second guess themselves over the way I second guessed myself about restuarant management work. You tell a blind guy he can't drive a car, he'll accept that. He's not going to get all butt hurt because you dashed his hopes of being a race car driver. I mean we have to be realistic at a certain point.

Janet Rosen
07-27-2011, 06:18 PM
What about students who pay a hundred bucks a month for lessons, and get paired up with the blind person? Now that student has to make concessions to accommodate the blind person. Going a little slower, exhibiting more caution--taking away from the intensity of thier own training. They can't train full on like they could with a regular student.

What is a "regular student" - do you only train with very fit young people who can match your intensity? And what about someone who is much more advanced and fit than you: do you not expect them to account for the fact that you cannot train to their level?
There is value in learning CONTROL of one's speed and intensity of training. Some of us are health care professionals, mental health or rehab or corrections professionals, work w/ disturbed youth: we HAVE to include in our training on the mat a level of control that can do an effective pin or lock on an attacker without causing harm. There is a role for all training.
WAIT. you just posted on another thread that you have chronic back pain so you can't stand to be slapped on the back and that you "don't train in a dojo." So, tell me: how do you know what it is to be a "regular student" or to have your training affected positively or negatively by students either more or less advanced than you?

jonreading
07-27-2011, 06:55 PM
Thanks Janet. I appreciate the consideration. To me, the issues surrounding whom we choose to train is important. When we touch upon the sensitive issues it can be all to easy to misinterpret or mis-state a perspective and that can derail a productive conversation.

I believe it is important to the students of the dojo and to the student whose training will be unique that everyone understands what to expect from their training. Ultimately, that decision lies with Sensei and sensei assumes the responsibility for the decision. For me, aikido is something that changed my life and I wish to share that experience with as many people as I can. But as sensei, I also assume the responsibility of each student with whom I train. And I also share that burden of responsibility with the other students in the dojo. Whatever the burden, my students must accept the burden and alter their training. Maybe younger students do not receive an education from a sempai to which they can relate. Maybe older students are at physical risk because of the movements of their disabled partner. Maybe fit students cannot train with as much vigor. Maybe experienced students cannot train with as much intensity. Maybe there are many different ways in which that burden of responsibility manifests itself in a dojo.

I think we should invite students to train aikido, but not fool ourselves as to the conditions and sacrifices we make in our training. Aikido may be non-competetive, but do not every tell my wife that my time away from her or my family is not a sacrifice. :) I cannot afford to not maximize my efforts in the time I train.

Thanks again Janet. I appreciate your comments.

Janet Rosen
07-27-2011, 07:31 PM
And John, I appreciate your perspective as a dojocho who has to make those decisions. Thank you too.

graham christian
07-27-2011, 08:51 PM
Lest we forget, anyone can learn Aikido. So there is no reason at all why a blind person cannot.

The thread was on advice, helpful advice. Much was forthcoming. Excellent.

Remembering it's a martial art should be taken on board by the 'naysayers' for the basic attitude and discipline of a martial art is YOU CAN.

Disability in my opinion is a lie, not the truth. It's merely impaired ability. You either have the discipline and responsibility to help or you find excuses why it could be 'so dangerous' or ' not for them' .All in their best interest of course. (I don't think!)

Regards.G.

Mary Eastland
07-27-2011, 09:25 PM
Among our regular students we have 2 people who are legally blind... one of whom just had a foot amputated. He said he will be back on the mat when he has figured out how to manage on his new foot.

Everyone matters. Regular students, indeed!

hughrbeyer
07-27-2011, 10:01 PM
Everybody matters, and everybody has something to teach. The "weak," small women force me to get super-sensitive to feel what they're doing and where they're going with their technique. The big, strong guys force me to deal with their strength without getting strong back. The newbies force me to deal with untrained attackers. The high dans force me to learn what they think I should learn instead of what I want to work on. :-) My first sensei had had polio and walked in leg braces with a crutch. We learned quickly to keep our backs straight when we threw him because when he went over, that crutch wasn't stopping for anybody.

Nobody's perfect. No one person is going to maximize your training. Training with a blind person would definitely introduce challenges, and they should be discussed frankly, but I'm not convinced there'd be nothing to learn from it.

genin
07-28-2011, 03:15 PM
If a blind person walks into a dojo and asks the Sensei, "Can I train here?" I have a feeling that in most cases the determining factor will be "Can you pay the membership fee?" Let's face it, most dojos are businesses, and students equal money. No eyes, no problem. No foot, no problem. No credit card....PROBLEM!

At the end of the day it doesn't matter what the blind guy is looking to get out of Aikido, or how his invovlment may impact other students. Because ultimately it comes down to whether he is accepted into the dojo as a paying student.

I recall my early days in the dojo. Troubled kids would get signed up by their parents. They had little interest in martial arts, and their disruptive behavior was a constant distraction and made classes with them awkward and unproductive. It came down to the fact that they paid for lessons, and as long as my master got his money, it didn't matter what they did in class or who it impacted.

JW
07-28-2011, 07:58 PM
I have to ask, because I don't want to live in a world where this isn't clarified:
It's inappropriate in the same way that it would be inappropriate to do a middle school play for the movie Brokeback Mountain.

Would that be inappropriate because:
a) The gay students who are just discovering their sexuality may feel that being gay is ok to talk about
b) The straight students may feel that being gay is ok to talk about even though it is different from themselves
c) There would likely be sex in the play [although that could be edited out]

I realize choosing C is an obvious good answer but I have to ask. Anyway lots of movies and short stories have sex in them, so I can't just assume you meant C without asking. Thanks!

ps back to the topic.. aikido is an ideal choice of martial art for a blind person in my opinion. Lots of dojos work more with grabs than strikes. I've done aikido blindfolded as an exercise, and I know others have too. It is remarkably similar once contact is made.

jonreading
07-29-2011, 09:42 AM
Disability in my opinion is a lie, not the truth. It's merely impaired ability. You either have the discipline and responsibility to help or you find excuses why it could be 'so dangerous' or ' not for them' .All in their best interest of course. (I don't think!)

Regards.G.

I believe Graham has a point in stating that some disabilities are simple a greater impairment than it accessible non-disability. I don't know if I would go as far as to make than a general claim. Since we are discussing vision, what is the difference between a blind person and someone whose vision is so poor as to be legally defined as blind without the aid of spectacles? Why is it that we clearly show a prejudice when we see someone walking with a stick, while we do not extend the same courtesies to an individual wearing coke-bottles? Pity? Charity? Grace?

Our job in aikido is not to "help" others. We are not missionaries in search of converts. Aikido is not a social science seeking to aid those in need. We are an budo, and our dojo is a house of learning for those who wish also to train budo.

The underlying point I am trying to get at is whether we should treat a student differently than others and if so under what principles and conditions should we extend those considerations. Specifically, we are talking about vision impairment. If the argument is to extend special considerations to blind people to train because they are blind, then isn't the action itself one of prejudice?

Secondly, the conditions under which we train are at best strenuous and certainly we assume a risk in training. Are you really willing to accept additional risks in an effort to implement social progress in your dojo? Are your students willing to accept the additional burden of responsibility on your behalf? Some dojos will answer yes to these questions. Some dojos will answer no.

I think we have a right to choose what is best for our dojo, without the pressure political correctness. I believe this decision should be made in the interest of the dojo, not the interest of the individual. I respect either decision as long as it is universal and informed.

genin
08-02-2011, 10:22 AM
I have to ask, because I don't want to live in a world where this isn't clarified:

Would that be inappropriate because:
a) The gay students who are just discovering their sexuality may feel that being gay is ok to talk about
b) The straight students may feel that being gay is ok to talk about even though it is different from themselves
c) There would likely be sex in the play [although that could be edited out]

I realize choosing C is an obvious good answer but I have to ask. Anyway lots of movies and short stories have sex in them, so I can't just assume you meant C without asking. Thanks!

ps back to the topic.. aikido is an ideal choice of martial art for a blind person in my opinion. Lots of dojos work more with grabs than strikes. I've done aikido blindfolded as an exercise, and I know others have too. It is remarkably similar once contact is made.

I used Brokeback Mountain as an example because there is no clear cut reason why it shouldn't be in school plays, yet we all realize that it would be inappropriate. Is it the fact that it depicts a sex act, maybe. Is it that it has a history of being controversial, maybe. Is it that there is no real reason homosexuality should be a topic or theme in a school setting, maybe. There are a lot of questionable reasons, so it's best to just not do it. But it's going to ultimately be up to the dojo whether they want to teach blind students, and if they decide to make that choice, more power to them.

graham christian
08-02-2011, 05:05 PM
I believe Graham has a point in stating that some disabilities are simple a greater impairment than it accessible non-disability. I don't know if I would go as far as to make than a general claim. Since we are discussing vision, what is the difference between a blind person and someone whose vision is so poor as to be legally defined as blind without the aid of spectacles? Why is it that we clearly show a prejudice when we see someone walking with a stick, while we do not extend the same courtesies to an individual wearing coke-bottles? Pity? Charity? Grace?

Our job in aikido is not to "help" others. We are not missionaries in search of converts. Aikido is not a social science seeking to aid those in need. We are an budo, and our dojo is a house of learning for those who wish also to train budo.

The underlying point I am trying to get at is whether we should treat a student differently than others and if so under what principles and conditions should we extend those considerations. Specifically, we are talking about vision impairment. If the argument is to extend special considerations to blind people to train because they are blind, then isn't the action itself one of prejudice?

Secondly, the conditions under which we train are at best strenuous and certainly we assume a risk in training. Are you really willing to accept additional risks in an effort to implement social progress in your dojo? Are your students willing to accept the additional burden of responsibility on your behalf? Some dojos will answer yes to these questions. Some dojos will answer no.

I think we have a right to choose what is best for our dojo, without the pressure political correctness. I believe this decision should be made in the interest of the dojo, not the interest of the individual. I respect either decision as long as it is universal and informed.

Hi. I don't see any additional risks. As I said a martial art is a place of responsibility. To equate a blind or otherwise impaired person as the same as in terms of training is for me not a responsible train of thought. Obviously a blind person would have a slightly different programme.

All things done from holds should be no problem and I guarantee the person doing a technique with this blind person would be the one panicking or holding back or being too 'careful'

Therefore rather than being a burden it would indeed be a measure of how responsible the students are. It's pluses all round.

I also guarantee that if you trained with my friends completely blind son you would be made to feel like a beginner in certain aspects ie: sen no sen.

It's not a matter of political correctness for me for to me all people of whatever ability are the same. Therefore it's not sympathy from where I am coming it's empathy. I'm sure some if not many disabled would put the most active of students to shame in terms of discipline, effort, stamina, toughness, understanding, courage.

As a famous little dude once said-'Never underestimate your opponent.'

You or anyone else of course have the right to choose how and who trains in your dojo, I have no disagreement there. So I'm not saying what should be as a 'rightness' thing. Merely a better look at responsibility.

Myself, I can't agree with some of what you said for I have a different view on budo, as you know, and also therefore Aikido. Thus for me we are there to help, even if it's someone trying to take your head off.

Regards.G.

Belt_Up
08-02-2011, 05:28 PM
If a blind person walks into a dojo and asks the Sensei, "Can I train here?" I have a feeling that in most cases the determining factor will be "Can you pay the membership fee?"

But if you do not train in a dojo how can you possibly know this? I have a feeling that it would vary widely, depending upon the dojo.

Our job in aikido is not to "help" others...We are a budo, and our dojo is a house of learning for those who wish also to train budo.

Isn't that helping others?

Are you really willing to accept additional risks in an effort to implement social progress in your dojo?

You cannot change anything without some sort of risk factor, however trivial it might be. When it comes to social progress...why give women the vote? That was seen as risky, at the time. We've since come to realise it was the right thing to do.

Probably. ;-)

amoeba
08-03-2011, 07:34 AM
I used Brokeback Mountain as an example because there is no clear cut reason why it shouldn't be in school plays, yet we all realize that it would be inappropriate. Is it the fact that it depicts a sex act, maybe. Is it that it has a history of being controversial, maybe. Is it that there is no real reason homosexuality should be a topic or theme in a school setting, maybe. There are a lot of questionable reasons, so it's best to just not do it. But it's going to ultimately be up to the dojo whether they want to teach blind students, and if they decide to make that choice, more power to them.

Well, aside from the main topic: at least here in Germany, there is absolutely no reason why homosexuality shouldn't be a topic in a middle school play. Maybe not with the children, they probably wouldn't understand it, but he older children? Although maybe you wouldn't choose Brokeback Mountain but rather something a little closer to their reality. But showing that it's okay to be different is important, and that goes for homosexuality as well as for race or whatever...

Tim Ruijs
08-03-2011, 08:55 AM
As a dojocho you will have to decide to handle these precarious situations. Who do you allow to enter the dojo? Ultimately that defines who you are, what you stand for. Tough choices.

Some mention to maximise their training. I can somewhat relate to this and understand the context in which it is said. However, martially spoken this makes no sense. Combat (man 2 man) is about efficiency: take the other out quickly with the least effort possible. A handicapped person has very little chance to survive.

The strengths of handicapped persons may lie elsewhere and can be very useful. Visually impaired people very often have improved hearing, better sense of touch. Others may be good organisers, motivators. So I agree everybody has his merits.
I recently saw a Stan Lee superhuman documentary. It portrayed a blind person being able to ride a bicycle. The man uses echolocation (much like bats). Really really impressive. It shows what humans are capable off. Would he stand a chance in the Tour? I seriously doubt it. Is that important? By all means NO!

jonreading
08-03-2011, 10:00 AM
Hi. I don't see any additional risks. As I said a martial art is a place of responsibility. To equate a blind or otherwise impaired person as the same as in terms of training is for me not a responsible train of thought. Obviously a blind person would have a slightly different programme.

All things done from holds should be no problem and I guarantee the person doing a technique with this blind person would be the one panicking or holding back or being too 'careful'

Therefore rather than being a burden it would indeed be a measure of how responsible the students are. It's pluses all round.


Hey Graham, I am not sure I am catching your point. In your post, you begin by saying there is no additional risk for students with [vision] disabilities. Then you outline several instances where training someone with blindness would be different. Are you advocating that those differences would not carry with them different training burdens or risks associated with those burdens?

For example. We train with weapons in class. Obviously, even under the best conditions this represents a risk for students to be accidentally hit under a number of circumstances. Are you advocating that a blind person on a mat with weapons would not represent an additional risk to either the other students in proximity to the blind student or the blind student in proximity to the other students?
For example. We take active ukemi and sutemi in class. Under the best conditions our partners avoid falling into one another or being thrown off the mat. Are your advocating that a blind person taking ukemi (or sutemi) would not cause additional risk to either the other students in proximity to the blind student or the blind student in proximity to the other students?

These two scenarios are very common in dojo. I do not contest whether a greater observation of zanshin is appropriate. The occasions in which I have seen one student whack another with a stick are too numerous to recall. I can't count the number of times I have witnessed someone fall onto another student or fall off a mat. Accidents happen under the best conditions and I advocate that these situations are examples of some of the real risk we assume when we undertake students who are [visually] disabled.
I am not saying we should not undertake these risks to train others. Geoff made a good point to observe sometimes assuming risk is appropriate. I am simply advocating that students with vision disabilities present additional risks and burdens for the dojo. If you are saying that in the face of these additional burdens you choose to make lemonade from lemons, I do not contest that statement; I think many dojos that accept the students do just that. But I read your post as there is no additional risk to training these individuals. I think ignoring risk is imprudent at best and dangerous at worst. That's why we have waivers, right?

Geoff-
In answer to your question if budo is helping others. To clarify, I used to quoted text "help" because I am referring to the self-appointed persons who are out to fix people. I was not referring to the real aid one may seek when on the individual journey of budo. Sorry for the confusion.

graham christian
08-03-2011, 12:57 PM
Hey Graham, I am not sure I am catching your point. In your post, you begin by saying there is no additional risk for students with [vision] disabilities. Then you outline several instances where training someone with blindness would be different. Are you advocating that those differences would not carry with them different training burdens or risks associated with those burdens?

For example. We train with weapons in class. Obviously, even under the best conditions this represents a risk for students to be accidentally hit under a number of circumstances. Are you advocating that a blind person on a mat with weapons would not represent an additional risk to either the other students in proximity to the blind student or the blind student in proximity to the other students?
For example. We take active ukemi and sutemi in class. Under the best conditions our partners avoid falling into one another or being thrown off the mat. Are your advocating that a blind person taking ukemi (or sutemi) would not cause additional risk to either the other students in proximity to the blind student or the blind student in proximity to the other students?

These two scenarios are very common in dojo. I do not contest whether a greater observation of zanshin is appropriate. The occasions in which I have seen one student whack another with a stick are too numerous to recall. I can't count the number of times I have witnessed someone fall onto another student or fall off a mat. Accidents happen under the best conditions and I advocate that these situations are examples of some of the real risk we assume when we undertake students who are [visually] disabled.
I am not saying we should not undertake these risks to train others. Geoff made a good point to observe sometimes assuming risk is appropriate. I am simply advocating that students with vision disabilities present additional risks and burdens for the dojo. If you are saying that in the face of these additional burdens you choose to make lemonade from lemons, I do not contest that statement; I think many dojos that accept the students do just that. But I read your post as there is no additional risk to training these individuals. I think ignoring risk is imprudent at best and dangerous at worst. That's why we have waivers, right?

Geoff-
In answer to your question if budo is helping others. To clarify, I used to quoted text "help" because I am referring to the self-appointed persons who are out to fix people. I was not referring to the real aid one may seek when on the individual journey of budo. Sorry for the confusion.

Hi Jon. Yes I am advocating no additional risks or burdens.

I would equate it with any new member entering the dojo so if by numbers that equals an added risk or burden then mathematically that would be so but I say this for a different reason.

Firstly the disadvantage should be taken responsibility for ie: a blind person may need to orient himself with the surroundings first etc. Thereafter treated with the same respect as everyone else, no difference.

Secondly I don't hold to this people hitting each other with bokkens and falling into each other all the time or even on numerous occasions. When I witness this I am witnessing an ill disciplined dojo.

Knocks happen in martial arts, if you can't handle it then leave, that's the general rule and so I don't think they would appreciate people regarding them as a burden or risk. You mentioned pc? Thinking they could be a burden or risk is very pc wouldn't you say?

As I said before Martial arts teaches people they CAN. PC do gooders teach why they can't.

Regards.G.

Tim Ruijs
08-04-2011, 01:49 AM
I would equate it with any new member entering the dojo so if by numbers that equals an added risk or burden then mathematically that would be so but I say this for a different reason.

Firstly the disadvantage should be taken responsibility for ie: a blind person may need to orient himself with the surroundings first etc. Thereafter treated with the same respect as everyone else, no difference.

Secondly I don't hold to this people hitting each other with bokkens and falling into each other all the time or even on numerous occasions. When I witness this I am witnessing an ill disciplined dojo.

As I said before Martial arts teaches people they CAN. PC do gooders teach why they can't.


What is your view on the effect this may have on other students?
I also do not see why handicapped persons should not be able to practise (within their imposed boundaries). I would worry more about the student with back problems, weak set of knees. But still it will have effect on the group as a whole.

ryback
08-04-2011, 05:37 AM
Interesting topic and it seems that there are a lot of opinions about it.Well i happen to train in a non business type dojo,so in my eyes no potential student is a potential fee.But should the question "should a blind person train in aikido?" rises,then in my opinion there shouldn't even be such a question.It's much better for a person to practice,regardless of abillities or diabillities, than not.In the case of a blind person for example aikido training should help him through techniques that start from a grabing or contact attack,where he can be able to feel his uke and apply the technique even though he can't see.Anyway i think it is better for any person to practice than stay home and be miserable...

graham christian
08-04-2011, 05:49 AM
What is your view on the effect this may have on other students?
I also do not see why handicapped persons should not be able to practise (within their imposed boundaries). I would worry more about the student with back problems, weak set of knees. But still it will have effect on the group as a whole.

I don't get this effect on the students viewpoint. What effect? The effect is in their own heads.

But here's a point that needs to be understood about effect itself. If you can't accept being effect then you have no right calling yourself a martial artist.

Everyone wants to be cause. In fact most equate martial with being some super causative hero. A BIG mistake.

If you want to be much more causative you should practice being a willing and able effect and only then will you understand stability.

Treating students like some delicate thing that can easily be affected is anti Aikido or martial.

I think those who think or look upon disables in this way need to relook at themselves and their own arrogance. I have read many posts and see how these same people always 'cry off' or advise how careful you must be if you have a bad knee or hand or wrist etc.

In other words when their ability is impaired they can't do Aikido. Disabled people will look at them and laugh their socks off at such wimps calling themseves martial artists. If a person is impaired by some accident or a pain in the shoulder or a bit of a headache or feeling down etc then what better time is there to train?

Responsibility is doing with care and attention in a disciplined fashion. Responsibility is not worry. Worry has no place in a dojo.

Subtle differences are the difference in thought as well as action.

Regards.G.

Tim Ruijs
08-04-2011, 07:25 AM
Agreed that the effect is in their head. But that may result in behaviour you may not want in your dojo. Some students may avoid training with disable(s). Some may even leave. The atmosphere of the dojo may (probably will) change.
for better or worse...

I also agree that there is no room for worry on the tatami, for from it. but...when someone is injured and decides to come to practise that person becomes my responsibility. As dojocho I feel I must present problems my students can handle, or just handle. To put them in harms way, deliberately, does not make much sense to me. So when someone is injured I do take that into account because I could be legally liable if somethings happens.
This has happened to one of my first teacher....

graham christian
08-04-2011, 11:06 AM
Agreed that the effect is in their head. But that may result in behaviour you may not want in your dojo. Some students may avoid training with disable(s). Some may even leave. The atmosphere of the dojo may (probably will) change.
for better or worse...

I also agree that there is no room for worry on the tatami, for from it. but...when someone is injured and decides to come to practise that person becomes my responsibility. As dojocho I feel I must present problems my students can handle, or just handle. To put them in harms way, deliberately, does not make much sense to me. So when someone is injured I do take that into account because I could be legally liable if somethings happens.
This has happened to one of my first teacher....

Hi Tim.
I don]t get what putting someone in harms way means. The student is in harms way in a martial art.

Regards.G.

jonreading
08-04-2011, 02:28 PM
Hi Jon. Yes I am advocating no additional risks or burdens.

I would equate it with any new member entering the dojo so if by numbers that equals an added risk or burden then mathematically that would be so but I say this for a different reason.

Firstly the disadvantage should be taken responsibility for ie: a blind person may need to orient himself with the surroundings first etc. Thereafter treated with the same respect as everyone else, no difference.

Secondly I don't hold to this people hitting each other with bokkens and falling into each other all the time or even on numerous occasions. When I witness this I am witnessing an ill disciplined dojo.

Knocks happen in martial arts, if you can't handle it then leave, that's the general rule and so I don't think they would appreciate people regarding them as a burden or risk. You mentioned pc? Thinking they could be a burden or risk is very pc wouldn't you say?

As I said before Martial arts teaches people they CAN. PC do gooders teach why they can't.

Regards.G.

Hey Graham, I think we have to be talking past each other. In this most recent post you reaffirm there are no additional burdens or risks in the dojo, then acknowledge there are risks and burdens. Incidentally, I agree with you that new students also present increased risk in a dojo.

I do not think a dojo in which accidents happen would ill disciplined. Sometimes accidents happen. You can blame whomever, but it happens. I do not want to communicate that we should ignore risk, I want to communicate that we should be aware of risk and undertake it of informed consent.

Finally, I am not sure where the PC thing is going. In the United States, political correctness is a social pressure tool of progressivism. Liberally speaking, the very nature of the concept is to apply social pressure to progress a concept from a point of exclusion to a point of inclusion (or acceptance). In fact, I believe that is part of the tension in teaching disabled students - there is a social pressure to include them because they are disabled, to make a decision to move past their disability and include them in the dojo. I am not sure how your statement matches that definition. More specifically, I would argue that advocating blind people carry additional burdens in society is very un-PC - the very nature of PC would be to move past their disability. (Let it be known I have rarely been called politically correct.)

Although you bring up a great point about realizing a student is a burden within his dojo. I think many students do not like thinking they are a burden in a dojo. How many students have thought, "Man, I wish I could take sutemi so I could train harder." Or, "I don't train with black belts because I am not good enough to give them a workout." Or, "My leg hurts, I won't be a good uke." I think it is natural for us to desire to carry our own weight; I don't think that observation is specific to blind people. What about the deadbeat student who doesn't pay his dues? or the lazy student who doesn't help clean the mats? I do not mind students who carry with them a sense of obligation and duty to carry their weight. The solution for blind students is to give them other opportunities to carry their weight and contribute to the dojo. Again, some dojo are better equipped than others to accommodate blind students. That's why I advocate the choice should remain with the dojo.

Tim Ruijs
08-04-2011, 02:29 PM
Hi Tim.
I don]t get what putting someone in harms way means. The student is in harms way in a martial art.
Regards.G.
Yeah. I just read that part back and it reads weird.
Let me try to explain by an example. Let us say a student has a wrist injury and we practise aihanmi nikkyo. This could be bad for a 'normal healthy' wrist, but an already injured wrist might be permanently damaged.
When I would intentionally execute the technique at normal speed, disgarding aite's injury and something would indeed happen to the wrist (break it, tear tendons) I would be liable. I clearly disregarded the known injury and put aite in unnecessary real danger. This is not what Aikido practise is about.

genin
08-04-2011, 04:09 PM
I think that a student, if he was willing to do so, could be assigned to assist the blind student during class. That way Sempai and Sensei don't have to continually take time aside to coach the blind student themselves, which could detract from the lesson the rest of the class is receiving. We did that with the deaf guy in our dojo years ago. It's also the same thing we did with most new people. You pair them up with another student, not just to practice techniques, but so that student can sort of instruct them on the nuances of dojo training. In the case of a blind person, they'd always be paired with someone in order to insure that the blind person is safe and doing things properly.

I do think that a blind person should be able to train if they really want to AND if the dojo personel agree to allow them too. However, we can realistically say that their training would need to be different, or augmented to a degree. Maybe a little slower and more hands on. And that's fine, but that extra attention shouldn't detract from the quality and intensity of training that all the other students are paying to receive. It's all about trying to be acommodating to everyone in the dojo.

graham christian
08-04-2011, 07:12 PM
Hey Graham, I think we have to be talking past each other. In this most recent post you reaffirm there are no additional burdens or risks in the dojo, then acknowledge there are risks and burdens. Incidentally, I agree with you that new students also present increased risk in a dojo.

I do not think a dojo in which accidents happen would ill disciplined. Sometimes accidents happen. You can blame whomever, but it happens. I do not want to communicate that we should ignore risk, I want to communicate that we should be aware of risk and undertake it of informed consent.

Finally, I am not sure where the PC thing is going. In the United States, political correctness is a social pressure tool of progressivism. Liberally speaking, the very nature of the concept is to apply social pressure to progress a concept from a point of exclusion to a point of inclusion (or acceptance). In fact, I believe that is part of the tension in teaching disabled students - there is a social pressure to include them because they are disabled, to make a decision to move past their disability and include them in the dojo. I am not sure how your statement matches that definition. More specifically, I would argue that advocating blind people carry additional burdens in society is very un-PC - the very nature of PC would be to move past their disability. (Let it be known I have rarely been called politically correct.)

Although you bring up a great point about realizing a student is a burden within his dojo. I think many students do not like thinking they are a burden in a dojo. How many students have thought, "Man, I wish I could take sutemi so I could train harder." Or, "I don't train with black belts because I am not good enough to give them a workout." Or, "My leg hurts, I won't be a good uke." I think it is natural for us to desire to carry our own weight; I don't think that observation is specific to blind people. What about the deadbeat student who doesn't pay his dues? or the lazy student who doesn't help clean the mats? I do not mind students who carry with them a sense of obligation and duty to carry their weight. The solution for blind students is to give them other opportunities to carry their weight and contribute to the dojo. Again, some dojo are better equipped than others to accommodate blind students. That's why I advocate the choice should remain with the dojo.

Hi Jon.
I think your right, we are talking past each other somehow.
I do not say anyone is a burden or risk in actuality. When I mention that I am referring to how others see it. What I am saying is that it's a viewpoint. It's a burden only if you create it as such.

It's a risk only if you don't have the necessary responsibility needed. To me it's a pleasure.

Students and teachers even do no doubt look at things as burdens and not wanting to be a burden etc. but to me this is irresponsible thinking. It's actually arrogant and selfish really.
It's all backwards. There's enough people willing to try and make you feel you are a burden and there are enough people considering they are a burden. Now in the world of selfishness that would make sense. It's all put downs and control mixed with false sympathy.

Not in my world thank God.

Thinking of things in terms of burden is the road to misery as far as I'm concerned.

Regards.G.

graham christian
08-04-2011, 07:20 PM
Yeah. I just read that part back and it reads weird.
Let me try to explain by an example. Let us say a student has a wrist injury and we practise aihanmi nikkyo. This could be bad for a 'normal healthy' wrist, but an already injured wrist might be permanently damaged.
When I would intentionally execute the technique at normal speed, disgarding aite's injury and something would indeed happen to the wrist (break it, tear tendons) I would be liable. I clearly disregarded the known injury and put aite in unnecessary real danger. This is not what Aikido practise is about.

Still don't see that as an example of putting in harms way. I see that as acting irresponsibly. Why do Nikkyo on someone with a bad wrist?
That's not putting them in harms way that's blatantly being inconsiderate and brutal and betraying the students trust.

Regards.G.

Tim Ruijs
08-05-2011, 01:56 AM
Still don't see that as an example of putting in harms way. I see that as acting irresponsibly. Why do Nikkyo on someone with a bad wrist?
That's not putting them in harms way that's blatantly being inconsiderate and brutal and betraying the students trust.
Regards.G.
It is probably my bad english. I understand that to put one in harms way means that that person is liable to get injured in a certain scenario. Said person had better known what to do to get back to safety (or safer situation). In Aikido this is no different, but for the fact that you are never (intentionally) in real danger.
With this understanding I think in Aikido you are never really in danger, but when injured you might be. So yes you certainly act irresponsibly when you put aite in danger by disregarding his injury and 'put him in harms way'.