View Full Version : blind aikidoka

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07-21-2002, 08:42 AM
My sensei said a while ago there was a blind person at a seminar, and that she handled everything pretty well. Apparently she knew what to do from the names of the techniques/attacks. I must admit I find it hard to imagine how to train with/teach a blind person, but perhaps words convey the true meaning of the technique better and there is less personal bias ("my sensei does it this way"). Anyone who's trained with or taught someone blind wants to share any thoughts?

07-21-2002, 09:02 AM
In our dojo, we have a blind man. He's been training for 1,5 year or so now. If you ask me he's doing great, for someone with such a disadvantage from start.

I think the best advise in the case of someone blind asking to join your dojo - is to embrace it with full force. There are going to be obstacles in the way that has to be dealt with. e.g. how to signal attacks etc. Find a way to do so in your own way. Their is no universal solution, since different solutions will work for different persons.

In any case, everyone who interact and help a blind man in aikido class will come out with great experiences, and so will any blind man or woman who stays. Make sure they want to stay.

07-21-2002, 09:03 AM
Years ago I trained at dojo where one of the students was legally blind (could see only minimally, if much at all). He seemed to be able to feel things quite well and really picked up techniques redily. I have no idea whether he is still training or not, but he certainly wasn't deterred by his disability.

I also trained once at a dojo where one of the instructors was sight impaired, but could still see a bit. He was quite strong (olfactory as well unfortunely).

07-21-2002, 10:22 AM
We had a guy for about a year or so who was blind. It was pretty straight forward actually. The only hard part was getting him orientated towards you to attack and giving him some feedback (dragging feet, saying something, snapping fingers...) when you did a strike. Grabs were no problem. You did have to keep a watch on him because he couldn't see bodies flying his way but really it wasn't that big of a deal.

As to teaching him, he was usually used as the demo uke and he had a good body sense so the techniques often took care of themselves.

Doug Mathieu
07-23-2002, 01:35 PM
Hi Tom

A previous Dojo I belonged to and still visit often has a student who is blind.

I have trained with her and as a Yudansha helped her with learning the techniques.

She has a very good memeory and as someone has pointed out can relate the names of techniques, etc quite well. Her memory of body movement is also quite good.

What is interesting is when the instructor is showing a new technique or exercise you have to remember to verbally describe it much more than normal. I have done a few things for the class such as a warm up. I had to remember to describe the movements or use the name if she had learnt it before. It can be funny as you try to come up with the words to go with the exercise and they don't match.

Grabbing attacks are easily handled by her. Striking attacks work out pretty good too. At this stage uke will give her a clue on timing by kiaing. Also, for maai usually some kind of hand touch to set distance helps.

She is also doing weapons which is very interesting to see. She can feel the positions pretty good as long as the initial distance is established.

Sherman Byas
07-23-2002, 03:04 PM

It does my heart good to learn that disabled people are learning Aikido from my fellow Aikidoka. We had a gentelman once to come in and expressed intrest but wanted to know how we would approach his disability. He raised his pants legs, no lower legs. AT ALL! He soon moved out of town so he wasn't able to enroll.

08-13-2002, 12:08 PM
When I first started aikido in the early 70s, we had a blind brown belt. She had pretty good ki. I did not train long enough to see how she handled strikes but she had good grab defenses.

Bruce Baker
08-19-2002, 12:44 PM
We have a fellow who was blinded in an accident, Eddie, from Vineland Aikikai in NJ. He is teacher, so he must work from memory, and touch. He is about six inches smaller than me and about a hundred pound lighter at about 175 pounds, but once he knows where you are, it is almost impossible to tell the difference from him another teacher who has his/her vision. About the only difficulty he has is turning during practice as we try to tell him which direction or how far we turn during seminars. It may take longer to put the images in your mind, with the physical movements, but once they are there they are a sure guide.

08-20-2002, 03:27 PM
I'm glad to see that I am not the only person who thought of Zatoichi when I read the title of this thread...

08-20-2002, 03:48 PM
There is a blind man who is tested at our club, he took his 5th kyu at our last grading. I am astounded at how we can learn because obviously it is impossible for a person with sight to properly empathise. He is taught attacks by uke tapping his stomach or arm where he is going to attack, then slowly stepping in, and then he took the arm and performed the technique.