View Full Version : Deaf Aikideshi?

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09-04-2000, 04:19 PM
Do any of you know or know of any Deaf Aikidoists, or sign-language interpreters who work in Aikido? I'm interested in linking this community via this forum. My nephew, who is Deaf, practices Aikido through his school, with the school providing an interpreter. This means he gets no practice durning the summer, and no access to seminars, etc. The Deaf are a fairly large community that are excluded from Aikido because of the need for expensive interpreters (up to $50/hr.) for the traditionally verbose classes. Could Aikido be taught completely visually? Could seminars be ASL-interpreted? I'd appreciate your input.

09-04-2000, 06:18 PM
Matburn wrote:
Could Aikido be taught completely visually?

Yes! I haven't worked with a deaf person to my absolute remembrance (something is tickling my brain) but I've definitely worked with a blind person and with the exception of very minor adjustments he fit in fine. I would think that would be much harder than being deaf.

If you think about it, Aikido is taught almost exclusively by visual and feeling of movement. I think a very small part of the transmission happens verbally. So personally I can't see any reason the deaf can't participate (as I think on it, I'm sure I've worked with a deaf person before).

The Deaf are a fairly large community that are excluded from Aikido because of the need for expensive interpreters (up to $50/hr.) for the traditionally verbose classes.

I have to disagree with this. I doubt very much that any school I've spent time at would exclude someone based on deafness. They might have to modify things a bit and rethink how things are done but it could and would be done in my opinion.

My question to you is who is telling you that you need the interpreter and why because I question the need on a regular basis.

I'm sure others will have more to say.

09-04-2000, 06:22 PM
Hi mat how are u today... can tell u stuff that u might be excited and sad to hear.

I am hearing impaired who knows a fair amount of sign languae and acually found that I just lost a little more hearing:( but I never give hope that maybe there will be a medical or ways to improve my hearing ( besides the hearing aid but the digital hearing aids look cool) any how the good stuff to here is I take aikido and have been for 3 years. hearing does not really matter especaly if the student is deaf all the way they can most of the time see the finer points in the throw easeir than a hearing person. semenars I have been to them but I use my hearing aid ( accullay I use my hearing aid at class to unless it falls out too much or I dont want to hear stuff") but I dont think an inturpurter is nessary for aikido class. Nick or one of the other akidokas say that things are 7 % hearing and maybe less in the martal arts. have ur nephew try it without a intrupiter and have him see how it feels! good luck:)

09-04-2000, 06:59 PM
I agree... too much talking and not enough working takes a lot of Aikido... I mean, it's wonderful having an instructor explain something that you perhaps don't understand well, but all that wisdom goes to naught if it is never applied.

I'd love to type more, but the thunder here just shook the house...



09-04-2000, 07:52 PM
Hi, i also am hard of hearing and i do wear the inthe ear aid's. I find sometimes hearing gets in the way, i hear wrong..or only parts, so i find it easier to have a visual on the instructor. I also lip read so that helps a bit. I don't think anyone needs an interpreter to study Aikido.
I have been studing for over 1 year now, and have never had any trouble, in fact i got new aid's and found it too noisy, LOL. all it takes is focus and desire. as we say in our Dojo..don't talk just Do. I think your nephew has the gift of silence, his other senses should assist, like mine have. sight, touch are more important, I think it would allow him to remain focased on the Aikido, and not watching someone try and sign the technics, which are sometimes called out in Japanease.. So comming from someone in the same boat, i personaly feel Hearing impared are more fortunate..we rely on sight and touch..makes for better Training.
Wish you well.

09-11-2000, 04:54 PM
Thanks for all the helpful replies. I will invite the nephew to Mary Heiny's kid's class w/o interpreter and see how he does; actually I have approached the regular kid's teacher about having him train Saturdays, no interpreter--his own teacher suggested it. I guess I'm just a little concerned about him missing something because most of the classes I attend are *very* verbal. You're right about congenitally Deaf people's visual skills---they are developed to a much higher degree than ours (see "Seeing Voices" by neurologist Oliver Sacks). The nature of signlanguage---a language of subtle motion in three dimensions (four, if you count time), develops nerve traces in the visual cortex most of us just don't have. This is a definite plus in martial arts training.
BTW, for info on the upcoming Mary Heiny seminar we're hosting, see <www.twocranesaikido.com> It's probably on AikiWeb, too. Bye