View Full Version : Aikido and Disability

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05-20-2003, 11:29 PM
Hello Everyone,

I trained in aikido for about 4 months before I was diagnosed with a type of rheumatoid arthritis. This disease has crippled my life as I have known it. I have tried to return to train but am unable to perform as well as before due to pain and stiffness. Now I have been completely out of training for 1 month.

My question to everyone is this: Do you or anyone you know who trains in aikido suffer from any disablilities? Also, have you or anyone you know have been able to return to training?

I would like to hear the experiences of others and how they coped with their unique situations.

Thanks for reading.


05-20-2003, 11:50 PM
I hurt my left fibular ligament6months ago, which makes me unable to train because its unstable when I stand and hurt while walking, especially seiza. What I can suggest you is just do any aikido exercise that you are comfortable doing with, last time I just do suburi and sword movements for at least two months before my injury is starting to recover. If you think you can't do the technique then don't do it, like in my case when my friend did suwari-waza kokyuho in sitting, I did it standing instead. Now after 6 months I can go back to train although I still feel a bit pain when doing kaiten (turning) shikko.

Don't worry, I think aikido techniques is flexible enough to cope with injury, just keep up your training and don't give up.

Jim ashby
05-21-2003, 12:22 AM
To answer the first question, yes, I do know people that train with disabilities. Ome of my first instructors had a prosthetic lower leg. A member from a sister club is blind and we had a member in a wheelchair. Whenever I feel that I can't be bothered any more because I am finding the training difficult, I think of these three people and get on with it.

Have fun

Daniel Mills
05-21-2003, 01:51 AM
We have a Shodan who has some sort of muscular disorder or deterioration that means that only perhaps less than ten years ago, he couldn't take more than a few steps at a time, He is also certified blind..

.. and he does pretty much O.K :)

aubrey bannah
05-21-2003, 02:49 AM
Hi Andersen,I have had a left arm amputation yrs ago. I have been training in Yoshinkan Aikido for about nine yrs. I think that if you are happy to train or even just being in the Dojo there is not a reason to stop. It does not matter about your level of performance. It can be very had to train when in pain, or if certain movements cause intense pain, but I know a LOT of Olympic class athlete's in wheelchair's from 20 to 60 odd yrs old, most of which struggle with disablities and pain every day. What I'm saying is make every day as good as it can be that day, let tomorrow take care of itself.

Yours Aubrey

Dennis Hooker
05-21-2003, 06:19 AM
Jun has put my commments here a long time ago.


Michael Neal
05-21-2003, 06:34 AM
I have Multiple Sclerosis and train in both Aikido and Judo. I also weight lift and run. I sometimes forget that I have MS because I so rarely think about it or let it impact my life. I am lucky that I have not had many symptoms so unless I am unable to train someday I will try keep at it.

05-21-2003, 10:46 AM
I have a student who has a M.S. He does extremely well. As Aikido is an art which is more about principle that specifics is it well suited to anyone taining with or without a specific problem. I have also trained a blind student as well as some who were terminally short on common sense.

Most of us who have been at this over thirty years are limited in one way or another.

05-21-2003, 02:36 PM

First, I am sorry to hear about your coming down with RA. I have a type of RA that affects the spine so I can certainly relate to what you are going through.

To your question about training...talk with your instructor and let him know what is going on with you. I was diagnosed a little over two years ago. And to be honest since then I have made very few classes but I still show up when I can. The senior students laugh when I show up but aikido helps me deal with the arthritis.

To try and give you hope for the last two years I've worked with my doctor. And recently I started a new medicine and have been feeling alot better. And over the last three months have been making the classes alot more regularly. And that feels great!

So work with your doctors and if Aikido is important to you work with your instructor and you should be able to continue your training.

I am sorry I have rambled on, but I just wanted to let you know it's tough to train with RA but if aikido is important to you - It is definitely worth it!

If you have any questions about RA feel free to drop me an email.


Janet Rosen
05-21-2003, 03:11 PM
I know of a couple of people who train despite fibromyalgia. One returned to training just a yr ago, entering the dojo with a cane, barely walking. Between taking care of herself, getting to the gym to work on strength training, and showing up at the dojo (and lots of spirit) she has passed her 4th kyu test. I train in a rigid knee brace following surgery. Basically, we each bring certain limits into the dojo with us. The physical ones are the EASY ones; you find them, you push them a little, you find out if they can be improved and if not you adapt your training. All things considered, its the NONphysical ones that are harder....

05-21-2003, 08:43 PM
We have two kids in class, 1 in a wheelchair with spinabifida, and the other with a fused elbow. The chap in the chair is an inspiration when he hops on the ground and bows before and after class, he's had many operations, but does well without the use of his legs. The girl with the fused elbow is an extremely keen beginner, and she also does well. I focus on what they are capable or may be capable of doing, but they still train as hard/well as the rest of them.

05-23-2003, 12:45 AM
Thank you all for you replies. My condition will be a struggle for me to overcome but I believe that eventually I will work up enough determination and confidence to return to formal training.