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12-22-2005, 11:19 AM
This weeks pole rased an intresting question. How important is vision to practicing the art of Aikido. Some said that they would not take the time to teach a blind Aikidoka, and some who said that they would quit training if they went blind. It took several years to find a martial arts school who was willing to train a blind student and not just pass me through the ranks or just say no. So would teach and or train with a blind aikidoka? If so, what adaptations would you make?

Janet Rosen
12-22-2005, 11:46 AM
I have trained over the yrs with 2 diff people who are blind.
One of whom also led 2 diff classes w/ me as student.
I learned one thing very quickly: it was in my best interest to maintain phys contact at all times, lest I get a swift and totally unmalicious atemi as my partner tried to reconnect w/ me :-)
in all seriousness, speaking as a sighted person, the only adjustment I've noted when student is blind is that during demo, someone would whisper brief explanation to the student, and after the demo the instructor would come right over to do hands-on so the student could feel what had been demo'd.

Mark Uttech
12-22-2005, 12:29 PM
A blind student is an excellent example of the variety of aikido training/teaching possibilities. I watched mary heiny shihan once, leading a blind student through the motion. So is Aikido full contact? Yes! With yourself!
In gassho

Ben Eaton
12-22-2005, 02:40 PM
In our class we actually did a blending exercise where we would touch fingertips, then lead each other round the room not hooking or anything, just maintaining contact. Then we would go into chains of 4, then sensei asked us to close our eyes and then walk round the room in chains of 4, trying not to bump into everyone else. As it turned out, there was only one time when we bumped.

It taught us that we have more senses than sight when it comes to awareness. It also taught us to blend with the person in front of us lest we strayed into a dojo full of wandering, edgy aikidoka. :)

12-22-2005, 03:26 PM
Statistics show that the normal gets at least 90 percent of their information through their eyes. Most people seem to think that with out sight they would run into everyone and everything, but thats not true if you are observent of your other sences. My team mates in my Jujitsu dojo freak out when shihan makes them close their eyes or when the power goes out during practice. To be honest even though this is kind of wrong, I have to laugh when they are wondering arround trying to figure out what is going on.

12-22-2005, 04:23 PM
Idk about blind... but a sempai in my dojo once trained w/a man in a wheel chair. I think he said the guy was paralized (sp?) from the waist down. He said he actually got out of his wheelchair and did a sort of variation of swarai-waza, using his hands to help himself move around (im guessing).

James Davis
12-22-2005, 04:30 PM
We've done some "lights out" classes, and they were informative and fun. :) If I were to train a blind person, I would emphasize the use of pressure points.

Once they grab you, you don't allow the connection between you to stop. Your hands are on them at all times, and they are in pain until they are pinned and perfectly under your control. If you can find someone's hand, you can find their arm, and in turn their head. Go to work! ;)

12-23-2005, 09:04 PM
I've taught a blind fellow during two weekend long intensives. I think there is a tremendous amount of work a blind person can do to improve himself in regard to actual, no kidding, scary fighting..... once a connection is made. Glitch is you have to keep training like in everything else. I don't see why it would be a pain to train them. It is just another person. Heck give me sincere blind person who will keep training- and I will take them over the half-ass day dreamers who need to be spoon fed anyday.
Beyond that the best training he can glean from it is in balance and health. In fact he wrote about his experience on E-budo before the crash in the late nineties and said what I just said. which is where I got it :D