Physical Handicaps & Aikido
I have been doing Aikido for some ten years now. I have several physical handicaps that effect my style right down to my stance and I am looking for anyone in a similar situation. We cant all have the uninjured, basically symmetrical body that would make Aikido easiest and more natural. I have had many teachers and have found it very hard to get them to take my handicapped anatomy into consideration during class. Some teachers (I teach myself too) have absolutely no tolerance for the differences in their student's anatomy and it has made classes quite unenjoyable at times, mostly in the very early years before I had the nerve to try and explain my condition. It was aggravating to be harped on for doing a technique around a condition as best I could when I know my body best and what I can and can not do. I cant find any information on this by just Googling so I am placing questions directly on some Aikido only forums in search for more info. Due to both my hip and my knee being asymmetrical my hanmi stance on the right side is very exaggerated. It is close to some 50 degrees or more as opposed to a more common angle of say 20 degrees. It is mostly due to my hip and can be seen if I just lay flat on the floor and let my feet fall free into a tensionless position. Where as my left foot is just slightly pointed to the left, my right is about 30 degrees to the right. If I straighten it, you would see my rear and whole leg lift up on the right side since it forces my hip joint into an unnatural position, the leg and knee actually lift up off the ground. This is pretty convincing and I used to have to do demonstrate this to get Sensei's off my back and let me work my body into Aikido, not work Aikido into my body. My knee adds some extra influence since I had surgery on it when I was 22 and the meniscus was removed (though I wasnt told that). I was told that a tear was merely trimmed away and it was good as new. So I ran with it this way for some twenty years and my right foot was always quite far out during running. Otherwise I get a painful clicking in my knee and pain in my hip.
So I am looking for others to join in this discussion. Just because we are handicapped in some way and cant pull off excellent technique, we dont love Aikido any less than others. My story probably pales in comparison to others out there so I am starting this in hopes of getting the subject more attention. Surely others have run into this problem with their teachers as well. Doing a tenkan on my right side is difficult since I am starting off at quite an odd angle so my style has adjusted around this deformity over the years. If you know of anyone who has written about Aikido and handicaps please refer me. If you have any references or your own experiences I would appreciate you posting it, or perhaps you can refer me to someone else. We are not looking for sympathy, just understanding. Thanks.