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Old 08-04-2011, 01:28 PM   #51
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: teaching the blind

Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Hi Jon. Yes I am advocating no additional risks or burdens.

I would equate it with any new member entering the dojo so if by numbers that equals an added risk or burden then mathematically that would be so but I say this for a different reason.

Firstly the disadvantage should be taken responsibility for ie: a blind person may need to orient himself with the surroundings first etc. Thereafter treated with the same respect as everyone else, no difference.

Secondly I don't hold to this people hitting each other with bokkens and falling into each other all the time or even on numerous occasions. When I witness this I am witnessing an ill disciplined dojo.

Knocks happen in martial arts, if you can't handle it then leave, that's the general rule and so I don't think they would appreciate people regarding them as a burden or risk. You mentioned pc? Thinking they could be a burden or risk is very pc wouldn't you say?

As I said before Martial arts teaches people they CAN. PC do gooders teach why they can't.

Hey Graham, I think we have to be talking past each other. In this most recent post you reaffirm there are no additional burdens or risks in the dojo, then acknowledge there are risks and burdens. Incidentally, I agree with you that new students also present increased risk in a dojo.

I do not think a dojo in which accidents happen would ill disciplined. Sometimes accidents happen. You can blame whomever, but it happens. I do not want to communicate that we should ignore risk, I want to communicate that we should be aware of risk and undertake it of informed consent.

Finally, I am not sure where the PC thing is going. In the United States, political correctness is a social pressure tool of progressivism. Liberally speaking, the very nature of the concept is to apply social pressure to progress a concept from a point of exclusion to a point of inclusion (or acceptance). In fact, I believe that is part of the tension in teaching disabled students - there is a social pressure to include them because they are disabled, to make a decision to move past their disability and include them in the dojo. I am not sure how your statement matches that definition. More specifically, I would argue that advocating blind people carry additional burdens in society is very un-PC - the very nature of PC would be to move past their disability. (Let it be known I have rarely been called politically correct.)

Although you bring up a great point about realizing a student is a burden within his dojo. I think many students do not like thinking they are a burden in a dojo. How many students have thought, "Man, I wish I could take sutemi so I could train harder." Or, "I don't train with black belts because I am not good enough to give them a workout." Or, "My leg hurts, I won't be a good uke." I think it is natural for us to desire to carry our own weight; I don't think that observation is specific to blind people. What about the deadbeat student who doesn't pay his dues? or the lazy student who doesn't help clean the mats? I do not mind students who carry with them a sense of obligation and duty to carry their weight. The solution for blind students is to give them other opportunities to carry their weight and contribute to the dojo. Again, some dojo are better equipped than others to accommodate blind students. That's why I advocate the choice should remain with the dojo.

Last edited by jonreading : 08-04-2011 at 01:32 PM.
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