Re: Multiple Sclerosis
I cut/paste part of a letter I sent to Urban Sensei. Didn't want to retype it, so here it is...
We tried doing the MS Aikido in the summer but it was too hot for most of the students who wanted to try Aikido. We started back up a few weeks ago. For now we are only doing 1 class a week for 30 minutes. It is slow going but everyone seems to be excited. I have about 10 students in my MS class and one of them joined my regular Aikido class with her husband. Her MS is very mild and she is doing well. All the students are very different. There is no one size fits all class for MS Aikido. I started out with our basic self defense class we teach to women's groups and children. It's a lot of pinching and twisting but follows many Aikido concepts. I have been learning lately someone with MS may not have enough strength to push but has the strength to pull.
Even with the upper body and arms pushing and pulling are different even though they are the same muscle groups. The few techniques we have worked on we have to modify to either pushing or pulling motion, since some have strength in one direction but not the other. It's been very interesting. Most of the students are not able to stand well or not for very long.
Most of the things we have done have been from a sitting position. Body movement has been an issue and we are working with different motions with the shoulders and arms, trying to imitate the hip/waist movement. Almost all the students in the class have a tremendous amount of Ki and can really project.
It is really interesting to feel the Ki and intent of some of these people. In that area they are very strong. One of the goals is to come up with some form of testing standard, something we can actually measure progress. Since we cannot do a one test for everyone I am looking at testing on concepts of Ki, movement and balance, along with physical techniques from a standing or seated position.
Since not everyone can do exact techniques I was thinking, as an example, test #1 the student would be able to perform any 3 basic techniques. Test #2 would be performing the same techniques in test #1 at a higher level, and be able to perform an additional 3 techniques. Test #3 would be test #1 with a advanced knowledge of test #2, and a basic understanding of 3 additional techniques. Something like that.
That's where I am now. I think people are excited about the program and I hope it continues. It's been pretty slow but it's been a learning experience.