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Old 08-02-2011, 05:05 PM   #40
graham christian
Dojo: golden center aikido-highgate
Location: london
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 2,697
Re: teaching the blind

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I believe Graham has a point in stating that some disabilities are simple a greater impairment than it accessible non-disability. I don't know if I would go as far as to make than a general claim. Since we are discussing vision, what is the difference between a blind person and someone whose vision is so poor as to be legally defined as blind without the aid of spectacles? Why is it that we clearly show a prejudice when we see someone walking with a stick, while we do not extend the same courtesies to an individual wearing coke-bottles? Pity? Charity? Grace?

Our job in aikido is not to "help" others. We are not missionaries in search of converts. Aikido is not a social science seeking to aid those in need. We are an budo, and our dojo is a house of learning for those who wish also to train budo.

The underlying point I am trying to get at is whether we should treat a student differently than others and if so under what principles and conditions should we extend those considerations. Specifically, we are talking about vision impairment. If the argument is to extend special considerations to blind people to train because they are blind, then isn't the action itself one of prejudice?

Secondly, the conditions under which we train are at best strenuous and certainly we assume a risk in training. Are you really willing to accept additional risks in an effort to implement social progress in your dojo? Are your students willing to accept the additional burden of responsibility on your behalf? Some dojos will answer yes to these questions. Some dojos will answer no.

I think we have a right to choose what is best for our dojo, without the pressure political correctness. I believe this decision should be made in the interest of the dojo, not the interest of the individual. I respect either decision as long as it is universal and informed.
Hi. I don't see any additional risks. As I said a martial art is a place of responsibility. To equate a blind or otherwise impaired person as the same as in terms of training is for me not a responsible train of thought. Obviously a blind person would have a slightly different programme.

All things done from holds should be no problem and I guarantee the person doing a technique with this blind person would be the one panicking or holding back or being too 'careful'

Therefore rather than being a burden it would indeed be a measure of how responsible the students are. It's pluses all round.

I also guarantee that if you trained with my friends completely blind son you would be made to feel like a beginner in certain aspects ie: sen no sen.

It's not a matter of political correctness for me for to me all people of whatever ability are the same. Therefore it's not sympathy from where I am coming it's empathy. I'm sure some if not many disabled would put the most active of students to shame in terms of discipline, effort, stamina, toughness, understanding, courage.

As a famous little dude once said-'Never underestimate your opponent.'

You or anyone else of course have the right to choose how and who trains in your dojo, I have no disagreement there. So I'm not saying what should be as a 'rightness' thing. Merely a better look at responsibility.

Myself, I can't agree with some of what you said for I have a different view on budo, as you know, and also therefore Aikido. Thus for me we are there to help, even if it's someone trying to take your head off.

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