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Old 08-03-2011, 12:57 PM   #45
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
Hey Graham, I am not sure I am catching your point. In your post, you begin by saying there is no additional risk for students with [vision] disabilities. Then you outline several instances where training someone with blindness would be different. Are you advocating that those differences would not carry with them different training burdens or risks associated with those burdens?

For example. We train with weapons in class. Obviously, even under the best conditions this represents a risk for students to be accidentally hit under a number of circumstances. Are you advocating that a blind person on a mat with weapons would not represent an additional risk to either the other students in proximity to the blind student or the blind student in proximity to the other students?
For example. We take active ukemi and sutemi in class. Under the best conditions our partners avoid falling into one another or being thrown off the mat. Are your advocating that a blind person taking ukemi (or sutemi) would not cause additional risk to either the other students in proximity to the blind student or the blind student in proximity to the other students?

These two scenarios are very common in dojo. I do not contest whether a greater observation of zanshin is appropriate. The occasions in which I have seen one student whack another with a stick are too numerous to recall. I can't count the number of times I have witnessed someone fall onto another student or fall off a mat. Accidents happen under the best conditions and I advocate that these situations are examples of some of the real risk we assume when we undertake students who are [visually] disabled.
I am not saying we should not undertake these risks to train others. Geoff made a good point to observe sometimes assuming risk is appropriate. I am simply advocating that students with vision disabilities present additional risks and burdens for the dojo. If you are saying that in the face of these additional burdens you choose to make lemonade from lemons, I do not contest that statement; I think many dojos that accept the students do just that. But I read your post as there is no additional risk to training these individuals. I think ignoring risk is imprudent at best and dangerous at worst. That's why we have waivers, right?

In answer to your question if budo is helping others. To clarify, I used to quoted text "help" because I am referring to the self-appointed persons who are out to fix people. I was not referring to the real aid one may seek when on the individual journey of budo. Sorry for the confusion.
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.

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