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Old 03-06-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,220
United Kingdom
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Re: Disabled students

I think aikido is a superb art for people with all sorts of challenges healthwise. The focus on physical connection with another, rather than throwing kicks or punches. A good teacher should be able to adapt most training situations to support someone with need for extra attention. I feel that everyone gains when working with a 'disabled' person, they force you to be more sensitive, to listen with all of your senses, they invoke the sort of 'protective' feeling that I think should be at the heart of all aikido, including the serious gungho dynamic practice which the fit, fast and strong can engage in.

My first sensei suffered from a serious disease when he was a kid, which left him with very little muscle from the waist down. He was quite powerfully built above. Which meant he was basically having to balance on two bones with a knee joint in the middle. On top of this, some of the failed corrective work in his feet meant his ankles were fused. Somehow, I always felt that his 'disability' was his greatest asset in how he performed his aikido. He had to develop a strong mind, strong ki and be exceptionally good at creating a 'groundpath', as he didn't have the muscle to fall back on, so to speak.

There is a place in aikido for all who can make it onto a mat. Glad to see from the few post above, that this is really happening.

Thanks to Roisin for starting this thread up.

regards

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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