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Old 08-21-2013, 09:00 AM   #3
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,184
Re: Teaching injured or elderly students? Is Aikido for everyone?

Hello Saud,

Every person has physical limitations, whether they know it or not. For you as a teacher, you could roughly divide potential students into three categories:

1. Those who know that they have physical limitations, but don't know/haven't tried/are inexperienced at/aren't interested in working with them and discovering what they can do.

2. Those who believe that they don't have physical limitations, and therefore don't take sensible precautions to avoid injury.

3. Those who know that they have physical limitations, and who are working with them.

It's disingenuous (and frankly disrespectful to people with physical limitations) to say, "Oh tra la la, of course everybody can do everything". But blanket "I can't" limitations based on a physical condition are often dishonest as well. I think there's little you as a teacher can do with someone who doesn't have the right mindset. We had a teenage girl who was more or less dragged to the dojo, and everything was "I can't" because of a bad back. I got the strong sense that in this particular case, the bad back was less of the absolute limitation she proclaimed it to be, and more of a permanent doctor's note excusing her from exercise. If someone wants to train, they will need to be proactive in learning about their body and its limitations, and in working with healthcare professionals who know about the injury but don't know about aikido, and with senseis and fellow students who don't know about their injury.
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