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Old 03-11-2004, 10:51 PM   #1
Dojo: Sandia Budokan
Location: Albuquerque
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 8
Ai symbol Physically handicapped Aikidoists?

Aiki Community,

Could someone please tell me about any physically handicapped aikidoists they know of? I am especially curious to learn how the dojo and instructor accommodated their special needs. Does anyone know of a person who began aikido with a physical handicap?

I understand that there is at least one woman with dan ranking who is in a wheelchair (in the photos I've seen). Did the wheelchair come before or after she started aikido?

To reiterate, I am especially curious to learn how the dojo and instructor accommodated these special needs.

Travel In Harmony,
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Old 03-12-2004, 11:24 AM   #2
Dojo: Aikido of Norfolk
Location: Norfolk, VA
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 71
Re: Physically handicapped Aikidoists?

Wow, aikido in a wheelchair! I just searched google for this, check this site out:


Steve Nelson
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Old 03-12-2004, 12:06 PM   #3
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614

The link above has a letter written by a blind student who trains in the yoshinkan.


Ron Tisdale
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 03-12-2004, 12:28 PM   #4
Tom Wolowiec
Dojo: none yet
Location: Auburn, WA
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19
I've heard of a blind man getting advanced (dunno if black belt, probably is now though) in Ju Jitsu.

"Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered,
those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid.
Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win."
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Old 03-12-2004, 12:55 PM   #5
Dojo: CapitalCityAikido/AL
Location: Montgomery, AL
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 22
There is an Ikkyu in our dojo who suffers from the effects of *severe* back trauma, has no feeling below her knees, and also trains with a pacemaker. She spends 90-95% of her time in a wheelchair when she isn't training.

She will be testing for her shodan in November.

Since she is able to operate independent of her wheelchair during training, the only real accomodation the dojo makes for her is to respect her need to sit out from time to time, or opt out of certain ukemi.

Other than that, we just try to keep up with her.

Hope that's helpful.

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Old 03-12-2004, 01:02 PM   #6
Dojo: CapitalCityAikido/AL
Location: Montgomery, AL
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 22
Almost forgot to ask...

Did you have any particular type of physical handicap in mind?

I imagine the training requirements of someone in a wheelchair would be radically different from someone who is blind, of from an amputee.
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Old 03-12-2004, 01:05 PM   #7
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,340
I have during my travels partnered with a man with no arms and with 2 different blind people. The interesting thing is that both of the blind people, who AFAIK don't know each other, both ended up training in jujitsu/aikijutsu rather than aikido.

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 03-12-2004, 02:12 PM   #8
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Re: Physically handicapped Aikidoists?

Christopher Biazak (cbiazak) wrote:
Could someone please tell me about any physically handicapped aikidoists they know of? I am especially curious to learn how the dojo and instructor accommodated their special needs.
One had the sternocleidomastoid muscle removed on one side due to throat cancer. He tell his partners before training to be careful not to grab him there. He's in his seventies. Aside from that one caveat, he asks no quarter. Great heart.

Another has some sort of degenerative (?) muscle condition (haven't asked him what it is; his legs knock strongly and it seems as if he's dragging each leg to catch up with the other as he walks). I see no special consideration for him when I see him at seminars and he asks none. He wants to open a dojo.

I know an organ transplant in his 60's. He came onto the mat hardly able to stand up, would work his own exercises during class and eventually came into class and has now been working out with the class for a few years. I see no special consideration given him beyond those we might give in consideration of age anyway.

Trained with a Down's Syndrome 15 year old girl years ago in New England somewhere, I think it was. She was fiesty and game to rock and roll. No quarter needed.

Hope that's useful.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 03-12-2004, 03:23 PM   #9
Dojo: Bu Iku Kai Mexico
Location: Queretaro Mexico
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 81
Savegango Sensei 7°Dan had an accident and the doctors had to amputate his left leg just below the knee. He put on a prothesis and can do anything you want and he is in total control of uke he can do even a randori in hanmi hantachi waza.
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Old 03-12-2004, 03:47 PM   #10
Larry Feldman
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 373
One of my old Ju Jitsu teachers would train the handicapped, but he was not close to NM.

One person was pretty much restricted to crutches. They modified and emphisized different techniques for him. He did attain dan rank.
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Old 03-12-2004, 04:13 PM   #11
Location: Tulsa, OK
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 166
Molly Hale is a sandan who is confined to a wheelchair, as a result of injuries sustained in an auto accident. Check out http://www.aikidojournal.com/new/editor.asp?id=481 for more information.
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