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Old 10-31-2017, 10:33 AM   #1
Dojo: Twin Cities Aikido Center, St Paul MN
Location: Eagan MN
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 12
Handicapped new student

Good day. We've had a prospective student call, inquiring about training for a guy with one arm (traffic accident). Our dojo has never had someone like this ask about joining. Does anyone have some experience? Beyond the obvious, what are the pitfalls for us in working with this man?
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Old 10-31-2017, 11:21 AM   #2
Mary Eastland
Mary Eastland's Avatar
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,476
Re: Handicapped new student

We all have our frailties. I think the blessings you could receive from working with this man would be many.
We all need to learn to defend ourselves starting with the body, mind, and spirit we have.

Mary Eastland

Dare to Tenkan
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:35 PM   #3
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,253
Re: Handicapped new student

There are no pitfalls, but there are challenges and difficulties. We once had a disabled Marine veteran come into the dojo on crutches and ask to begin training. Our Sensei shrugged his shoulders and invited him to join us, although Sensei had never tried to teach a disabled person. That his father was a Marine veteran and that he is pretty compassionate may have had some influence. Anyway, the former Marine started coming to class and eventually was able to leave his crutches behind and continue training. He had a hard time trying to develop his skills at first, but he continued to attend classes and give his best effort. Ultimately he trained and tested successfully all the way to 1st Kyu. He left the dojo before he became eligible for a shodan exam for other reasons, but he had darn sure earned his ranking and was fun to train with.

On another note, I am currently recovering from a major shoulder injury and surgery and am off the mat for another couple of months. But before I had the surgery I continued training with one arm for a couple of months. It was a considerable challenge to perform the various techniques with only one arm, but it was also fun and very valuable as a learning tool. Of course my partners were careful when I was their uke, but even ukemi was an interesting and valuable experience while my arm was in a sling.

From my perspective, give the individual a chance and he and all of his dojomates will learn a great deal. Best wishes for joint success in your dojo if you go forward with this.

"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 10-31-2017, 02:58 PM   #4
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erikmenzel's Avatar
Dojo: Koshinkai Leeuwarden
Location: Leeuwarden
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 594
Re: Handicapped new student

Having trained with people with one arm I can tell you that is as much fun as training with people with 2 arms. And just as with people with 2 arms they have to learn how to use and move their body.
The biggest pitfall probably would be assuming things.

Erik Jurrien Menzel
kokoro o makuru taisanmen ni hirake
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:46 PM   #5
Larry Feldman
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 387
Re: Handicapped new student

Trained a woman with one arm. She lost from the elbow forward. It was very interesting for me to 'adjust' things fro her, but in the end not a ton of adjustments. More a mental challenge for me. She did great.
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Old 11-01-2017, 02:02 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,339
Re: Handicapped new student

There was a man with no arms at the dojo of the late George Simcox Sensei Ki Society of Northern Virginia, met him while visiting there. ALL CENTER. So many things we had to unlearn.....
the focus should be on what any student CAN do, not on what they can't do.

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 11-03-2017, 12:19 AM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 716
Re: Handicapped new student

I wasn't involved with teaching them, but I've trained with a fellow with one arm and a fellow that is blind. Obviously you need to make allowances, but it was never a problem.
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