Should martial art schools accept disabled people

Discussion in 'Disabled Martial Artists' started by kungfu_charlie, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. tort

    tort Valued Member

    Glad to see that you are doing a positive thing not only for your students but for yourself. My school in NE has two men that are in wheelchairs and the instructor does everything to make them a part of the class.

    They line up and do warm ups, spar, and do their variation of their forms with their respective belt rankings. I really enjoyed sparring with them cause it was very challenging for me; i found it very hard to get behind them.

    Keep up the good work!!
  2. canemaster

    canemaster New Member

    Nice of You Guys To Teach Others

    Hi all-I just wanted to commend Tommy 2 Guns and Tort for their efforts to teach those who are physically challenged. As some of the other posts mentioned, it takes time on the part of an instructor to see what the students can/cannot do-regardless of physical limitations. I NOW know that Tae Kwon Do may not have been the art for ME. Back in 1990, I was hurt by the fact that my instructors and the school officials were interested in looking good by having a "disabled" person in the ranks. The kicking was too much for me at that time. TKD is a great art, but now years later I'm learning Kempo-Jujitsu and Cane Self Defense. It took a while for me to realize that grappling was going to be tough. My senseis goals-improve my cardio, get more BALANCE, strike WITH and WITHOUT my cane, and stay on my feet, get inside to strike, toss, wrist locks etc. As a result, my legs are MUCH stronger :) and the real focus of so many arts-self confidence, self respect-shine through! Those are things we all, and especially those that are physically limited, struggle with. BUT NOW, after three years, we can start seeing what I CAN DO while grappling instead of what I COULD NOT do months/years ago. Studying any MA is a process. Today I can see why my instuctor says, "Do the elbow (with a cane a thrust) to the chest, THEN the hammer to the "crown jewels." (and with the cane, under and hook!) I now see the method, and that if I do the first strike RIGHT, I may not need the follow up to get that extra time to get away from a confrontation.
    What does all this mean? I guess that I'm getting smarter in my old age, and I like what I am doing.
    God Bless All,

  3. sifu.dlee

    sifu.dlee New Member


    Back in the early 80 we had a hearing impaired person wanting to take class’s. My teacher made all of the instructors learn A.S.L.(American sign language) Thus my teacher instilled that we were to teach every one to the best of our abilities.
  4. kickgirl

    kickgirl New Member

    Martial arts schools can and do train "disabled" students. I personally know a TKD instructor who has only one arm. It doesn't hinder his forms and if you get punched with what he calls "the nub" it hurts worse than a fist!!

  5. mcosme

    mcosme New Member

    This is a great topic. Slightly off the subject, but I have been wondering about this. If an individual with disabilities trains at a school, does that mean that changes have to be made, improvements to the school in regards to handrails, ramps, and expanding the bathrooms. Our school has very small bathrooms that could never accommodate a wheelchair. Has anyone had to deal with this aspect?
  6. BentMonk

    BentMonk Valued Member

    I deal with this situation twice a week. Our school is also not very big in terms of restroom space, also the sidewalk of the business strip where we're located doesn't have a very good access ramp. My two wheelchair using students have to drive to the very end of this strip to the ramp. Then roll up a narrow walk to our door. It's slightly inconvenient for them, but we all have politically incorrect senses of humor, so we just laugh and train on. However, if my classes continue to grow at their current rate, I will look into a more accessible building. Our current school's location and lack of additional space, make remodeling almost impossible. I've also been to other schools where accessibility was addressed when the school was built. If the grants pan out, I'll have one of those someday. :D
  7. andyclare

    andyclare New Member

    Teaching The Disabled???

    Hello Everyone,

    I Lost the Total Use of My Right Arm Years Back in a Motorbike Accident. A coulpe of years after my Accident Some mates got me to go to a Kung FU class where i found i could do alot of things better than some people using two Arms!

    I Went on to Train in Kickboxing Where i Gained My 1st Dan Black Belt, I have Been in Newspapers, and was Even featured as Martil Artist of the Month in Feb 96 issue of Martial Arts Illustrated Magazine, This i would have never Done if Any Martial Arts Instructor had Said '' Sorry Mate, Cant Teach You, You Have A Disability''.

    Martial Arts Gave Me Bags of confidence in myself that no way would i have ever had without it.

    Nowdays im a bit of a lazy Bastxxx and dont train very often, But i can still do the side splits on two chairs and Knock your head off with a Spinning Hook Kick, How many normal ordinary people on the steet can do that??.

    Anyway, To Anyone who Reads this who Has a Disability, If you fancy Martial Arts, Go Ahead and Have A Go, If you have no Legs, Learn to use your Arms, If you have No Arms, Use your Legs! Almost Aybody can Learn Something No matter How Small, Every Human being on the planet is Different Reguardless of A disability or not, We All Can't Do the same Things.

    Have A go, Do what you Realistically Yourself can Do.

  8. jonwade

    jonwade Valued Member

    OK, I have not read all the posts here, but it is worth mentioning (possibly again) that a martial art should not be elitist, anyone can learn if they have the willpower to succeed. More importantly discrimination to less abled is illegal in the UK. If a less abled person wishes to study, they are entitled to. A lot can be learnt from a wheel chair, with poor sight, with one arm etc.

    An instructor should be capable of aiding people of all abilities. If the class is too difficult for an individual, then they will probably chose to do something else. Sorry if I have repeated anything.
  9. Dave Hail

    Dave Hail Valued Member

    Hi guys,

    I've read the above thread with a great degree of interest as I am an instructor, and I've noticed that there are a lot of people that strongly recomend that anyone can train in any martial art.

    I think this "definitly yes" attitude is as naive as the "definitly no" is ignorant. But before I have everone shouting at me I'd like to explain.

    I would NOT reject a disabled student who came to me seeking instruction. What I would do is a very careful assessment of the student and his or her capabilities in relation to what I teach. Also I would need to examine the impact (no pun intended) that the disabled student would have on my other students and also the impact my other students would have on the newcomer.

    For example, a student with minor physical disabilities may fit right into my classes or minor modification to the way in which I teach may be required, however a student with physical control or behavourial problems may present a danger to either himself or others within the Dojo. My school is predominantly a sword school. Iaito are used for kata on a regular basis by many of my students. A student having a momentary loss of control unarmed could be dangerous, the same student with a blade, albeit blunt, could kill.

    I firmly believe that ANY instructor wishing to teach disabled student has a great restonsibility to be aware of ALL the possible consequences to admitting such a student.

    I'm not saying don't admit disabled students, I believe people with disibilities should be given the opportunity to live life to the maximum like the rest of us, I'm saying admit them if you are confidant in doing so and don't be coerced into "biting off more than you can chew".

    For those already teaching the less able students, well done, keep it up, you have my greatest respect. For those disabled students out there, I hope you get as much from your martial art as I do from mine.
  10. shuyun3

    shuyun3 Shugyosha

    Self defense for the hearing impaired.

    I teach deaf students street fighting skills and it's not as easy as just teaching in sign. But it's quite fulfilling.
  11. BentMonk

    BentMonk Valued Member

    Keep It Real

    Dave - You are absolutely correct. My first MA of choice was Aikido. The instructor took one look at me and very politely declined teaching me. He told me that he did not think that I would be able to effectively perform the movements in Aikido forms. He said that he had no experience training someone with a disability, and had no clue how he could adapt Aikido to suit me. I appreciated his honesty. My current instructor has a substantial medical background. He is also a great martial artist and an awesome teacher. 12 years later, I'm strong, fast, and a fairly decent fighter. I also teach others with disabilities. Honesty, and knowledge of self a requirements for being a student or a teacher. :D
  12. Brat

    Brat Return of the Brat!!!

    our school would have trouble accepting disabled martial artists, you have to go up about 30 stairs to get to the dojo.
  13. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    Do you think all disabled people are in wheelchairs or something? They could be deaf, have a learning difficulty, a proccessing disorder, a wasting disease, partial sight, cerebral palsy or have a limb missing from an accident. I find your comment insensitive at best if not downright rude.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  14. Jang Bong

    Jang Bong Speak softly....big stick

    Young and said (written) without thought ;) Time and experience will hopefully fix that :D

    I know a couple of wheelchair users that would consider 30-stairs an 'inconvenience' rather than a 'barrier' if the teacher was good enough and they were genuinely keen. Attitude is everything :)
  15. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    I agree JB but you know I am only harsh to convey how wrong I thought that point of view was, it would be easier to do it in a more laid back way face to face.
  16. Dr NinjaBellydance

    Dr NinjaBellydance What is your pleasure sir

    Surely this should apply to ANY instructor wishing to teach ANY student. The consequences that a student with a bad attitude has on a class environment is one of the most disruptive. :confused:

    PS Doug and JB, you're right and I totally get where you're coming from but dont judge too harshly, eh? My father was in a wheelchair for most of the time I knew him. You say 'disabled person' to me and I immediately think of my Dad. Its a very skewed way of looking at the world, but that's just the way it is. Logically I know that its not accurate but if you ask me what immediately comes to mind I'll say 'Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a wheelchair up an escalator?!' ;)
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2006
  17. bcullen

    bcullen They are all perfect.

    So that's how you got into a school. I'm glad they found a place for you. :rolleyes:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2007
  18. adouglasmhor

    adouglasmhor Not an Objectivist

    I don't think that cuts the mustard.
  19. matbla

    matbla Banned Banned

    yes they sghould even if they have to have a seperate class for them . from matt blake ;) :cool:
  20. StixMaster

    StixMaster Valued Member


    :Angel: I think that a disabled person deserves all the knowledge to be able to protect themselves. I have worked with people in wheelchairs and currently we have a student that has a bad foot injured in a motorcycle crash to the point where he has no 'big toe', yet he feels encouraged to train even with his disability. But as he gains knowledge he gains empowerment in his personal life. So I myself look forward to whatever the situation may present, so as to flow with it. I am a advocate to train those with disabilities, it helps them and you.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2007

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