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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15407
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:39 am    Post subject: What Handicap? Reply with quote

As an instructor of the martial arts, I've been witness to many wonderful as well as inspirational moments. Moments that can't be denied as anything short of AWESOME, as these precious moments tug at my heart-strings and cause my eyes to tear up, and say to God, "Thank you!"

I've been priviledged to have instructed many students that had either a physical or mental disability. Students that are blind, students that are wheelchair users, students that are missing a limb, students that have down syndrome, and students that are deaf. These students have enriched my life tremendously one way or another. Yet, these students weren't disabled in their heart; for their hearts are full of life, drive, and determination. I bow to them, those whom I've personally known and to those that I've only had the pleasure to read about; each of them are champions, each of them are true Martial Artists.

Their roads aren't smoothly paved, their roads aren't without problems, their roads aren't layed with roses, and their roads have many pot-holes...but...we're doing alright. Wait...you thought I was talking about the...no...I'm not talking about any mental or physical disabled martial artists, no, I'm talking about us. Those of us who pity and/or treat these outstanding martial artists any differently from whom they truly are, people. Those are the truly "handicapped" amoungst us!

Some brief examples of these outstanding Martial Artists:

1) George Sanchez, 47, is blind, and after passing his test this month, he is also something that defines his character much more: a karate black belt. Sanchez, who lost his sight at 3, said the path to the black belt was difficult, but he has had help along the way from instructors. George is a Martial Artist!

2) Leon Lacabanne, 34, has accomplished something quite difficult. He's become a black belt of Karate, the highest belt rating of the art. And he didn't begin with Karate until after he became legally blind. Leon is a Martial Artist!

3) Bradley Schneider was born with Down syndrome, but that hasn't stopped his passion for martial arts, and now he's earned the highest honor; he has earned a black belt. Just because Schneider has Down syndrome doesn't mean he has special needs. Bradley says this about being a special needs person, "Focus on what you are doing, that, my friend, is special." Bradley is a Martial Artist!

4) Alistair Anderson is a deaf karate black belt. Something which makes this achievement even more outstanding is the fact that Alistair has learning difficulties and suffers from a condition termed dyspraxic tendencies - affecting the ability to co-ordinate movements. Alistair is a Martial Artist!

5) Jessica Cox, 25, a bilateral congenital limb deficiency doesn't stop Ms. Cox from achieving and surpassing her goals. Jessica Cox has One Pilot's License, Two Black Belts in Tae Kwon Do, and...Zero Arms. Jessica started Tae Kwon Do when she was ten, earning her first black belt at fourteen in the International Tae Kwon Do Federation. She rejoined American Tae Kwon Do Association in college and earned a second black belt. Jessica is a Martial Artist!

6) Erik Kondo, was left a paraplegic in a 1984 motorcycle crash, his life was changed from that moment on. Since then, Erik helped to deliver his second child in the front seat of his car, and, Erik earned his black belt in Small Circle Jujitsu. It was a long six year journey to black belt, but, Eric will tell you that other than helping in the delivery of his second child, earning his black belt is right up there as being very memorable. Erik is a Martial Artist!

When I see these types of stories, I just can't help but to ask..."What Handicap?"


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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28901
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice. Thanks for sharing these with us, Bob. What handicap, indeed.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15407
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
Very nice. Thanks for sharing these with us, Bob. What handicap, indeed.

It was more than a pleasure to share this with everyone here at KF.

More importantly, I'd be amiss if I didn't say one other thing. While earning a black belt is fantastic in its own right, we musn't ever forget those who've earned belts below the black belt, because those too are without a doubt...TRUE MARTIAL ARTISTS as well. No matter what one's mental/physical condition may or might not be!

I've said this over and over...the most important belt in all of any martial arts is the....white belt! Without the white belt, the other belts are meaningless and unreachable!


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sperki
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 19 Apr 2009
Posts: 272
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are some pretty awesome stories; they just go to show how much we can achieve when we apply ourselves.
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JusticeZero
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 02 Apr 2005
Posts: 2166
Location: AK
Styles: Capoeira Angola

PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the people in this video is almost completely blind as of when the video was taken; it's one of those 'gets progressively worse' things. Hint: They're not one of the beginner players shown.
http://www.whatsontv.co.uk/youtube/search/light%20dependant/video/QstxwIu7YPM/1
They've gone on and last I heard, they were teaching a class.
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JohnASE
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 492
Location: SoCal

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This might not be quite on topic, but a customer of ours, Kyoshi Anthony Marquez, runs Possibilities Unlimited International, a non-profit organization with this mission statement: "Inspiring individuals with physical, developmental or emotional challenges to empower themselves to develop their full potential through the study and practice of Martial Arts and other Adapted Practices." I believe the primarily deal with "specially challenged" children.

If anyone is interested, their website is here.
http://www.puionline.org/

Their 7th Annual Specially Challenged Martial Arts Championship is coming up on August 8, 2009, in La Verne, California, which is in the Greater Los Angeles area. There's a flyer and registration packet on the website.
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pittbullJudoka
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 25 Jun 2004
Posts: 1165
Location: Tennessee
Styles: Ryu Kyu Kempo,Wrestling,Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Makes our aches and pains seem meaningless. Those are truely inspiring.
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still kicking
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 443

Styles: Shito-ryu Karate, Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido

PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:57 pm    Post subject: What Handicap? Reply with quote

There is a student in our school who trains with several major challenges, including sight impairment (blind in one eye and limited sight in the other), partial hearing impairment, and various learning disabilities. I also think she is the most inspiring student in the school. Even though her skills physically are still not that good, after 3 years -- she is frankly uncoordinated and slow to learn -- I have never seen anyone more determined and tenacious! Especially after hearing her talk about all of the extra measures she has had to take, such as having to map out the dojo in her head so she doesn't crash into things, having to be on the colored part of the mat because on the white part everything blends together, challenges trying to hear what sensei is saying, and because of sight impairment can't read lips, etc. Wow! She is at class all the time, and just does not give up. I will say this, there is definitely no impairment of spirit!
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15407
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject: Re: What Handicap? Reply with quote

still kicking wrote:
There is a student in our school who trains with several major challenges, including sight impairment (blind in one eye and limited sight in the other), partial hearing impairment, and various learning disabilities. I also think she is the most inspiring student in the school. Even though her skills physically are still not that good, after 3 years -- she is frankly uncoordinated and slow to learn -- I have never seen anyone more determined and tenacious! Especially after hearing her talk about all of the extra measures she has had to take, such as having to map out the dojo in her head so she doesn't crash into things, having to be on the colored part of the mat because on the white part everything blends together, challenges trying to hear what sensei is saying, and because of sight impairment can't read lips, etc. Wow! She is at class all the time, and just does not give up. I will say this, there is definitely no impairment of spirit!

Thank you for sharing that! Very solid!


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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28901
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
still kicking wrote:
There is a student in our school who trains with several major challenges, including sight impairment (blind in one eye and limited sight in the other), partial hearing impairment, and various learning disabilities. I also think she is the most inspiring student in the school. Even though her skills physically are still not that good, after 3 years -- she is frankly uncoordinated and slow to learn -- I have never seen anyone more determined and tenacious! Especially after hearing her talk about all of the extra measures she has had to take, such as having to map out the dojo in her head so she doesn't crash into things, having to be on the colored part of the mat because on the white part everything blends together, challenges trying to hear what sensei is saying, and because of sight impairment can't read lips, etc. Wow! She is at class all the time, and just does not give up. I will say this, there is definitely no impairment of spirit!

Thank you for sharing that! Very solid!

I second. If half of the talented students in the world worked half that hard....who knows?
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