Should martial art schools accept disabled people

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

  1. BentMonk

    BentMonk Valued Member

    Peace & Discipline

    Two of my students have temper control issues. Their ability to control their temper, and express their anger in an appropriate manner has improved dramatically since they began training. When I asked them how their training helped them achieve this, they told me that it was a combination of meditation, and the knowledge that they would no longer be able to train if they hurt someone. I strive to teach them that the art is perfecting one's mind, body, and spirit. The martial aspect is ever present, but used with the utmost restraint, and only in the most dire of circumstances. I haven't had to yet, but I will dismiss a student if they cannot control themselves.
  2. Bil Gee

    Bil Gee Thug

    Often there's a lot of advice available, so you don't have to be an expert on behavioural problems to make a good decision. If someone has very marked, severe behavioural problems, the chances are that they will have a number of professionals involved with them, one of these people will be identified as the person's keyworker i.e. the central point of contact. With the person's consent the keyworker will advise you of potential issues and help you to formulate a strategy based on their clinical knowledge and their understanding of the persons condition.

    It would be reasonable to insist on them consenting to the keyworker advising you, as a requirement for entering the class.

    This is based on my experience in the UK, but the setup in the rest of Europe and the US isn't that significantly different.
  3. Crimson_Stone

    Crimson_Stone Stay Puft

    I would say acceptance of disabled students would be largely based on the abilities of those who run the school. My current TKD sensei is very invovled with local Deaf Action Center and we have quite a few deaf students.

    My Aikido sensei back in the late 80's early 90's developed a comprehensive method for training deaf, blind, and deaf/blind students.
  4. xen

    xen insanity by design

    i think any dojo worth its salt would go out of their way to make people with disablities welcome and would be happy to work hard to develop adaptions to the training which maximise the benefit each individual receives, be that for the purposes of self-defence, competition, fitness or whatever.

    i'm sure its been discussed on here before; the kickboxer with thalidamide who trained for a cage fight. He was around forty and his club and trainer backed him all the way.
    (Ch4 documentary a couple of years ago)

  5. Novembers Paul

    Novembers Paul New Member

    Getting back on topic, and putting insurance issues aside, I think anyone with the desire to learn should be accpeted, disability or not. It's up to the instructor to do his best with every student. No two students are alike, and each require a bit more attention in different areas. It can certainly be difficult depending on the disability, but also must be rewarding for an instructor to be able to reach out, and give the same knowledge and experience, even if modified, to someone disabled. I'm all for it!
  6. soctt03

    soctt03 New Member

    This should not, in my opinion, be a question that should be asked as basically we should be willing to welcome those with disabilities in to our dojo's. I personally have a deafblind adult and a youngster who has slight learning difficulties in my dojo & neither give me a problem at all. In the UK we have the Disability Discrimination Act which should not give any reason for an insurer adversely discriminating against someone on the grounds of his/her disability. So basically this should not be a problem. Anyway, no doubt this debate will continue to rage. & so may it.
  7. Battle Sword

    Battle Sword Valued Member

    Should martial arts schools accept disabled people?

    Yes, they should accept the disabled student!
    The disabled person might consider asking these question.
    Is the instructor capable of understanding the nature of the disability?
    Are both the instructor & student patient enough to work together?
    Is the instructor willing to develop the current techs. in their style to adapt to the disabled student's needs?
    Train, learn, have fun & always be positive!
    Just some thoughts! :Angel:
  8. ember

    ember Valued Member

    I'm probably biased here, but I think this is one area where a TMA is at some advantage. Usually, all the bowing as we enter the dojang, bowing as we start class, bowing to our partner for sparring, helps get me into the right frame of mind for training.

    Another factor that helps is that most of the people I would be sparring in the dojang are there to learn and/or to help me learn. They aren't trying to hurt me.

    The one time I had trouble with my control at my dojang... he was about 18 inches taller, a 2nd degree black belt, a Grand Champion who often got the gold sparring in Tournament. He was more than equipped to take care of himself while talking me down.

    I still felt sick about it afterwards, and took preventive measures to keep it from happening again.

  9. Dojo

    Dojo Shotokan fanatic

    I think ANYONE should be able to study MA. Even if a disabled person might require more attention than another one I would gladly do this. It would be an honour for me and the sense of achievement would be great. I have read about many people with disabilities who have improved their life a lot because of MA. I admire them and I would love seeing this miracle happen.
  10. Carlos Ramos

    Carlos Ramos New Member

    Yea, I agree...there's no reason as to why anyone should be rejected from a school due to a disability. Sometimes, a disabled person will actually excell more than a non-disabled person. Not only that, but a disabled person is a HUUUGE forces people who always have an excuse in class to stop complaining (people who say, "oh I'm too tired" or "I'm not strong enough"). It's all about the will.

    I know this because in highschool, our wrestling coach had Scleroderma(?) on both arms (withered arms), and he still gave everyone a woopin. Also, I once saw a show on tv where a guy with one eye (therefore having no depth perception) being able to break mass amounts of bricks. And in my last school, I had a peer who was completely deaf from birth.

    I mean, sometimes both the disabled and the peers/instructors need to help each other out...and sometimes it may be difficult, but many people can still do it.
  11. ArmysFunkyFoe

    ArmysFunkyFoe New Member

    i say we find a bunch of disabled kids and go to that insurence company and have them resolve this!!!! :D :D :D
  12. Rebecca

    Rebecca New Member

    Disabled students

    The question of whether or not to accept a particular disabled student should, IMO, be considered carefully. I'm in the process of doing this right now, and here are some of the questions I am asking:

    1. Will martial arts training pose a risk to this student? Our style involves both stand-up and ground fighting, with contact beginning at white belt level. I was very hesistant to enroll a student with an ileostomy; after five classes, and observing the other students, he decided that I had been wise in my hesitation. Currently I am considering whether or not it would be wise for a young student with one eye, an increased risk for retinal detachment in his remaining eye, one kidney, and several other issues to train in a contact style.

    2. Can this student learn enough of the martial art to make it worth everyone's time and his money? Will this student benefit from martial arts training? For example, can a student who is incapable of following even the simplest directions ("Bend your knee", "Look at me") learn a martial art?

    3. Does the instructor have enough knowledge and experience in teaching people with this particular disability? Where will he/she gain that knowledge? Does he know which activities may injure the student, and how to adapt those activities?

    4. Does the disabled student have medical clearance to participate?

    5. Will the disabled student be able to participate in a meaningful way in a class without disrupting the class, changing its structure entirely, monopolizing the instructors' attention and teaching time, or in any way diminishing the training of the current students?

    I am all for giving disabled students a chance to train. I think that is what intro classes are for --- I never refuse anyone, no matter what my misgivings might be. Since our intro classes are outside of the regular classes, I am able to spend one on one time and really assess whether a student is ready for our classes, what adaptations may need to be made, etc.

    However, not every instructor should be so arrogant as to consider himself or herself capable of teaching martial arts to every disabled student. I've seen some well-meaning instructors suggest some training methods that would have crippled their students if they had gone alone with their hair-brained notions. If you are going to teach a seriously disabled student, you had better learn as much as possible about the disability, and be willing to work along with medical professionals, teachers, parents, and whatever caretaking team is already in place.

    And, while doing all that, make sure that you keep your commitment to your current students.

    Having said all that, I think we should not be quick to tell students they cannot train because of a disability. Give them a chance to observe classes. Let them take intro classes. Be willing to adapt the pace of those classes. Learn about the disability. If this student and your dojo are not a fit, try to help them find a school, style, or other activity that might be better suited to them.
  13. faster than you

    faster than you Valued Member

    jean-jacques machado--enough said.
  14. matbla

    matbla Banned Banned

    i am learning disabled and do karate
    so i thank if they show they can do it then let them
    and know what limits they have
    i would feel unhappy if someone told me because i am learning
    disabled i could not do karate.
    so to end it all yes they can take them if they
    can show they can do it o.k from matt blake
  15. matbla

    matbla Banned Banned

    yes they should .
    or even have a class for handicaps donot throw them away
    from matt blake
  16. prowla

    prowla Valued Member

    Basically, Rebecca just about said it all.
  17. KickChick

    KickChick Valued Member

    `I must make them believe'

    Karate teacher trains children with disabilities .... good article

    More MA school owners should start programs such as his Possibilities Unlimited International to use karate to help children with physical and cognitive problems.
  18. Sedvan

    Sedvan Valued Member


    Anyone who is willing to try to overcome their disabilities is a better student then a person with none, who comes with a bad attitude. The attitude makes me want to help someone more.
  19. KungFuGrrrl

    KungFuGrrrl Valued Member


    you made my day......IM disabled..... I train disabled people and I direct them to Kung Fu Masters.
  20. BentMonk

    BentMonk Valued Member


    I have CP and work as a quality living assistant in an adult day training center. I currently teach a martial arts class eight students strong. With 37 years of experience adapting my own life to the fun and excitement of having CP, 12 years of formal martial arts study and tournament experience, and 8 years in the direct health care field, I feel that I can help people in various aspects of their life through martial arts training. There are exceptional instructors in every martial art. However, I feel that to effectively train someone with a disability, the instructor must have either above average knowledge of the body and it's mechanics, or experience with disability. Without one of these two things it is extremely difficult to adapt any martial technique and retain it's effectiveness. Although there are many mental, physical, and spiritual benefits gained from martial arts training, I feel that it is vital for any adapted technique to retain it's martial effectiveness. I say this because 85% of all disabled people have been the victim of violence. Therefore the question is not about acceptance. Each teacher should ask them self if they can adapt their art to someone with unique needs and abilities, while retaining the spirit and usefulness. Honesty always leads to honor.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2006

Share This Page