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Training with imapared mobility

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  • Training with imapared mobility

    Hi I am new to this forum and to kendo in general,

    I would like to start training in kendo but as I have cerebal palsey I have limited mobility. I have recently met a sensi who may be willing to train me, but neither he, or I am sure how it will work out. My mobility problems include; the inability to move fast on my feet, the inability to move backwards and very limited balance. I am however able to lift the shinai above my head, although I can not twist my wrists very far. I would also like to note that I am able to walk, but that I do so with a heavy limp.

    I have therefore joined this forum as I would like to ask for some advice on the possiblity of my future training in kendo. I hope that it will be possible, but I also accept that it will post a great challenge both for me and my possible sensi.

    If any of you could guide me as to the feasability of me taking up kendo, training tecchniques and teaching styles I would very much apreciate it. I would also be interested to hear from anyone who either is, or knows someone who is in a similar situation to me in regards to learning kendo.

  • #2
    Hi, and welcome to the forums.

    Unfortunately, kendo does require one to be able to move quickly and in all directions, especially given that it is quite physical. Kendo also requires having an instructor present to teach you, so learning on your own is really not an option. That being said, there are some alternatives open to you. Iaido may be a better option for you since it doesn't rely on fast and agile footwork the same way that kendo does. While it may not be as overtly dynamic as kendo, you would still be practicing a sword art and it can be much more accommodating of your physical limitations. Additionally, jodo could be another alternative, provided there is a dojo nearby that teaches it. If you haven't done so already, check the AUSKF dojo page for dojos that also teach iaido. Hope this helps.


    • #3
      I disagree with David. It's possible as long as some forward movement is possible, although it will obviously be limited what you can do.
      The limited balance may be the main hindrance. It all depends on your teacher and dojo environment.

      As for training tips, it's really hard without seeing you and the environment you are going to train in.


      • #4
        As long as the people you're practicing with are aware of your physical abilities so they can make the appropriate accomodations, I think you can still do kendo safely. Kendo is definitely going to be harder for you than for most of us but I think it's still an option. Although iaido doesn't have the same physical demands that kendo does, it does have other difficulties, a lot of kneeling and moving while in a low position and endurance to do lots of kata.
        I don't know of anyone in your situation doing kendo but I know of people with other disabilities doing kendo only. We have a person with 1 functional arm doing kendo, and a sensei in our region who uses a prosthetic leg. I'm not trying to compare their issues with yours but I was thinking their examples can give you hope.
        Last edited by turboyoshi; 16th March 2011, 07:06 AM. Reason: typo


        • #5
          Our sister dojo in Regina has dealt with several people with disabilities. For these people, armoured practice was not safe or practical, however they got a great deal of benefit and enjoyment from learning kendo despite that limitation. They also got plenty of respect from everybody for tackling kendo despite their disabilities. So I say, if you have a teacher that is willing to work with you, and you are realistic about your own limitations, go for it.


          • #6
            Hi Purple Squirrel and welcome to the forum. I trained with a Palsy sufferer for some time, his movements were very restricted but he had the right spirit to keep on trying, and it sounds like you do too. It was actually good for him to train in kendo as it helped him to utilize his left (worse) side more as that is where you should be driving your power from in kendo.

            As far as techniques go, it really comes down to what your sensei recommends, which shouldn't deviate too far from what able-bodied people practise but depending on your limits, he/she may need exclude some techniques from your curriculum (i.e hiki-waza) although the principle is the same as everyone else; do the straightest, cleanest kendo within your ability. It will be difficult for you to cut straight and with control but everybody has a common goal there anyway - to keep trying to improve.

            You will need to be aware of your own limits as others cannot see what you are feeling (i.e slow down, take a break when needed, don't risk injury). If your sensei says you are ready, you can wear bougu but those who are practising with you need to be aware of your condition and respond accordingly, however this is obviously for you and your sensei to work out.

            Obviously, you will have to be prepared for alot of emotional and physical setbacks but if you hold on to the correct attitude, which is to always do your best and not compare yourself to others AND your sensei is willing to work with you, it shouldn't be a problem for you to practise kendo - in fact, you could be the model example of true 'kendo spirit' in your dojo.

            Having said all of that, it may be wise to consult you Doctor and get his/her opinion as well. There is no need to rush anything, I assume you have a lifetime ahead of you yet?

            Good luck and please keep in touch with us on the forum and let us know how it goes?


            • #7
              On Second Thought...

              Having read the succeeding posts in this thread, I withdraw my initial comments and believe what others have said to be more correct. It will be difficult for the OP but as Fudo-Shin said, it will require overcoming many emotional and physical hurdles. Now that I think about it, I have seen a video circulating on youtube of some mentally handicapped individuals demonstrating kihon exercises at a Korean event so if they can do it, then there's no reason the OP can't. I apologize for my initial short-sighted comments. Best of luck to you, purple, and let us know how it goes.


              • #8
                Go for it.

                Any martial art has the potential to adapt to the the individual. Be prepared that the sensei you spoke to will be leaning at the same as you. They will be learning how to adapt technique to suit you. But that doesn't mean you couldn't do it.


                • #9
                  I do remember there was a kendoka without legs made it to shodan.
                  There was a big article about it.
                  I'm not gonna lie and say "I know you definitely can", and act like I'm an expert in this area,
                  but I surely do hope you will join us kendokas.


                  • #10
                    Hi, i wish you the best of luck. My favorite saying is "impossible is nothing" as fudoshin said, you could really enjoy kendo and also further inspire others around you. you will also make friends in any dojo, which for me is the best part of kendo!

                    some videos for you to view, for motivation and inspiration


           (there is a documentary telling his story somewhere his name is Toshimitsu Takamiya)

           (this is amazing, shows that spirit is what is most important in kendo/kumdo)


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KawazoeTamaki View Post
                      I do remember there was a kendoka without legs made it to shodan.
                      4-dan, actually.