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Thread: Martial arts with disabilities

  1. #1
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    Martial arts with disabilities

    This is sort of a spin off thread of our Amputee MMA and Special Olympics threads. I didn't think this particular news item fit either and a handicapped practitioners are surely worthy of attention here.

    Click for vid.
    May 4, 2010
    Woman with no arms goes for black belt (with video)
    By Matthew K. Roy Staff writer

    PEABODY — Sheila Radziewicz has been beating the odds since birth.

    "I was not supposed to live," she said. "Then I wasn't ever supposed to walk."

    Because of a congenital birth defect, she was born without arms. She also came into the world without kneecaps and with her feet rotated in, toward each other.

    She endured multiple surgeries as a young girl, all aimed at helping her walk. Until she was in junior high, Radziewicz had to wear metal braces that stopped at the top of her thigh, similar to the ones the character Forrest Gump wore in the movie.

    Today, Radziewicz, 32, is not only walking, she is kicking. And next month she will test for her black belt in taekwondo.

    Reaching such heights in the realm of martial arts is laudable for anyone. For Radziewicz to do it is nearly a miracle.

    "I grew up with the phrase, 'The impossible only takes a little longer,'" she said.

    She walked into Bruce McCorry's Martial Arts in Peabody three years ago. Since then, the Route 1 studio has turned into a second home for Radziewicz, and her instructors and classmates have become an extended family.

    Radziewicz appreciated being treated like any other student, not as a person with disabilities. Her teachers, meanwhile, were awed by her determination.

    "She is a very motivating person for myself," said McCorry, who has never had a student like Radziewicz in his 32 years operating a karate academy. "There are no excuses, in other words."

    "She never feels sorry for herself," instructor Sandra LaRosa said.

    Radziewicz was born with thrombocytopenia-absent radius, or TAR, syndrome. She credits her family and friends with creating an environment that fostered self-sufficiency.

    "They never let me say I couldn't," she said. "They told me that I could."

    It wasn't easy for her growing up. Kids stared at her. They called her names. The bullying, however, didn't last long if her older sisters, Christine and Lisa, were around.

    "Whenever anyone would make fun of me, they were there in a heartbeat to make sure that it stopped," Radziewicz said.

    She began living on her own at 19. She lives in Salem now and helps women navigate the court system as a local advocate coordinator for HAWC, Healing Abuse Working for Change, which helps victims of domestic violence.

    At 23, Radziewicz earned her driver's license. The state helped fashion a car for her that she drives with her feet.

    Her trips to the martial arts studio have become a form of therapy, a way to release the stresses of her personal and professional life.

    "It's nice to have an outlet where you can just kind of empty your mind," she said.

    Her training is adapted to accommodate her limitations.

    "They show me the regular form, and when we get to a point where I can't do it, we find a way to change it," she said. Radziewicz, for example, grips nunchucks with her teeth at one point in her demonstration of the weapon. Her focus is derived from her ability to always "stay in the present."

    On the verge of her black belt, Radziewicz recently began to share her expertise with children in the studio's beginner classes.

    McCorry believes her success can be attributed to her positive attitude.

    "She can teach us all a lesson," he said.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #2
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    You have to wonder what skills are enhanced or changed with an amputated limb(s). Your balance change and you need different techniques. Humans are known for adapting to lost limbs, so this is quite interesting.
    The weakest of all weak things is a virtue that has not been tested in the fire.
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  3. #3
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    I train a kid who had both legs amputated below the knee. He wears prosthetics when we work hands and takes them off to wrestle/ground and pound.
    He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. -- Walt Whitman

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  4. #4
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    Here's another

    That's interesting, MK. What kind of modifications have to be made for that? I imagine it changes the leverage with grappling and such.
    The man winning at martial arts - despite having only one leg
    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 3:14 PM on 11th May 2010

    A determined amputee is celebrating today after competing in an international martial arts competition - despite only having one leg.

    Damon Goodson, 26, an NHS health trainer, lost his lower right leg to Ewing's sarcoma (cancer of the bone) after discovering a tumour on his ankle at the age of 19.

    But he refused to see his situation as a disability, instead taking up mixed martial arts in 2007. He is now a jujitsu blue belt competing against able-bodied fighters.
    Damon Goodson

    Fighting fit: Despite losing a leg to cancer, 26-year-old Damon Goodson has risen up the ranks and is now a blue belt in jujitsu

    He can even kick box, using a special technique developed by his instructor where he balances on his prosthetic leg, otherwise the fake limb can fly off during certain moves.

    On Saturday he reached the fourth-round of the Wakarishin and Kokoro Kai International contest before being knocked out by the eventual bronze medallist.

    It was the first martial arts competition for Mr Goodson, who vowed to continue competing and become a semi-professional in Mixed Martial Arts events.

    He said he was 'really pleased' with his performance on the weekend and wanted to prove that having only one leg was not a hindrance.
    Damon Goodson

    Special technique: Mr Goodson has learned a style adapted by his trainer that allows him to kick box while balancing on his prosthetic leg

    Mr Goodson, from King's Lynn, Norfolk, said: 'Being an amputee does make it a bit difficult. When you are on the floor and grappling you need to be able to bend but I haven't got that sort of flexibility.

    'When it comes to kickboxing my instructor has made up my own style, I only kick with my good leg otherwise the prosthetic could fly off... which must give my opponent a bit of a shock.

    'I am going to enter as many competitions as possible. The only other amputee I have heard of competing is in America. I want to show that having a prosthetic limb does not have to hold you back. You can achieve just as much as anyone else.'

    Each week, Mr Goodson spends five hours in jujitsu training, four hours in the gym, one hour kickboxing and two hours doing mixed martial arts training.

    At the international open jujitsu competition, in Southend, Essex, Mr Goodson competed against 30 other fighters, all able-bodied, in three rounds.

    The prestigious event is open to martial arts experts from all over the world - and attracted more than 500 entrants from as far afield as the U.S.

    Each bout lasted around three minutes and involved sparring, wrestling and ground fighting.

    Mr Goodson used to enjoy kickboxing as a child but only took up jujitsu four years after having his leg amputated.

    He said: 'Having my leg amputated was a bit of a shock but my specialists said otherwise I risked the cancer coming back. I adapted quite quickly because I was young but for a couple of years I was really low and didn't do anything.

    "In the end I got fed up of being really unhealthy and started going to the gym around the same time I watched the European Fighting Championships on TV.

    'I got really into it and started kickboxing again before starting jujitsu two years ago.'

    Mr Goodson's trainer, Master Dell Mann, of the Cobra Academy of Kickboxing, said his student was 'a figurehead' for other amputees.

    He said: 'I have adapted some of Damon's skills because he only has one leg and he has been training with me for about two years now. He has shown that people with a disability can do it as well, if not better, than anyone else.

    'He is very determined and very confident now. But when he first came to me and said, "I have got a problem, I have only got one leg", I was stunned.

    'I have been doing this all my life, for more than 40 years, and never had that situation before. But Damon has gone from strength to strength. It's surprising what he can achieve and I am very proud of him.'
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    That's interesting, MK. What kind of modifications have to be made for that? I imagine it changes the leverage with grappling and such.
    It changes everything. His balance and leverage are completely different than everyone else. Honestly, I don't have all the answers for him sometimes, but we just try to see what works and what doesn't and modify technqiques on-the-fly based on his abilities.

    Here is him playing around a little:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9lWB7pXyVs
    He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. -- Walt Whitman

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  6. #6
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    My nephew has just got wee little arms, kind of like a thalidomide baby, and he made it to state in Texas TKD fighting able bodied guys.

    He was under 18 at the time, and under 150lbs. With no arms, firstly, you get more leg for your weight class, and height.

    When he was little, around 10-13, from a still stand he could jump up onto the kitchen counter from the floor, to get a glass out of the cupboard.

    Boy had some springs, for sure. I sparred with him last when he was around 21, and he kicked like a mule.

    His advantage, for his weight class, was legs twice the size of the competition and a head height. He moved from his hips, because he has no upper body weight.

    People adapt, that's for sure. Now he's playing guitar...
    Guangzhou Pak Mei Kung Fu School, Sydney Australia,
    Sifu Leung, Yuk Seng
    Established 1989, Glebe Australia

  7. #7
    I once punched a student of mine so hard he got Down Syndrome. It's sad, really. He could have been my best student.
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  8. #8
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    Slightly OT...

    This isn't about a martial artist, but a fitness champ. Below is from Barbie Guerra's official website.

    COMPETITION HISTORY


    2012 NPC Jr. Nationals - Chicago, IL - 5th Place
    2012 NPC Jr. USA - N. Charleston, SC - 8th Place
    2012 Natural Western USA Championships - Mesa, AZ - 5th Place
    2009 West Texas Classic - Lubbuck, TX - 1st Place
    2007 Arnold Classic Amateur Fitness - Columbus, Ohio
    2006 Heart of Texas - Plano, TX - 2nd Place
    2006 Europa Super Show - Arlington, TX - 2nd Place
    2006 Western Regional - Phoenix, AZ - 5th Place
    2005 Europa Super Show - Arlington, TX - 5th Place
    2004 John Sherman Classic - Houston, TX - 1st in Tall & 4th Overall
    2004 Western Regional - Phoenix, AZ - 2nd Place
    2004 Northern - Flagstaff, AZ - 6th in Figure Tall
    2004 America's Wild Wild West Natural Ms. Fitness - Laughlin, NV - 1st Place
    2004 Natural Western USA - Phoenix, AZ - 4th Place
    2003 Arizona Open - Phoenix, AZ - 4th Place

    ABOUT COMPETITING

    For years, I read about all of the fitness competitors in magazines. At the time, it was all about Susie Curry and Kelly Ryan. I was fascinated by the sport! It looked like so much fun! I knew that I wanted to do that someday. I knew that I wanted to be like the ladies in the magazines! I wanted to be in the magazines - just like them! I just wasn't sure at the time if I believed in myself enough to do it. I had to ask myself if I'm going to sit around wanting to do that or if I'm going to get up and do it? I decided that if I did not at least try, I would definitely regret it later. I did not know where to start. So I asked around and figured out where and when a local show was to be held. I was concerned that I was going to bust my butt preparing for a competition and then not qualify to compete because of not having arms. I decided to make a phone call to the promoter to make sure it was alright for me to enter. I introduced myself to him and explained my situation. He didn't seen to "Get it" that I do not have arms. I suppose when anyone else says that, it means their arms are lacking in strength or size. I finally had to explain - that's not the case here. They are gone. When he still didn't "Get it", I finally had to explain that I an a bilateral amputee. Once he comprehended what I was telling him, he assured me that I would be allowed to compete! He went on to say that the audience would love it and that I would motivate a lot of people! Here comes the kicker: in his very next breath, he said, "But you know you can never win." To this day, those words light a fire under me like you would not believe! His words motivated me more than anything. The first time I met him in person, I thanked him for his words of "Encouragement!" In all fairness, he really is a good man. I know his intention was good. I believe he just didn't want me to have unrealistic expectations. He is still very supportive of what I am doing! Telling me that I "Can't" was actually the best thing he could have ever done for me, and I am grateful to him. However, I do fully intend to exceed his expectations and some day prove him wrong. Like I always say. "Can't" is not an option!
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  9. #9
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    In these cases it would be more suitable to say "extraordinary abilities" as opposed to disabilities because these folk are doing more than your average cheeto and beer consumer aren't they.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    This isn't about a martial artist, but a fitness champ. Below is from Barbie Guerra's official website.
    That is simply amazing, truly !
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  11. #11
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    The 6th generation Hung Fut sifu Hung Jiu Shing, during his travels stayed in an area for a time that was home to a rattan furniture factory that employed a number of workers with disabilities, primarily blindness, palsy type diseases, hunchback and limb deformities. These wokers were plagued by people who would rob them when they got paid. Sifu Hung Jiu Shing did his best to understand these disabilities, and taught some of the disabled workers enough to defend themselves to a degree, and on at least one occassion feigned disability himself to fight off the chumps that would rob the others. He devleoped a set made up of four sub sets that is one of the treasures of the Hung Fut system.

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