This is really more to Amir than anyone else but I wanted to discuss it a little bit before I write the next article.
I wasn't saying that a handicapped person could NEVER attain a Black Belt. What I was saying is that is would DEFINITELY take that person around DOUBLE the time to earn one and actually have realistic ability than a person WITHOUT disability. I have personally seen a guy in a wheelchair that could kick some serious azz. It took him only 4 years to earn his black belt. He used to be a football player and was a little pissed at the fact that he couldnt use his legs. His training was MOSTLY one on one.
When I ell you this guy could spar, believe me. Im the guy who thinks NHB fighters would kill all the traditional guys, remember?
During his test he was strapped into his wheelchair. The guy fighting him was the person who trained him. Not his HEAD instructor, but he black belt that wprked with him for all those years. If you saw his test you would probably hate the guy who fought him. They fought under modified Kyokushin rules and the guy did NOT hold back. I mean whatsoever. The VERY FIRST THING he did was front kick him hard enough to flip the chair over. Of course the wheelchair bound fighter grabbed the kickers footgear and they BOTH went down. They started beating each other on the floor, etc. This was a FIGHT man. They were both bruisedup.
I'm not saying the guy was the greatest fighter, but after that everyone there was saying something like:
"MAN, if you ever tried to grab THAT guy you better take him seriously..."
He would do AMAZING shiit with his chair too. He'd block with it if you tried to kick him and that friggin HURTS man. SERIOUSLY. He had NO PROBLEM about small joint manipulation of grabbing someones hair. He was realistic about his situation. He knew he wasnt going to be Bruce Lee.
The only thing that hurt him was the school was not raining grappling at the time. If it was he'd probably still be training.
Listen, if I walk into a Karate school and I have no legs, then I EXPECT this to be a long hard road. Otherwise I'm just being GIVEN the belt. I'm BUYING it. You're doing these people a GREAT SERVICE by actually making them work longer and harder. Only for a RARE EW will it be anywhere near the same time to earn a black belt as you or I. They KNOW THIS. If they dont, then they are better off going to the regular McDojo. Their ability will not be the same tho. People will see tham and say:
"Oh wow, thats a great accomplishment."
And inside they KNOW that person was given the belt. They dont truely respect the fact that they earned it. If that same person trained for YEARS and was HIGHLY proficient in grappling and joint locks and had a great knowledge of how ALL techniques WORKED, including kicks, then when he or she spoke it would be OBVIOS that he spent YEARS attainin this knowledge.
If a blind man trained grappling for 10 years he would EASILY be able to take the average man down and submit him as long as they started grabbing each other. when his Uncle Bob smirked and gabbed his wrist and said:
"What wouldja do if I did THIS."
He would find out. And I dont think Uncle Bob would grab him again at the family reunion.
"Do not become entranced by impractical or useless movements. Do not be categorized as one who "Learns all there is to know about less and less until he ends up learning everything there is to know about nothing." -Ed Parker
I agree with you in this post, that was just my point. It's true we don't all have the same genetic capabilities, and our starting conditions do wary. Yet even an handicap person may get a B.B. even if they havenít achieved the same level as a non-handicap person. However, being handicap doesn't mean you already deserve the B.B. just like anyone else you should do your best to get it. This is the meaning of getting a belt on the basis of effort and commitment rather then ability.
A gifted person may reach my level in 10% of the time. But a serious teacher whom knows this student can do better will not hurry to give him his B.B. (even though I already got 2 Dan, after approx. 10 years of practice several times a week). This hypothetical gifted student will get his ranks faster then most of us common people, but not too fast.
The same goes on the other direction, that blind" or handicap person will get a B.B. in a process that is longer then it takes most of us. He will have to work very hard for it. He has to deserve it just like you said, but he will get it even though any common seeing person may be able to win a fight against him if he only has some wits (I won't write my opinion of strategy for obvious reasons).
Actually, I believe if he reaches an high level, he might even be able to defend against non grappling attacks with reasonable success ( I have practiced very soft randori with closed eyes, and guess what, it is possible, though not all the time).
I was about to say, I bet some of those guys can roll, but someone beat me to it. :(
I'll say this... a good handicapped blackbelt will easily school some untrained jackoff and will likely mess up even a trained person.
Also, this discussion raises something that may deserve its own topic: Should you be able to beat everyone up to have a blackbelt? Isn't the ability to teach also important? I bet someone like Tank can't teach for ****, whereas Fred Ettish is probably a patient and understanding instructor.
Edited by - ruk on August 22 2002 16:16:21