Paralysed man becomes ninja

24feb03

A PARALYSED north Queensland man has overcome his disability to become a brown belt in the ancient Japanese martial art of Ninjitsu.

Mackay hospital administrator Dan Bazin, 25, was born with Spina Bifida and lost the use of his legs in an operation when he was two years old.
After trying other forms of martial arts, he took up Ninjitsu two years ago and is now one step away from a black belt.

Mr Bazin said Ninjitsu was a fluid, free-moving kind of martial art whose laws could be adapted to accommodate his disability.

"Karate is primarily kicks and punches, Judo is known for its throws, and we use a bit of everything - it's very fluid," he said.

"You don't need to be able to do it sometimes, just to know how the principle works allows you to work around your disability and perform it anyway."

Mr Bazin uses techniques involving his arms and Japanese swords.

If others are practising a jumping move that allows warriors to minimise their profile to the attacker, he can simply take out the jump.

"In attack I would turn sideways to minimise my profile, allowing me to counteract more efficiently," Mr Bazin said.

Mr Bazin said growing up in a wheelchair was difficult and his personal breakthrough only came about four years ago.

"It took me years," he said.

"You can have as many opportunities thrown your way but if you don't want to take them, you won't."

However, Mr Bazin said participating in activities such as Ninjitsu could be a difficult choice and would not suit everyone.

"Basically (deciding to) accept the fact that I'm in a wheelchair, accept the fact that people will be able to jump and kick and I won't be able to," he said.

"But to do it nevertheless.

"There are a lot of people who are in the same situation as me or a lot worse off and they can't make that decision because they've got too much stacked against them."

The art of Ninjitsu was developed hundreds of years ago in Japan by opponents of the ruling Samurai warrior class.

Ninjitsu is sometimes translated as the "art of stealth", as warriors used a wide range of techniques to hide and fight.

It has become famous as a result of movies and television shows such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Beverly Hills Ninja.



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