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Kungfoolss
3/09/2006 12:43pm,
Looking Past The Odds

By Josh Souza
Special To The Morning News
March 8, 2006

Sara Parson, left, practices a throw of Allie Rhodes, both blue belts during training Tuesday at Landolt Ju-Jitsu in Springdale.
Eugene Williams, The Morning News (http://www.nwaonline.net/content/articles/2006/03/08/sports/03hometeam.jpg)

SPRINGDALE -- At first glance Sara Parson looks like the average teenager. She goes to college, hangs out with friends, spends hours on homework and kicks some serious tail in the world of competitive Judo.

But there is more to Sara than meets the eye.

Though she was born without sight, she has a clear vision of her future.

Blindness hasn't stopped her from living a normal life, or from becoming one of the best martial artists around. In a truly remarkable story, Sara has overcome staggering odds to become a national jujitsu champion. To hear it from her, she's just like every other student at Landolt Jujitsu Academy in Springdale and those who think her challenge might make her different are usually the ones who find themselves slammed to the mat flat on their back.

"My instructors treat me the same as any other student," said Parson. "If I don't block, I get hit, just like anyone else."

The Springdale native got her start in the martial arts four years ago. She was attending high school at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock, when her interest in martial arts took off. Representatives from the Little Rock Judo Center visited her school, giving Sara and her classmates a chance to learn the ancient art, something she had always wanted to do. "I've always been interested in martial arts" said Parson. "So I definitely wanted to learn about it."


She now attends Northwest Arkansas Community College, and studies martial arts at Landolt where she is the only blind student. The 18-year-old competes in both Judo and Jujitsu at the national level, and anyone who knows the rules of Jujitsu can certainly attest to how amazing Sara's success really is. A traditional Jujitsu match consists of three phases: striking (phase one), throwing (phase two), and grappling (phase three). A good jujitsu student must be efficient in all three disciplines to be successful, making it even more difficult for Sara to compete.

"Jujitsu is definitely harder for me, especially striking," said Parson. "I just have to wait for them to come at me, and then make my move." The former national champ must possess the quickness of a cat and a courage all her own to take on those odds, and while Parson may be a "Cinderella Story" on the mat, judo isn't always a fairytale world. "It can get very tiring," said Parson. "I've been bruised, bloodied, and broken, but I keep coming back because I love the sport."

In a story too unbelievable for even the most dramatic Hollywood movies, Parson defeated an entire field of sighted (non-blind) opponents to take home the 2004 National Jujitsu Championship. Parson also took home first place honors in the Lone Star Classic, a regional tournament with competitors from all over the south.

Parson is currently working toward earning a spot in the World Games, possibly giving her a shot at competing on the 2008 Olympic team. In order to compete in the World Games, she must have good showings in several tournaments and camps in the upcoming months including: Collegiate Nationals in March, a camp at the Olympic Training Center in April, North Glen Championships in May, and a final evaluation in San Jose, Calif. "One of my friends went to the Olympics in '04," said Parson. "So a lot of us are working towards getting on the Olympic team as well."

Sara said few of her opponents have cut her any slack despite her blindness. And she wouldn't have it any other way. "Very few of my opponents underestimate me," said Parson. "It doesn't matter if I can see them if they're on their back." Sara Parson sees things in a different way than most of her opponents, and perhaps that's the reason for her success.

"It's all about your game plan, if you don't have one you're in trouble," explained Parson. "I just have to be confident in what I do, by making my game plan and carrying it out." So far she has, with a crystal clear vision for the future.

http://www.nwaonline.net/articles/2006/03/08/sports/03hometeam.txt

Zendetta
3/09/2006 1:52pm,
Cool.

I'll bet, in a fair fight with Phat Phil, she could take him down, choke him out, and stuff that tactical flashlight right up his pale lardy ass.

GoldenJonas
3/09/2006 2:09pm,
Cool.

I'll bet, in a fair fight with Phat Phil, she could take him down, choke him out, and stuff that tactical flashlight right up his pale lardy ass.

priceless, truly priceless.

That is one bad ass girl.

Wounded Ronin
3/09/2006 5:57pm,
This is truly an inspiring story. I would have thought that blind striking was totally out the window. This woman's heart is overwhelming.

Kungfoolss
3/09/2006 9:59pm,
Cool.

I'll bet, in a fair fight with Phat Phil, she could take him down, choke him out, and stuff that tactical flashlight right up his pale lardy ass.

She's blind so what good would a tactical flashlight be anyways?

phil? Could you answer that phil? :icon_twis

http://www.themartialist.com/images/fightlight07.jpg

phil just looks like an ass. God, how anybody could take this guy seriously...

Zendetta
3/09/2006 10:34pm,
Yes, but in all fairness, anybody with their warface on and demonstrating a 'command presence' while weilding the overwhelming firepower of a pocket maglite is gonna look pretty dumb.

kodokandragon
6/30/2006 10:15pm,
hellow all

here is an update on me. I got second at colleget nationals, third at north glen, second and third in the california judo inc state games. I am number 4 in the nation on the ijf junior judo roster for 78 kg plus. I was elegable for the us junior world triles next month, but i just had surgery so i won't be competing this summer. I wil start again in late august beginning of september.

mrblackmagic
6/30/2006 11:19pm,
It's the damnedest thing. Blind people tend to be some of the best wrestler/grapplers.

Teryan
6/30/2006 11:20pm,
here is an update on me. I got second at colleget nationals, third at north glen, second and third in the california judo inc state games. I am number 4 in the nation on the ijf junior judo roster for 78 kg plus. I was elegable for the us junior world triles next month, but i just had surgery so i won't be competing this summer. I wil start again in late august beginning of september.

Great to have you here!

When your talking about north glen, I assume you’re talking about the one in Colorado? If so, we have a member on this board that attends that club, he might know you.

Poop Loops
7/01/2006 12:09am,
Sucks that you had to have surgery. Keep training, though. You're an inspiration to a lot of people.

kodokandragon
7/01/2006 1:38am,
hellow and thank you. yes i am talking about the one in colorado. What is his name? is he blind, if he is i probibly know who he is.

Teryan
7/01/2006 5:43pm,
I am almost positive he is not blind, but he does go to North Glen judo, when you get enough posts, shoot Planktime an PM.

Kungfoolss
7/02/2006 3:13am,
hellow all

here is an update on me. I got second at colleget nationals, third at north glen, second and third in the california judo inc state games. I am number 4 in the nation on the ijf junior judo roster for 78 kg plus. I was elegable for the us junior world triles next month, but i just had surgery so i won't be competing this summer. I wil start again in late august beginning of september.

Not to be rude, but how are you posting a response, via friend?

Poop Loops
7/02/2006 3:30am,
Tangent:

One time, back when I was working at a fitness store, I got a phone call from a guy who was apparently deaf. He had to use a correspondant or something that he would type to, then the guy would talk to me, I'd talk to him and say "go ahead", he'd type the stuff back to the guy on the other line. It was confusing as hell and then a bunch of people came in and I had no idea what was going on.

kodokandragon
7/02/2006 2:13pm,
i use a program called jaws fo windows. it is a screen reading software. it reads whats on the screen and tells me what i type. You can get a demo of it from freedomscientific.com. please feel free to ask questions, i will answer them the best i can.

HearWa
7/02/2006 3:26pm,
Wow, that's really cool.

Also, this is another reason why people should learn how to write properly when on an internet message board. I don't imagine leet speech or bad grammar would be read well by the jaws program.