Martial Arts and Disabilities
The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability. The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person based on that person’s association with a person with a disability. (https://adata.org/faq/what-definition-disability-under-ada)
Martial Arts Defined:
Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications; as competition, physical fitness, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation’s Intangible cultural heritage. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_arts)
When you combine a person with a disability and martial arts, you get an individual who is not set in his / her ways to be able to function in every day life. You may ask, what does that mean?
Take a person with a disability – any disability, whether it be physical or mental – and bring him / her to a martial art class. The person who entered the kwoon / dojo will not be the same person who leaves that kwoon / dojo. The vulnerability, unfocused, lack of self-confidence, unmotivated, uninterested person with the disability will be reversible in his / her set ways and come out a very changed person, because martial arts teaches you and disciplines you the opposite way.
The Benefits of a Disabled Person Learning Martial Arts:
1). Martial arts strengthens the body to endure physical exercise as it calms the nerves and soothes the mind.
2). Martial arts strengthens the mind and teaches an individual to focus and concentrate.
3). Martial arts strengthens an individual’s concentration so (s)he becomes more disciplined to think what his / her next move is.
4). Martial arts strengthens the soul to find inner peace within him / herself, while (s)he learns to accept the faults and weaknesses so (s)he will become a better person.
5). Martial arts strengthens and improves the capabilities of a disabled person to live in an outside world, beyond the mindset of the disability.
6). Martial arts conditions the mind to negate and erase any and all negative thoughts. “I can’t do this; I suck” becomes “I can and I will no matter what.”
7). Martial arts teaches you to respect your body and yourself and to be kind to yourself, in addition to respecting others and their bodies.
Once a disabled person enters a martial art school, it will be the first day of a new life for him / her. I can guarantee you that.
The Guarantee Martial Arts Will Change A Disabled Individual:
I have three disorders. One has two parts to it: 1). Manic-Depressive and 2). the other half I am not too keen on saying at this moment in time. The second disorder is the seasonal disorder, which wreaks havoc on me come every Fall and Winter. The third disorder I am not too keen on mentioning, either, because it could quite possible scare some people away.
Martial arts has saved me from being a bullied child with no lack of respect for myself or my body, no self-confidence or self-esteem, and the feeling of never being accepted or loved in this world to becoming the strong individual I am now. A person who not only respects myself but others as well. A person who will defend others and fight for what’s right. A person who empowers people to think more positively about themselves. A person who has found that in order to love others I have to accept and love myself first.
Try A Martial Art Class:
If you are a person with a disability who is struggling to survive on a daily basis – or you know someone with a disability who is – my suggestion is this, try martial arts. It does not matter how old you are. You will become a much stronger person than you are now. You will find that since you are fighting through a disability battle every single day of your life, you can fight through a day of martial arts. Because martial arts is not just about learning how to self-defend yourself and how to fight, it teaches you to become a more rounded person than you ever thought you could be. You will thank yourself for it later.
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Stay positive, keep smiling, and carry on!
PS: To learn more about Colleen’s Martial Art Corner, click here: https://colleensmartialartcorner.com/2015/06/23/disorders-are-not-failures-or-excuses/
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