BJJ & Teaching: Adjusting to Encourage Success

A lot of people don’t know this, but I teach some of the lower level jiu jitsu classes with a teammate- it can definitely be fun some nights, watching some of the lower belts stumble through, or sometimes have that moment when everything clicks and they really get some of the stuff that we teach them.

I don’t usually like to talk about students in our academy, but we’ve recently had a white belt in our class that has presented an interesting,  but definitely good challenge. He usually takes the afternoon classes, but has shown up a couple of times in the evening class we teach. He’s very nice, courteous, a pleasure to have in class- he just also happens to be blind. I personally think it’s awesome that he’s taking jiu jitsu. Granted he’s a bit of a ‘ringer’ in the class: he is also a black belt in judo- so which he does have some ne waza work under his belt, there are a lot of positions and fine details of certain techniques he isn’t entirely familiar with.

They are really minor adjustments in teaching that need to be made, but they are things you wouldn’t naturally think about- I talked with my coach about what we could do to make sure he gets the most out of the class, such as use him as an uke (someone you perform the technique against) so he can feel the movement of what you are doing.

Overall I think it’s pretty awesome that he’s taking classes with us: he is actually not the first blind person we’ve had train with us, and I think it’s pretty great to have people with different needs in our academy- it offers a diverse element to the group, and encourages instructors to not just go through the same techniques the same way over and over again, but to think about how best to serve their students and give them the tools they need that best suits their class. Finally it really shows students, especially in the lower ranks how jiu jitsu can be for people with all sorts of different abilities and from all walks of life.

Just something cool I wanted to share with you guys: have a great Tuesday, everyone!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “BJJ & Teaching: Adjusting to Encourage Success

  1. How awesome! That sounds like it is interesting and challenging for all involved. And hopefully really fun too!

    My siblings all have disabilities (and I’m hard of hearing, though that only seems to make a difference when my working-ear is trapped against my partner and my instructor is yelling at me what to do next).

    One of my brothers in particular has always wanted to get into martial arts, and I’ve slowly been pushing him towards it. He has cerebral palsy, but I’ve been encouraged to find several BJJ-addicts, including a black-belt (http://artisticphases.blogspot.com/2012/09/cerebral-palsy-in-bjj.html) with CP.

    I’m sure that teachers who work with those of differing abilities and capabilities have to challenge themselves to figure out how to teach in different ways – but it really helps us grow. I’ll be curious to hear what you guys learn from him about how he learns, and how you need to teach for him to be able to.

  2. Heidi Moore

    Would you mind letting me know the guy is? I am the national Paralympic Judo coach and am always on the lookout for blind judo guys I don’t know. judoheidi@comcast.net.

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