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Sports and the Blind: Some Tips

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

By Jon Schorsch

Sports have made an incredible impact on Jon Schorsch’s life, becoming even more meaningful to him after a boating accident took his sight. Not one to give up or succumb to the limitations of blindness, Jon Schorsch has continued to participate in the sports he loves, including waterskiing, golfing, running, skiing, and sailing.  For children who are blind, sports can play an important role in developing confidence and self-assurance. The following tips represent some helpful ways to assist a blind child in learning a new sport or activity.

1. When helping a blind child who is first learning a sport, make sure to let them know that it is all about fun. The more enjoyment a child can gain from the activity, the more likely he or she will want to continue participating.
2. Assess what sports might be a good fit for the youth. Individual sports can be easier for blind children to learn and excel at, while team sports provide camaraderie and a sense of teamwork.
3. Let the youth know that it’s okay to make mistakes.
4. Be creative, especially at first. In team sports, you may need to be a “play by play” coach, letting him or her know what is going on in the game and offering instruction.
5. Don’t forget the details. When you are assisting a child who has impaired or no vision, all the small things matter, so try to communicate the details you may not normally think to vocalize.
6. Let the child give you feedback on what is or isn’t working for him or her.

An Introduction to Jujitsu

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

By Jon Schorsch

Jon Schorsch greatly enjoys staying active and fit, not only physically, but mentally as well thanks to his practice of jujitsu, a martial art practice that strengthens both the mind and the body. Developed by the feudal Japanese samurai, jujitsu does not use weapons; rather, individuals that practice the sport utilize the attacker’s force to defeat assailants. Jujitsu harnesses the energy of an opponent, unlike other forms of fighting, which directly opposes this energy. Combining “ju,” meaning gentle and supple, with “jutsu,” meaning art or technique, this particular martial art employs flexibility and pliability. Throws, joint locks, and pins as well as a combination of kicking, holds, gouging, and disengagements are used to neutralize an opponent. While many forms of jujitsu exist, the art continues to be practiced in its traditional form along with more modern interpretations of the sport, like judo and Brazilian jujitsu.

While some say jujitsu was developed in the 17th century by Chen Yuan Ping, a Chinese man who developed the art after learning the techniques of the art of hakuda, others believe that the practice was born solely from the Japanese and formed “in the age of the gods”. And while it is said to have existed for thousands of years, if not more, the term “jujitsu” actually appeared in the 17th century and came to be known as an all-inclusive term that described a variety of disciplines.

Today, many individuals who practice the art of jujitsu follow the techniques of Japanese old-style jujitsu. This approach utilizes the martial techniques that were developed to oppose a heavily armored enemy in battle. Evading, blocking, blending, escaping, and off-balancing compose many of the defense tactics employed by old-style jujitsu fighters. Additionally, the use of grappling, throwing, restraining, and striking represent core techniques of the style.