i have a question
my name is Alex. i am fifteen years old and have a case of mild cerebral palsy in the left side of my body. it is very mild but causes me to walk with a slight limp and i have limited control of my left arm. looking at me, most people wouldnt even realize this. anyway. at school i am constantly picked on because of this. i have gotten into a few fights before and havent won. i wanted to learn martial arts in order to defend myself. i have read about many different kinds and studied them rigorously. but most,if not all are difficult because of my cerebral palsy. i have looked into karate, Pa Kua, and wing chun. i really wanted to learn some form of kung-fu. do you have any ideas which kind could be right for me? where i live theres not many kung-fu dojos, mostly just karate lessons. and i dont really want to learn karate. particularly kung fu
alex - it is certainly true that you get out of your martial art what you put into it..
the benefits of genuine martial arts and other combat oriented skills suites
demand a certain level of dedication over years to bear potential fruits..
this in the context of your question and as to effective self defense..
there are many people today training seriously who start out with disadvantages,
including quite small people, women without athletic ability, old people,
people with asthma and various physical problems..
without trivialising asthma or being short or old or having this or that difficulty,
it is hard anyway, and of course that much harder for those weak etc to start with..
however, people with problems do succeed..
including beyond their beginning expectations..
at 15 what have you got to lose..
the endplates of your knuckles wont have set
for about another three years..
you havnt yet entered your period of strong growth
toward young manhood..
as members typically respond to this sort of question here,
it isnt typically the style of ma that counts, but the teacher
and the club/gym/dojo, and their willingness and ability
to teach you genuine martial arts etc to your capacity..
you seem to have taken the right first steps of investigating
local dojos etc, so as a beginning, keep following that path..
visit the dojos and gyms, watch their classes and teaching,
speak with the head teachers or sensei, ask questions..
it is probably more important to actually begin training
than to be overly selective about styles, the values of which
you arent likely to fully appreciate until youve trained for a while..
finally, while it seems so real and important to you now, bullying happens
to many people who go on to develop into fine citizens and good people..
also, why not include parents or other important people in this idea..
you have demonstrated good character even considering taking on
martial arts training at your age, which is a pointer to your potentials
and future as a human being.. good luck with your martial art..
As shisoshin said, it's the teacher that counts. It's true that some styles are better suited to self defense than others, but initially find a teacher who is willing to work with you to train and develop you skill sets (given the limitations that you outline).
It takes time and a great deal of effort to become a good martial artist, so initally look for quality in the teacher, and start to refine your understanding of all arts through reading, classes and sites such as this. As you start to refine your understanding, so you can start to make informed choices as to the style that you may wish to pursue, but i were you, i think that a good karate class might be a good place to start my search and training
As a final thought, finding good Gong Fu schools (in my opinion) is difficult - structure within the Gong Fu community is almost non existent, and with so many styles 'taught' by people who have little experience you may find it hard to find a good teacher. Further, understanding the applications that you learn through Gong Fu training drills requires some thought and time spend looking at historical context, many teachers fail to understand what the purpose of the drills they are teaching really are.
If there are alot of Dojo's where you live however, the competition between them to attract students, and the volume of anecdotal evidence means that with a bit of your own research you stand a better chance of finding good instruction.
Anyway, those are my thoughts for what they are worth - you might be able to get more specific advice by droping a line to these people.
Last edited by GentlemanJim; 02-02-2011 at 05:08 AM.
Over the years that I have taught, I have instructed people with disabilities. The amount of work you may have put into it may be more, but the results are the same. The question I have for you is, are you fighting with these people over your differences or are you fighting with these people to honestly defend yourself? Its not what kids of art you study, but the reason you study that art, also.
I may not have helped any but I hope some of this may put you on a path of thinking.
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