Aikido for the Deaf

Basic characteristics of Aikido which make it an art suitable for people with limited hearing include:

• Aikido practice is not conducted in the form of classes as they are normally understood. In Aikido the sensei demonstrates the techniques to be practiced, leading the group in a sequence of related movements which guide the practitioners to increased skill levels and an improved understanding of the underlying dynamics of Aikido. Explanations are limited and frequently completely absent. It is the task of the practitioner to ‘steal’ the techniques using their own observations.  Verbal explanations can often in fact hinder one’s own understanding.  Strong observational skills are the key to progress.

• Following on from the above, Aikido practitioners do not talk during practice. On occasions some small direction or correction may be required for safety or other consideration, but this is ideally carried out with a gesture rather than verbally.

• The primary route to improvement is through the physical interaction during practice with seniors and with the Sensei. This non-verbal direct physical exchange transmits all the essential information required. As noted earlier, verbal explanations often serve only to weaken this communication.

People with limited hearing interested in beginning Aikido are invited to visit the dojo.