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A very special martial arts class
Posted on Tue, Sep 21, 2010 at 6:56 am
by IDMA Editor

With grace and an upright bearing that belie her 60 years, Nguyen Thi Kim Loan is transmitting the ancient martial art of aikido to a very special class. Her students are all blind or mentally impaired.

After bowing to a portrait of Aikido’s founder, the young people their warm-up drill. Then they review and practice moves learnt in previous classes.

With great patience, Master teacher Loan demonstrates a technique to a retarded student

Yen Linh, 20, is a very assiduous disciple while Phuc, 17, has learnt new moves more quickly than others. Quyen, 23, who is blind, joined the class only three meetings ago, but she likes it very much. “It is very interesting to practice martial arts. I feel very comfortable!” she said.

While waiting to be picked up by their relatives, Loan’s disciples talk with each other. Today Yen Linh has brought to the class some candies. She shares them with classmates. All talk and laugh together very joyfully.

In 2005, her thirty-eighth year as an Aikido instructor, Kim Loan opened her special class for blind and mentally-deficient people at the Aikido Ho Xuan Huong Club, in HCM City’s district 3.

Patience is the secret in teaching these special disciples, Loan says. Though they share the same class, each disciple studies at his or her own pace.

“This class aims to help disabled people to be okay after they fall,” Loan explains. In addition to giving oral instructions, she teaches blind disciples by having them touch her as she makes the martial arts moves and throws.

“Since I attend this class, I have become more agile. Even though I can’t see, my feelings about things seem to be clearer,” said Quyen.

Ms. Loan’s dream is to have more classes for ‘street kids’

Loan says she is encouraged when she sees the improvement of her disciples. Whenever she is busy, her husband and her son lead the class for her.

“Ha Thanh, Yen Linh and Tuan recently participated in the international martial-arts festival in Vung Tau. All of them were presented with certificates of merit,” she boasted.

The veteran Aikido instructor also plans to open a class for street children.

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