Friday, November 29, 2013

Martial Arts for Diabetics

Do you have Diabetes? Does someone you know and care about have Diabetes? Do you wonder if a Diabetic can successfully and effectively train in a martial art?

Yes. Absolutely.

While I am not a diabetic, I am surrounded by several including my wife, sister-in-law, two nieces, and several friends and students.

I have trained with and also taught Diabetics in Tang Soo Do and with the proper understanding of the disease and due considerations for the impact it can have on physical exertion, these practitioners have been as successful as anybody in the dojang.

My top three rules for anyone with a disability or a medical condition is:

  • use good judgement
  • know your condition
  • tell your instructors. 

You should use your training as a tool in the management of your condition, rather than as an obstacle to avoid training, or (even worse) an element of denial.  It is very important that your instructor know when a student has Diabetes (or any other condition affecting their training), as instructors need to push students beyond the point that students think they can go.

One night I was teaching a class where a student had just recovered from back surgery (their doctor had cleared them), another had had a recent concussion, another was scheduled for a heart procedure, and we had a Diabetic. Do you think maybe I adjusted elements of the class to accommodate these conditions? You bet your sweet ADA I did!

That doesn't mean I let them off the hook. They all broke a healthy sweat and worked on techniques and mental discipline. Instructors can tailor their classes to accommodate almost any issue.

If you are a Diabetic, or have students that are, this short paper written by my sister-in-law, a 3rd degree Black Belt in Isshinryu Karate, will give you some insight into what you should know.  (Thanks Ele!)

If you have a medical condition, discuss it and your desire to train with your doctor. Know the precautions you should take, the preparations your should make, and the goals you should stake.

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