25 Years of the Blind Leading the Blind

I just taught a workshop at the Lighthouse Center for the Blind.  Here is their blog.  It was fun.  The workshop was a two hour introduction to push-hands (tuishou).  Most of the students really couldn't see me or each other.  The title of this post is what is written on the outside of the building.

Most of my teaching methods had to be modified a little in order to work for blind people, it was a fun challenge.  Because I was teaching in their space they knew where the walls were and that chairs were stacked against the walls, which we picked up at one point and used as props and they put away with out any bumping.  But they often didn't know how close or far away they were from each other and  I would have to say, "everyone put your right foot forward," instead of, "put opposite feet forward,"  because they didn't know what their partner was doing.

We did a lot of touching, feeling, and pushing.  As students go, they were fairly aggressive, which I appreciate.  They seemed to get a kick out of my demonstration of school yard fighting styles and the similarity to Taijiquan principles.  The most difficult thing was that I am totally addicted to reading students facial expressions, not to mention relying on student's to read my face for clues when I'm joking.  Blind people don't make a lot of facial expressions even when they are aggressively struggling at push hands like two elk competing for a mate.

The next time I teach at the Lighthouse (probably in April) it will be a class open to anyone.  So if you are one of my private students who complains that you always lose against me, well, here is your chance test your mad skills!