Jiu-jitsu: Closing the Communication Gap

I’ve been blessed in that I’ve been fortunate to have, I feel, a well-rounded life. Easy there, I didn’t say I’ve never faced difficult times or haven’t dealt with adversity. I keep it I perspective however. I’m blessed with much that others are not.
I’ve found myself pondering how I could better serve the people
I meet; how could I, a simple person of simple means, make a difference in someone else’s life?
I’m not particularly gifted in any way, in my own opinion!
I have many friends who are non-hearing. This is in no way a handicap and they have taught me that I’m probably too dependent upon this ability. I take it for granted that I’m able to hear instruction during Jiujitsu class, even if I’m not always able to see what’s happening.
That having been said, I had a wonderful discussion with a fellow jiu-jitsu practitioner and competitor who was born hearing. Due to illness as an infant he has been nonhearing for many years. I truly appreciated the time and effort it took to communicate with me, and our conversation was an amazing eye opener.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is for everyone, the question many ask is “how do we spread the art to more people; more communities; yhink outside the box in terms of students and practitioners?

In speaking with Garret, who lost his hearing as a baby due to illness, I find that the responsibility falls to us, all of us, to include people from all walks of life. I have teammates who are deaf, blind or have health issues. This isn’t a problem. What is a problem is a lack of knowledge, by many, on how to communicate and help these teammates feel included.

Making an effort goes a long way. Don’t discount your limited sign language attempts. It’s appreciated more than you know.

Making an effort shows the individual that you care, about them as a person and teammate. Take a chance and put yourself out there. Spread the word and invite the masses. Jiujitsu is for all, and it takes all of us to build the community.

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