"Frequently Asked Questions"
IDSA Defense-Ability for Individuals and Martial Arts Students
Although there is a substantial amount of information posted here, it is presented in this forum merely to serve as an example and introduction to the various topics since it would be nearly impossible (and certainly impractical) to respond to all the different questions that have been or could be asked, consequently, most of the replies here are very limited in scope as well. We encourage you to contact the IDSA to obtain additional information and find out more about the the numerous options and solutions that are available to meet your specific needs and requirements.
Index of Sample Questions
Defense-Ability for (disabled) Individuals and Martial Arts Students:
- Can the Defense-Ability program of Self-Defense be used by individuals with different types of disabilities, or only by those individuals with a specific type of disability?
- Can I learn from the video tapes if there isn't a Martial Arts school (or other facility) anywhere near me that teaches the program?
- I've had some previous Martial Arts experience (or currently attending classes)....
I've never taken any Martial Arts classes, is it going to be difficult for me to learn your program (style/system)?
- There are several Martial Arts schools where I live, but none of them offer your program, what should I do?
- I'm very interested in the Martial Arts. I want to learn Defense-Ability / Combat Hapkido and I want to eventually obtain my Black Belt, does the IDSA offer a traditional Martial Arts curriculum with a rank recognition and advancement?
Can the Defense-Ability program of Self-Defense be used by individuals with different types of disabilities, or only by those individuals with a specific type of disability?
The Defense-Ability Series-1 Video Program of Self-Defense was specifically designed for use by individuals with varying types of disabilities as well as by Rehab Facility Staff such as Physical Therapists, Recreational Therapists, Occupational Therapists and other Healthcare Professionals who on a daily basis work with patients that have different types of disabilities, and also by Martial Arts Instructors who, upon becoming certified, can easily implement this program in their schools and/or communities.
The program has been specifically designed to provide the student, patient or Instructor with the highest degree of flexibility. Each and every technique or sequence/combination of techniques allows for a margin of modification to suit an individuals particular needs, based on their particular type of disability. In fact, we recommend and encourage the student/patient and/or Instructor to experiment with the techniques until finding just the right combination and/or method of effectively applying them.
Nevertheless, although the Defense-Ability program is very flexible in this regard, individuals with mid to low level (T-8/10 and down) paraplegia, complete or incomplete, will usually be among the group to obtain the maximum possible results from the program due to the particular characteristics of this specific type of disability. Individuals having minimal to good upper-body strength, generally good dexterity and minimal to good abdominal/torso balance can execute all of the techniques very easily.
Besides this specific group (paraplegic), following is a partial listing of just a few of the many different types of disabilities covered by this program. Individuals affected by these, and even by those disabilities not mentioned here, can usually learn this program with relative ease and a significantly high degree of success. We encourage you to contact the IDSA if you have any questions regarding the use of this Self-Defense program or its suitability for use with a specific type of disability.
Usually all levels, complete or incomplete.
Many of the lower C-levels where some functional use of the extremities (arms/hands/legs) has been retained. The best results have been obtained by those who are incomplete and exhibit minimal to good balance, ambulatory skills or a fair amount of arm and/or hand dexterity. The use of fingers is not necessarily required in order to apply many of the techniques.
Individuals with single, double and even multiple-limb amputations can apply most, if not all of the techniques in the program with relative ease. Those who are proficient in the use of various prosthetic devices are usually very efficient at the application of certain techniques. Nevertheless, even those individuals who use a wheelchair or have other limitations can still execute most of the techniques contained in the program.
It is a commonly presumed fact that many individuals with blindness (partial/complete) frequently develop a sort of "sixth-sense" that helps them considerably in determining key factors about their surroundings, or in this case, their potential opponents. This "sixth-sense" is usually based on touch, smell and sound that frequently are key elements in many Self-Defense situations.
Therefore, if you are interested in learning this program you will have to work very closely with a skilled Instructor who is completely familiar with the techniques and capable of assisting you to experiment with various combinations and/or modifications of the techniques to suit your individual and particular circumstances.
* We received the following letter regarding this topic and wish to share it with our readers:
From: Jeannine Lawler-Szostak, Orientation & Mobility Specialist
" ... it is not a fact that people develop a sixth sense. They have to work at it and usually this has to be taught to them. It is actually a myth that it just happens. Some of my students have even said that it's not a sixth sense, they've only gotten back a fifth sense :-) ...."
The IDSA is currently working with Master Eric Deveau, Jeannine and others in the development of a new, highly specialized program that will be designed specifically to address self-defense issues for individuals with vision impairment. We hope to ultimately expand and dedicate an entire section of this website exclusively to this particular subject. Thank you Master Deveau, Thank you Jeannine... for your dedication, contributions... and for opening our eyes!
Either as the result of illness or injury, affecting from as little as one finger all the way to an entire side or more of the individuals body, either complete or incomplete as in the case of the paraplegic or quadriplegic, the student or patient is advised to thoroughly discuss and even demonstrate every detail of their particular abilities and limitations with their Instructor/Therapist and subsequently work on comfortable and practical, yet effective applications of the techniques according to the individuals specific situation.
This particular affliction causes the individuals bones to become very fragile (extremely so in some cases) and susceptible to easy fragmentation or breakage if caution is not exercised. However, even though this delicate condition poses a higher risk of injury given the nature of the exercises, it doesnt mean the techniques cant be effectively applied. Possibly the best way to handle this situation is for the Instructor/Therapist and student or patient to first determine which part of the individuals body is affected (or is mostly affected) by this condition.
Then, while proceeding with caution, gradually perform the mechanics of the technique(s), always carefully assessing the results before going on to the next phase.
Unless the extent of the injury is severe, in which case there may be instances of partial/complete paralysis in limbs or other parts of the body, individuals presenting this condition usually have no difficulty whatsoever in learning or applying any of the techniques.
Again, it all depends on particular circumstances and the extent/degree of the injury. In many head trauma cases patients undergo gradual recoveries, from almost complete paralysis in conjunction with mild to severe impairment of brain function all the way to near/complete recoveries. In either case, depending on the specific circumstances (wheelchair/non-wheelchair user, etc.), most head trauma patients/students can still assimilate and effectively apply most of the programs techniques.
In fact, our research has found an incredible case in which a comatose individual actually made a dramatic comeback as the result of his efforts while practicing Martial Arts.
Besides those listed above, individuals with many different types of disabilities can successfully learn and effectively apply the techniques contained in the program. For example (nonspecific to any particular type of disability);
- Individuals using crutches (one or two).
- Individuals who frequently use a wheelchair but have some ambulatory skills.
- Individuals who wear braces (leg/arm) or prosthetic devices.
- Individuals with MS, MD, SB, CP or any other type (each case is different, therefore so are the applications).
- Individuals who ambulate with/use a cane
And the list goes on. If you have any questions regarding the ability to learn and/or apply the techniques in the program with regards to a specific disability (or condition) not listed here, please feel free to contact IDSA Headquarters/Master Schmidt either via email, fax, letter or phone.
Can I learn from the video tapes if there isn't a Martial Arts school (or other facility) anywhere near me that teaches the program?
Yes, the Defense-Ability video series was designed to serve this purpose and be used as a complete, stand-alone home study course. We realize that not everyone has the time, resources or access to (or possibly for other reasons, may not want to) attend a Martial Arts school, Rehab facility or other types of facilities to take such courses.
For students who want to use this program as a home-study course we must emphasize that in order to learn and practice most of the techniques and skills contained in the video series, it is absolutely necessary for you to have someone to work with. This could be a family member, relative or friend, and they do not need to have any special martial arts skills or previous self-defense experience. The Defense-Ability program's dynamic concepts are based mainly on scientific principles of anatomy and biokinetics as well as psychology and strategy which makes it easy and fun to learn, yet highly effective for Men and Women of all sizes, regardless of their specific disability because physical strength and athletic abilities are not essential. All of the techniques and strategies demonstrated on the video series are explained in extensive detail and the additional use of close-ups and slow-motion make it very easy to understand, follow and then practice the technique as demonstrated.
However, whenever possible we recommend that you participate and attend this type of courses at a suitable facility where you will also have the added benefit of professional instruction, assistance and supervision from a skilled and experienced Instructor.
As an IDSA/ICHF Member we will assist you in every aspect of your training, whether at home or if you are attending classes at Martial Arts school or other facility where this program is being offered.
Please contact us if you have any additional questions.
I have never taken any Martial Arts classes, is it going to be difficult for me to learn your program?
It isn't dificult at all to learn our style of self defense, specially if you have had any previous Martial Arts training. As was previously mentioned, the Defense-Ability program's dynamic concepts are based mainly on scientific principles of anatomy and biokinetics as well as psychology and strategy which makes it easy and fun to learn, yet highly effective for Men and Women of all sizes, regardless of their specific disability because prior Martial Arts experience, physical strength and athletic abilities are not essential.
As an IDSA/ICHF Member we will provide you with support and assist you in every aspect of your training. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.
There are several Martial Arts schools where I live, but none of them offer your program, what should I do?
This question lends itself to such a multitude of diverse and complex answers that we suggest you contact us to discuss specific details relevant to your particular situation. The following is intended to be just a general recommendation;
First, determine what type of schools are in your area and what style or styles they teach. This is important because not all Martial Arts styles are well suited for individuals with a disability, like Tae Kwon Do for example which is a style based primarily on kicking and the execution of forms, and if you are in a wheelchair, this would of course not be very practical.
The styles we would recommend, if available in your area, are those which share similarities with the Defense-Ability Combat Hapkido system of self defense. For example, styles that are based on joint locking such as Hapkido, Aikido, Jui-Jitsu, etc. are going to be your best choice.
After determining what is available in your area and selecting the school/style that will be the best for you, go to the schools you have selected and talk to the Instructor. Talk to them about your disability and your needs. Find out if they will even accept you as a student, because unfortunately, not all schools are accessible and some Instructors are very reluctant to accept a student(s) with a disability.
Once these issues have been resolved, it's time to discuss the curriculum and ask lots of questions. Find out as much as you can about their style(s) of Martial Arts and why they think it would benefit you. One of the key factors to a successful training program is whether or not your training is practical, easy and fun to learn and of course, the results are effective. Ask the Instructor if they are familiar with the Defense-Ability system of self defense and/or Combat Hapkido. If the response is no, give them the IDSA/ICHF website address and contact information where they can obtain additional information. You should let the Instructor know that you are a member of the IDSA/ICHF and that you have the Defense-Ability video series.
A good Martial Arts school and conscientious Instructor will work with you in every manner possible and in most cases, use the Defense Ability program(s) as core material for your training, as reference material or as a supplement to their curriculum. Based on the Instructors responses you should be able to determine what to do next. It is really going to come down to what the Instructor/School is willing to do, for you!
As an IDSA/ICHF Member we will assist you in every aspect of selecting the best possible school and provide you with support to implement a training curriculum that will be right for you. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.
I'm very interested in the Martial Arts. I want to learn Defense-Ability / Combat Hapkido and I want to eventually obtain my Black Belt, does the IDSA offer a traditional Martial Arts curriculum with a rank recognition and advancement?
The Defense-Ability program was specifically designed to be:
- A "stand-alone" and comprehensive program / Self-Defense System for disabled individuals who just want to learn practical self-defense.
- As a complete program providing "traditional" belt ranking.
If a (disabled) student aspires to earn a Black Belt in the traditional sense (in this case, through the IDSA and ICHF), keep in mind that, disabled or not, in almost all Martial Art styles the basic procedures and protocols for rank advancement are essentially the same, or at least very similar. The basic "procedures and protocols" for students seeking to advance in rank in any Martial Art invariably requires that the student must of course first diligently practice and thoroughly learn the system curriculum (Defense-Ability, Combat Hapkido or otherwise). The student must subsequently demonstrate their skills and efficiency through a formal "testing" session with his/her Instructor, Master or Grandmaster if that were the case.
The same applies for a disabled student. In order to obtain rank, rank advancement or other Certification under the IDSA or the ICHF, the student must of course learn, practice and be efficient and skilled in the execution of the techniques in the Defense-Ability curriculum, Series-I, which essentially follows the ICHF Combat Hapkido curriculum. The Defense-Ability program / Self-Defense system is designed to encompass everything from what is traditionally considered "white-belt" through "Black Belt, 1st Dan".
The Defense-Ability curriculum is flexible insofar as application and modification of techniques to suit individuals with varying disabilities, and the rank testing procedure is equally as flexible. Ranking is based on the (disabled) individuals skill and application of the techniques depending on their particular disability and relative ABILITIES. We fully expect that not everyone is going to be able to execute each and every technique better than or the same way as another student, however, we do expect the student to be efficient and skilled at the execution of those techniques which are within their particular scope of abilities.
The following (disabled) individuals can apply for IDSA Black Belt rank or equivalent rank certification:
- Disabled students who DO NOT hold any traditional rank, yet wish to obtain IDSA Black Belt, 1st Dan rank certification in the Defense-Ability system of Self-Defense
- Disabled students who currently hold a Black Belt 1st Dan or higher rank in another Martial Art style and wish to obtain an equivalent-rank from the IDSA in the Defense-Ability system.The IDSA does not usually offer "color-belt" ranking in the Defense-Ability system of Self-Defense, only Black Belt 1st Dan and higher. However, due to popular demand we have implemented a "color-belt" ranking system - Please consult with IDSA HQ to obatin more information about the general guidelines, procedures, certification and testing requirements for IDSA rank certification or equivalent-rank certification.
As an IDSA/ICHF Member we will assist you in every aspect of obtaining rank and rank advancement. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.