16 Year Old BB with Cerebral Palsy to Compete @ World Karate Championship

Bill Mattocks

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I confess to having mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I always celebrate the triumph of the spirit over adversity, and this young man seems to clearly be doing so, a real hero and someone to admire.

On the other hand, how do you compete as an able-bodied karateka against someone who is debilitated in this way? Would you not hold back? Would you not be afraid of doing permanent damage to him? How would you feel if you did?

Well, anyway, thought it was interesting and wanted to pass it along.

http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/68895

A 16-year-old cerebral palsy hit boy at World Karate Championship
http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/68895
ANI
Chennai
Fri, 20 Feb 2009:

Chennai, Feb 20 (ANI): Sixteen-year-old Srimanth Bal from Gujarat will represent the country in the forthcoming World Karate Championship to be held in Pittsburgh, United States from June 18-20.

But what makes Srimanth different from other participants in the Championship is that he is suering from cerebral palsy, a non-contagious conditions that cause physical disability in human development.
 
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terryl965

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I feel mix like you in one hand great that he is able to do thid and then on the other hand what will his competitors do when they find out.
 

HM2PAC

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Cerebral Palsy (CP) can be displayed in the human body in many different ways with many different levels of severity. Some people may only have a tremor, others are in a wheelchair with severe mental retardation.

It could be that he suffers from a very mild form of CP that garnered him neglect as a child, leading to a worsening of his physical condition and furthering his debility through poor nutrition.

The article leads me to believe this because it alludes to the majority of his symptoms being marginalized by proper nutrition and exercise. I would imagine that if this is the case, he should do fine in competition. It does not sound as though they are propping him up to be a spectacle or a punching bag.

Just my 2 cents.
 
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shesulsa

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It depends. I've known some severely affected by CP and others who were only mildly affected.

I guess the question is ... can he kick ***? If he can, then holding back would be an insult.
 

MA-Caver

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It depends. I've known some severely affected by CP and others who were only mildly affected.

I guess the question is ... can he kick ***? If he can, then holding back would be an insult.
Not to mention painful when he connects.

Severity of the condition is probably a deciding factor in allowing him to compete as a regular participant. If he's able to defend well enough like his opponents then no reason why he shouldn't. If not then it does come into question of judgment. Some CP's I know have good reflexes but are plagued by what I call "counter-reflexes" where they would raise their arms up and then nerve/muscle spasm jerks the arm back down or out or anywhere but where the individual wanted it to be. With blocks timing is everything.

Still the man has a BB and probably had to work harder than the rest of his class to obtain it if the instructor was one of merit and fairness. To my understanding you don't get an HONEST BB just because someone feels sorry for you.

(you can buy one on e-bay but I doubt that's what this guy did to get his).
 

Daniel Sullivan

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On the other hand, how do you compete as an able-bodied karateka against someone who is debilitated in this way? Would you not hold back? Would you not be afraid of doing permanent damage to him? How would you feel if you did?
If he were placed before me in competition, I'd assume that he had earned the right to be there and fight just as hard against him as I would against anyone else. Most people with disabilities don't want to be coddled in an open athletic event that they've voluntarilly signed on for.

There are competitions designed for people who have a major limitation that prevents them from being able to compete against a non-disabled athlete, so if they've signed up for an open tournament that is not geared towards handicapped participants, chances are good that they wish to test their skills without special treatment.

Daniel
 
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Bill Mattocks

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If he were placed before me in competition, I'd assume that he had earned the right to be there and fight just as hard against him as I would against anyone else. Most people with disabilities don't want to be coddled in an open athletic event that they've voluntarilly signed on for.

I understand, and thank you for that.

Let me say this - at my dojo, one of the black belts is a young woman, of very slight build. I am a white belt, and very large. We were doing an exercise recently that involved throwing and catching a large medicine ball at each other in round-robin fashion while simultaneously doing situps. When I threw the ball at her, I did not throw it with all my might. Sensei got on me and told me to THROW THE BALL! I did and nearly knocked her out, she was really hurting and had to withdraw from the rest of the training. I felt horrible.

These competitions have weight classes and belt classes to try to even out the natural advantages of the competitors. I do wonder how I'd feel if I connected with a major blow against a competitor who was in my weight class and belt class, but debilitated in another way, and I hurt them. Not that it would be 'wrong', but that it might make me not give it all I had.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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These competitions have weight classes and belt classes to try to even out the natural advantages of the competitors. I do wonder how I'd feel if I connected with a major blow against a competitor who was in my weight class and belt class, but debilitated in another way, and I hurt them. Not that it would be 'wrong', but that it might make me not give it all I had.
I can understand that. But by the same token, I do not want to be the guy who under-fights and then have it get around that "Daniel got KO'd by a dude with cerabral palsey." Nobody would say, 'there are varying levels of it and this guy was pretty normal'; they'd all assume that the guy could barely stand as soon as they hear 'cerebral palsey'. Now, if I fight my best and he still wins with no judging sympathy help, then I'm happy for him and happy to say that he had better game than I did.

Also, once he signs the competition waivier and puts on a black belt (I'm a black belt) and hogu, he's just another competitor. We all risk injury when we compete in a fighting sport.

Honestly, I don't think that he should even mention it until after the tournament it over. Judges tend to subconsiously try to give a handicapped person a 'helping hand', which is both unfair to their opponents and insulting to the person they think that they're helping.

In any case, I give a thumbs up to this kid for competing!

Daniel
 

elder999

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I can understand that. But by the same token, I do not want to be the guy who under-fights and then have it get around that "Daniel got KO'd by a dude with cerabral palsey."

"Jeff lost to a blind guy-pinned for ippon." :lol:

In all fairness he was really good, and I didn't even have a chance to hold back.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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"Jeff lost to a blind guy-pinned for ippon." :lol:

In all fairness he was really good, and I didn't even have a chance to hold back.
And no shame in that. But I wouldn't want to lose just because I felt sorry for my opponent.

Its one thing if I fight hard and a person who happens to have a handicap wins because he trained his butt off and got out and showed better than me. Then I have no apologies to make to anyone.

If I fight at a lower level because of sympathy and then lose, then I have dishonored my opponent by cheating him out of either a fair victory or an honest defeat.

Incidentally, there was a story in the associated press a few years ago about a mugger in Germany who preyed on a blind man, only find that the blind man was a champion level judoka, and once the mugger touched him, he didn't need to 'see' the mugger to make a pretzel out of him and hold him till the cops came. Talk about justice!:)

Daniel
 

searcher

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I happen to train a 14yo kid who has CP and he is not one you would expect to have it, now. When I first started with him he could barely walk, last year. This year he played football and is currently playing basketball. He is also a very accomplished breakdancer. If you would have seen him last year you would have thought he would never be able to do what he has done. And if you were to hold back with him, he would be insulted, I would be insulted, and you could end up hurting.

Never think that because someone has a condition, that they are not capable.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I happen to train a 14yo kid who has CP and he is not one you would expect to have it, now. When I first started with him he could barely walk, last year. This year he played football and is currently playing basketball. He is also a very accomplished breakdancer. If you would have seen him last year you would have thought he would never be able to do what he has done. And if you were to hold back with him, he would be insulted, I would be insulted, and you could end up hurting.

Never think that because someone has a condition, that they are not capable.
Indeed!

He should be respected for what he had to overcome, not pittied as if he hasn't overcome it.

Daniel
 

shesulsa

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I happen to train a 14yo kid who has CP and he is not one you would expect to have it, now. When I first started with him he could barely walk, last year. This year he played football and is currently playing basketball. He is also a very accomplished breakdancer. If you would have seen him last year you would have thought he would never be able to do what he has done. And if you were to hold back with him, he would be insulted, I would be insulted, and you could end up hurting.

Never think that because someone has a condition, that they are not capable.

Yup. Like I said ... if this dude can kick ***, then it would be an insult to hold back.

Sports and martial arts are good physical medicine and are not to be underestimated.
 

IcemanSK

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As someone who has CP & trained in MA for 27 years, I'm thrilled to see that this person is competeting at this high level.

There is indeed a wide range of how CP effects people from very mild to very severe. If this person can hang with "the big boys" than let it happen. Competitors seek their own level.
 

Brian R. VanCise

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Respect and compete. Do not hold back and do your best. A long, long, long time ago I faced off in an open tournament against a one armed person. He was fantastic and had defeated six or seven people to eventually work his way to facing me. I did not hold back and proceeded to win the Grand Championship in that tourney. In another sport my basketball team played a one armed gentleman who was simply fantastic. He was so good no one on our team could guard him. Literally he was like a smaller version of Larry Bird but with only one arm and a half an arm. Trust me we respected him and his team quite a bit. Treat any opponent with respect and do your best. You owe that to yourself and also to them.
icon6.gif
 

bowser666

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I think regardless of how severe his CP is or not, I would imagine that he wants the same level of respect that any other fighter would get. To me the same level of respect would be treating him as they would any other fighter. I.E. not holding back. If I were in his shoes and able to compete I would want to be treated like any other fighter and not recieve special treatment. My second though is that I highly doubt they woudl let him compete if his CP was truly that debilitating. Common sense ?
 

Deaf Smith

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If the young man can play with the big boys, then let him play.

I've not seen a picture nor read of just how good he is. Who knows, he might have some very good fast moves using his hands that are hard to defeat.

And to the young man, 'Bring back your shield, or be on it'.

Hope he does well in the ring.

Deaf
 
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