Legally blind & wondering which martial art to study


Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Aug 28, 2001
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Terre Haute, IN
For self-defense, judo and its variants (notably, BJJ) are, in my opinion, the best possible choice.

For exercise/hobby/fun, most instructors of most arts should be able to work with you, and I’d wager most would be willing to do so. In this case, bear in mind that some arts are practiced primarily solo (unpartnered practice), like iaido (samurai sword), tai chi, and others, and you might consider that option.

I’ve long felt there should be a better answer to this question. Someone apply for an NIH grant to develop an evidence-based self-defense system for vision-impaired individuals. I’ve been reading one-off stories of an instructor tailoring their art for a specific blind student in Black Belt etc. since the 70s and of the self-defense successes of such students but the wheel must always be reinvented.


Yellow Belt
Mar 25, 2023
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Hi everyone,

I'm new to martial arts and legally blind. I'm also middle aged (47F), short, and weak (some of my joints are over-flexible as well), and wondering what would be the best martial art to study for someone like me. I have no preference of what art to take, just trying to find one that's suitable for someone in my situation.

It depends on what your focus is. Im not sure how you are on this forum ??? technology from my end

Legally blind...I understand thats a bit of spectrum..some people are 100% blind and some people cant legally drive. Unsure where you would fit in on that one.
Im going to assume for this answer complete blindness.

I dont think theres an entire martial arts program that specifically caters to the needs you have.

Assuming you are self self defense oriented, and objective oriented, there are quite a few different martial arts programs with a lot of anti-grabbing or anti-abduction techniques, which a person with low visibility could easily wield against a stronger opponent.
Those arts are Modern Arnis, Wing Chun, and Aikido. There are others but those are very common mainstream martial arts, hopefully you dont live in a small villiage or dont have access to public transportation.

Assuming you are looking to work out, have fun, play sports...I would check out BJJ or Judo. Both of those also work off of grabbing but are practiced with a completely different attitude...think of being a kid and jumping in the pool to splash all your friends.

Assuming you want to really explore other cultures, I would check out Tai Chi or Karate.

I would stay away from sport oriented striking or hitting Martial Arts, like Muay Thai, MMA, Boxing, and Kickboxing.

I would never in a million years drive without glasses, so I have a little experience in this direction.