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Should disabilities stop you?
Yes, if you 'can't' you shouldn't.
11%
 11%  [ 3 ]
No, if you 'can't' you should try.
3%
 3%  [ 1 ]
Only for some things, like jousting ect.
37%
 37%  [ 10 ]
If you want to do it, let nothing stop you.
48%
 48%  [ 13 ]
Total Votes : 27

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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Thu 11 Dec, 2008 11:35 pm    Post subject: Medical conditions, disabilities and re-enacting.         Reply with quote

G'day fair people of MA, I come with a question and a tale; I'll get to the point, I have hereditary multiple exostoses and if you google that, you might say that my passion for becoming a re-enactor/History teacher/Experimental archaeologist is doomed, but I would disagree.
basically, if one looks at my x-rays, my knees look like birdcages of bone, my ankles lack any substance, my wrists are filled with spurs and I have a least one golfball sized bump that looks like a mushroom sprouting from my limbs on every limb. My right arm used to be bent like, and I kid you not, a banana but that was fixed with eight months in an ilizarov external fixator at the cost of not being able to turn my wrist to the left at all (a small price).
personally, I can still walk, talk, think, use my arms and communicate with people, so in my view I'm not really disabled. But by the gods, I'll be damned if I'm going to let my condition stop me from achieving my dream job! Broken bones mean nothing if one breaks them doing something one loves! Haha!
Now the question; does anyone else have a condition that other people may perceive to be disabling or at the least impairing normally, let alone re-enacting, be it mental or physical? Do you have a personal limit as to what you know you can do?

Super-cereal,
Sam.

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
Joined: 01 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2008 12:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Depends on what the activity is, and what the ailment is. I can't recommend jousting or SCA war for you, but why not pick up a longsword and learn the motions? If you find that you want more, join a local WMA group and be up front about your limitations.

I have a two bad feet, and I fight SCA heavy. So long as I wear the right footwear and corrective insoles I do alright. The real key if you have limitations is to know your limitations and live by them . The natural tendency, especially for men, is to push beyond those limits. You have to resist this urge, even if you feel like you're letting your sparring partner down by quitting early.

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. ~ Emile Chartier
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Michael S. Rivet





Joined: 12 Apr 2006

Posts: 101

PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2008 6:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Knowing your limitations is good advice . . . just so long as you don't let other people decide what those limitations are for you.
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Nicholas A. Gaese




Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Joined: 06 Aug 2007

Posts: 100

PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just saw this post so I thought I should throw in a little something.

While I like Medieval and Renaissance martial arts, I also participate in Iaido at the west island of Montreal. during one of our yearly seminars, our sensei brought a guest with him. This guest however had only one leg, the other he lost in Afghanistan. Regardless of this handicap he was still one of the best practitioners there, performing both standing and seated kata very well.

I think that so long as you are willing and dedicated, ability can be found. So by all means go for it! but still do so cautiously Happy
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J. Pav




Location: NJ
Joined: 05 Oct 2006

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2008 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally, I miss my ability to fence. Not that I was ever particularly good, but several years ago, back in high school, me knee wrenched out from underneath me resulting in a contusion. Pretty much put me out of fencing until last year when I found a small local group near my university.

Then it happened again.

I can still walk normally, and my knee is pain-free except when the weather changes, but I cannot stress it like one would when fencing. Pretty much killed the only sport I truly enjoyed.

The only way I can fence is to keep a knee-immobilizer on my left leg, which completely removes my ability to move it. I have no forward spring, and my retreat is slow. If the group hadn't been forced out of the building it met in(the group was all high school kids who didn't want to fence, just dick around), I'd still probably show up. I never moved fast to begin with(I'm a pretty heavy, slow guy which generally causes my slim, limber opponents to let their guard down until they realize I make up for my lack of speed with a strong, quick wrist), so it's not a MASSIVE change in style for me.


Overall, if you can think outside the box, there might be ways around a disability when it comes to doing what you enjoy. Hell, I've seen wheelchair fencing and wheelchair paintball. Some changes will always have to be made for those who aren't 100% able, but it's certainly no reason for exclusion.
I wish you luck in whatever it is you seek.
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Norman McCormick





Joined: 17 Jan 2007

Posts: 117

PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2008 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi,
I think the first thing you have to recognise if you have a physical disability is that you are not the same as those without regardless of how you may mentally choose to cope with the situation. The next thing is to properly understand the nature of your disability and the consequences that any specific action or inaction will have on your particular condition, I have a daughter who is a Doctor so I'm better placed than most but all Doctors or Physiotherapists should be more than happy to go into all the detail you want. The next bit is more difficult, you need to take account of the people around you, friends and family, when you decide to take it to the limit these are the people who will be left to deal with the consequences if or when it goes 'belly up'. You have to be completely honest with yourself as to your physical ability and act accordingly this does not mean underachieve it means just what I said 'Be Honest'. Anybody with a disability will know the absolute joy of pushing the boundaries, I do, all I'm saying is be careful, be sensible and remember your not the only one that can be affected adversely by your disability.
I personally have an unresolved cardiac problem despite having invasive surgery on numerous occasions, including open heart, so I may be a bit more cautious than most as a potential problem could be fatal, but I still believe that knowledge, common sense and the ability to 'listen' to your body are the best weapons in a 'physically limited' persons arsenal. A good knowledge and understanding of your limitations will also help you gradually extend them.
After all that doom and gloom I wish you Good Luck in any and all physical endeavours that you undertake.
Regards,
Norman.
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Darryl Aoki





Joined: 12 Oct 2006

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Fri 12 Dec, 2008 12:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would encourage you to pursue your interests, but to also exercise caution and good sense when deciding what you're going to do. Start off small, and work your way up, as there's no sense in trying something really strenuous and doing something really bad to yourself. Besides, from my experience, that's just about the best way to learn anything really.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Sun 14 Dec, 2008 3:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, the only thing I can say is "reenactment" doesn't equal "combat." Regardless of whether you choose to pursue the martial side of reenactment/living history or not, there are certainly going to be many civilian/daily-life roles where your disabilities might not give you any hindrances--and probably some where they may actually prove to be an advantage! (And no, I'm not talking about playing the role of a beggar.)
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Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Sun 14 Dec, 2008 5:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the advice, but I was hoping for a few more examples or stories personal or otherwise, not the pour your heart out kind, but y'know stories about how you or someone you know overcame something y'know, that sort of thing.
But at the risk of sounding ungrateful, I agree with all that you guys are saying, I mean look at King Guy, the guy (no pun intended) had leprosy Eek!

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
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Ben C.





Joined: 01 Dec 2006

Posts: 65

PostPosted: Sun 14 Dec, 2008 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

people born with disabilities or less talent than other people often end up developing incredible mental toughness and drive because they need to work twice as hard to achieve the same results. Conversely guys who are naturally athletic or talented often never achieve as much due to their lack of drive. So many people like myself who are "jack of all trades but master of none" types often fall into the later category because they often lack the mental strength to keep pushing through difficult situations in the way that someone naturally less-advantaged can.

if you need any inspiration then I would recommend reading about the life of wrestler/grappler Kyle Maynard, a man born without knees, elbows or lower limbs but who has gone on to achieve great results in his life both in sports and with his studies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyle_Maynard

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=J5R75GGUovg

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=7xhVaoi7_TI&feature=related

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=XVFv9QVdb9o
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Al Muckart




Location: NZ
Joined: 27 Dec 2005

Posts: 309

PostPosted: Sun 14 Dec, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Medical conditions, disabilities and re-enacting.         Reply with quote

G'day Sam,

Sam Gordon Campbell wrote:
G'day fair people of MA, I come with a question and a tale; I'll get to the point, I have hereditary multiple exostoses and if you google that, you might say that my passion for becoming a re-enactor/History teacher/Experimental archaeologist is doomed, but I would disagree.


I think that puts you in a near-unique position to explore areas of experimental archaeology that most people rarely think about, let alone have to deal with; how people dealt with such issues in the middle ages, both physically and socially. Questions like how conditions like yours affect the kind of clothes people wore may be difficult to answer, but are all the more interesting for that.

If you have limited mobility and bone strength then WMA combat may not be the thing for you but there's a lot more to re-enactment than hitting people Happy

Quote:

Now the question; does anyone else have a condition that other people may perceive to be disabling or at the least impairing normally, let alone re-enacting, be it mental or physical? Do you have a personal limit as to what you know you can do?


I wouldn't classify it as a disability by any stretch but I have fairly severe musculo-skeletal problems in my neck and shoulders that have led to nerve impingement and damage which means if I do the wrong things my hands stop working. The impingement on the ulnar and medial nerves gets to the point where I lose feeling and function in half of my hands. The rest of the time it just hurts to a greater or lesser extent. It's frustrating when I'm trying to sew or make shoes because certain gripping actions trigger it badly, and given that I type for a living it can be a major issue when it gets really bad but it's not that big a deal. The only thing it's ever really stopped me doing is SCA heavy combat but I hope to take up longsword if I can get it under control a bit better. I'm still heavily involved in SCA and reenactment and I still do leatherwork, make cool shoes, and sew (badly). Perhaps just not as fast as I might otherwise.

I have a friend who has rheumatoid arthritis and who is a passionate and extremely talented costumer. The RA slows her down a bit but certainly doesn't stop her and the costuming and reenactment worlds would be the worse if it did.

--
Al.
http://wherearetheelves.net
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Sun 14 Dec, 2008 11:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Medical conditions, disabilities and re-enacting.         Reply with quote

Al Muckart wrote:
I think that puts you in a near-unique position to explore areas of experimental archaeology that most people rarely think about, let alone have to deal with; how people dealt with such issues in the middle ages, both physically and socially. Questions like how conditions like yours affect the kind of clothes people wore may be difficult to answer, but are all the more interesting for that.


There. Al said exactly what I wanted to say, only in a better and more understandable way. I second every one of his points. Wink
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M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Dec, 2008 5:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've got a disability of my own, though not as frightening sounding as your own I'll admit. Mine is called "Digigrade", and it can best be imagined by thinking "short Achelies tendons". This means my heels are never quite on the ground, and the only part of my foot that really makes contact with the ground is the balls of the feet onward. Best thing you could ever do is try to make the best of what you have and cover your weaknesses. Can surgery repair some of the damage you have?

M.

This space for rent or lease.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Dec, 2008 9:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One has to respect one's limits but one's limits may be much more than one thinks they are.
You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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