A lot of adaptive students feel like they are at a disadvantage in class and on the street due to their disabilities and special equipment needed to function in everyday life, such as: a wheelchair, crutches, a white cane, braces and the list goes on and on.
To some extent these feelings of disadvantage are without a doubt true, but they don't make the adaptive student different from any other. It is important to remember that everyone has different strengths and weakness regardless of their ability, disability, size, shape or anything we can think of to make us feel at a disadvantage.
As adaptive instructors it is important that we make certain our students are aware that the equipment that they may perceive as a disadvantage is actually quite the opposite, it is or could be "The Perfect Weapon" if used properly.
Students need to start thinking their equipment as another tool in their toolbox and as a part of their body rather than a separate item from it.
Think of the crutch as an extension of the arm allowing you to gain greater distance between you and the opponent, while still firing strikes.
The wheelchair can serve a dual purpose, acting as a blocking mechanism or striking tool to the shins, knees or feet.
Metal or plastic leg braces allow you to take a blow with minimal discomfort while the opponent might experience great pain.
White cane user must learn to use their other senses to identify their target, a cane to the eye, throat or groin could be the advantage that makes the difference.
On the other side of the coin, It is equally important that you stress to your adaptive students to the highest level that the idea is not to "Stay and Play", but to buy enough time to "Get Away". Students must also understand the damage or life threatening injury these Weapon's in Disguise" can cause.
Bottom Line... At the end of the day feeling of advantage or disadvantage, both on and off the mat come from "Midset" and once again, as insturctors that is the biggest lesson we will ever teach!