Mackan Andersson , 39 years of age, is new to judo and trains in Umeå Judoklubb in Sweden. Loves ne-waza. Lost his eyesight gradually from 2010 and can today differ a little in color and contrast between light and dark. This is his story!
Martial “s composed of two words – “battle” and “sport” and both parts are in Judo . What I want to tell you about is however more about the “battle ” part of Judo , than on the sports section. I love martial arts. I have been training martial arts in periods in my life, but began again after a long break in 2007. My life has been incredibly rich because of it and in 2010 I also started as a trainer for childgroups. The fall the same year an optometrist found that something was not was right with my eyesight. In the coming years , I went through the process of losing my sight completely. Today, I can distinguish some colors and perceive the difference between darkness and light , but nothing more.
Losing sight was for me, as for many others who are going through it, also losing touch with our own bodies. Not being able to see yourself in the mirror, not to assess the size or distance assess proximity to others and not to understand where in the room you are – all this led to a reality where it felt more like I was just a head stuck on a body. Everything that happened, happened in my head. Everything is in feeling and sound. But the rest of the body I didn’t have any relationship to. I took a break with martial arts for one year, in order to concentrate on learning braille and how to use a white cane. A year in the dark, literally.
After a year of setbacks I did not know if I would ever get back into martial arts. But then I heard about judo. “For the handicapped“. And even if I don’t feel handicapped so I applied there. ( Now I assert certainly no one in the group actually is handicapped on the mat – it”s off the mat as conditions makes us handicapped!)
Judo was an art that I”ve never exercised before. The closest I came was Brazilian Jiu -Jitsu, but this exercise was to find my way back home! Suddenly I began to find my own way back to my own physicality again. My judo teached me to orient myself in the room. It helps me understand my place and I begin to dare to take more and more space, physically. My judo teaches me to care for and respect my team mates. And my judo has given me joy in a way that I never could imagined. I long for each workout. It is becoming more and more of my element .
Judo has given me my body back . Lessons from judo, I take with me in my everyday life for the rest of my life. And judo has given me hope. Maybe, just maybe, eventually – with the right training, coaching and jacking – I can start training groups of children again. I long anyway after that. But regardless of what lies in the future judo is today my tools, the attitude and the discipline that I use for my personal struggle. Judo is sport – yes. But also the battle.
And it’s so fun!
By the keys